Dan Waldschmidt

by Dan Waldschmidt

July 10, 2009

What Courage Looks Like


I aspire to be courageous.

I don’t really think I am.  What I do (who I am…) doesn’t seem to demand courage.  But I might be wrong….

A few days ago I received an encouraging email from a friend who is much older than I am and was a mentor at one time.  We didn’t always see eye-to-eye on everything (especially in some recent interactions) so the email was altogether unexpected.  Here is the first paragraph:

You are a great teacher, a great contributor, a fine example of someone with  the courage to stand up, trust in his ability to create value in the scary moment of now, and make a real difference.

As I read this email I literally had to pause and collect my emotions so I could read the rest of the email.  So many thoughts at the same time. Glad to be recognized.  Challenged to continue. Thoughtful for the task at hand….

I realized that courage is not no much a single big action as it is a series of small and seemingly insignificant ways of living.

Here is what the inches of courage look like:

  1. Planning for greatness when you feel clueless….
  2. Turning a 5 mile run into 6….
  3. Not apologizing for being different….
  4. Dialoging with people that are smarter than you….
  5. Changing your mind….
  6. And then changing your mind again….
  7. Telling the world what you are passionate about….
  8. Disagreeing with a good idea….
  9. Waking up and doing it all over again….
  10. Fighting for the extra 1% when 99% seems good enough….
  11. Saying “NO” because your “YES” won’t be worth it….
  12. Believing in yourself even though you are the only one….
  13. Telling yourself the truth about what scares you….
  14. Facing your fear of failure….
  15. Starting something new when the old stuff isn’t done yet….
  16. Pausing to be grateful for past life lessons….
  17. Finish reading all the books you half started….
  18. Using personal doubts to fuel activity….
  19. Asking a close friend what they think your faults are….
  20. Answering the phone when you see it’s the bill collector….
  21. Teaching a class on a topic that you have mastered…
  22. Mastering a topic well enough to teach a class about it….

How many times will you be courageous today?

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About the author

Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt doesn’t just talk about leveling up. He’s obsessed with it. He's set records as an ultra-runner and been the personal strategist for the leading business leaders of our time. He wrote a book, called EDGY Conversations that accidentally became a worldwide bestseller and continues to share his insights from the stage as a keynote speaker and on the blogs and podcasts you will find here. Most days, you'll find Dan heads-down, working on breakthrough strategies for his clients at EDGY Inc, a highly-focused, invite-only, business strategy execution company based out of Silicon Valley.