“The true meaning of courage is to be afraid, and then, with your knees knocking and your heart racing, to step out anyway—even when that step makes sense to nobody but you. I know that’s not easy. But making a bold move is the only way to truly advance toward the grandest vision the universe has for you.” —Oprah Winfrey
Last week I wrote about inner knowing and different ways to cultivate listening within. This got me thinking about how although we all have inner knowing within us, it sometimes leads us on a journey that takes courage. Our inner knowing can present new challenges that push us past our perceived limitations, and into greater alignment with our true selves.
Courage also comes from within. No one can give it to us. Like our inner knowing, it’s something we’re alone in. Yet all us have inner resources to be courageous, and we’re usually the most courageous when something matters to us.
In this post, I want to share my experience of what courage means to me, and explore how courage and strength of heart are as much a part of us as inner knowing.
What Do You Believe About You?
I grew up in a family where being an artist, musician, or writer was something to aspire to. Our home was always filled with poets and writers, and my dad was a composer. Most weekends he held court with his friends, playing his piano and singing.
It was wonderful, and gave my siblings and me a rich appreciation for the arts. That said, we were also taught that being an artist, writer, or musician was no easy feat, and that it was something you either were, or were not.
So when I was told I didn’t have any of these talents, I believed it. As much as I loved the arts, I knew that I couldn’t sing, write, or paint. It was a fact.
Breaking the Mold
Fast forward many years later, and here I am writing weekly blog posts for the Extraordinary Businesswoman. Funny how life is . . .
I remember when Crystal, my business partner, told me, “You should write the blog for the Extraordinary Businesswoman.” I truly thought she was out of her mind.
Yet, my inner knowing told me to say “yes.” Frankly, that’s when I thought I was out of my mind.
Even though my inner knowing told me to try it, the voice in my head told me that the whole world would see that I was an imposter, not a writer.
But you know what, somewhere inside of me, I knew I had something to say.
So in spite of the fear, I moved forward. I’d like to tell you that once I wrote the first blog it was all good, but it wasn’t. Every time I sat down to write, I wrestled with my doubt and the old beliefs about myself and my ability—beliefs that I’d carried around like a backpack filled with rocks for all those years.
Now, a year later with over 40,000 words under my belt, I can say that the fear is gone, and in its place is an inner knowing that I’m following my truth. And that’s what really matters.
Had I never pushed through the fear, I would never have had the pleasure of expressing myself through the written word, or knowing that the belief I held wasn’t true.
Having courage and overcoming fear forms part of life’s journey, and the best way to do it is to move forward and push through it.
Facing Your Fear
So, whenever your inner knowing tells you to try something new and you feel fear around it—whether it’s staring a new business, being promoted, or (like me) doing something you thought you couldn’t do—keep going. Don’t hold yourself back.
When I was in school, my teacher, Ron Hulnick, once told our class that the acronym for fear is:
That resonates with me and I hope it does with you too.
Fear is about the unknown. We don’t know how things will work out, but trust let’s us take that leap of Faith.
Part of having courage is trusting that you will be fine no matter what. It’s trusting that your courage will lead you exactly where you need to go.
Sharing Your Story
Having courage ultimately means braving it alone, because the fear is within us, not outside us. But when we share our stories of courage, it gives our accomplishments meaning and connects us to each other.
We all experience fear at times as part of life’s journey. But the truth is that we all have our own unique experience of what it’s like.
When we share that experience, we are sharing ourselves and connecting to something bigger.
In this way, courage and strength of heart become a part of us, and slaying our dragons moves us past our fear to become more of who we truly are.
Speaking of sharing stories—we’d love to hear your courageous moments, too!