What Courage Looks Like

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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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0 Replies to “What Courage Looks Like”

  1. Dan, I have to agree with what your old friend/mentor said about you. Being courageous is taking on a task in the face of fear. You do it frequently, you often do not hide your fear from others (an act of courage in itself), and you seem inspired by an intention to make a difference. I'll stop now before your head explodes. I think you've got that courage thing workin' for you. And, as most great qualities, it's a moment by moment game – we never know what is going to come screaming around the corner next!

  2. Dan, I have to agree with what your old friend/mentor said about you. Being courageous is taking on a task in the face of fear. You do it frequently, you often do not hide your fear from others (an act of courage in itself), and you seem inspired by an intention to make a difference. I'll stop now before your head explodes. I think you've got that courage thing workin' for you. And, as most great qualities, it's a moment by moment game – we never know what is going to come screaming around the corner next!

  3. Dan, I have to agree with what your old friend/mentor said about you. Being courageous is taking on a task in the face of fear. You do it frequently, you often do not hide your fear from others (an act of courage in itself), and you seem inspired by an intention to make a difference. I'll stop now before your head explodes. I think you've got that courage thing workin' for you. And, as most great qualities, it's a moment by moment game – we never know what is going to come screaming around the corner next!

  4. Dan,
    There is an insecurity that catapults us to accomplish that which we did not think that we could, which I believe you are referring to in your comment
    and then there is an insecurity that constantly screams for attention and to be noticed. There is a vast difference between the two.

    Having said that, please know that I care and do not share thoughts flippantly or with an intent to hurt or injure but only to be thought provoking.

  5. Dan,
    There is an insecurity that catapults us to accomplish that which we did not think that we could, which I believe you are referring to in your comment
    and then there is an insecurity that constantly screams for attention and to be noticed. There is a vast difference between the two.

    Having said that, please know that I care and do not share thoughts flippantly or with an intent to hurt or injure but only to be thought provoking.

  6. Dan,
    There is an insecurity that catapults us to accomplish that which we did not think that we could, which I believe you are referring to in your comment
    and then there is an insecurity that constantly screams for attention and to be noticed. There is a vast difference between the two.

    Having said that, please know that I care and do not share thoughts flippantly or with an intent to hurt or injure but only to be thought provoking.

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