There have been many examples world wide of people who have demonstrated such courage in their lives and have changed the world for the better. Maya Angelou, one of these people, passed away this week. She not only changed herself but the world with her acts of courage. She said that courage is the most important virtue a person can possess because it relies on our ability to be consistent in our views of ourselves and others. It draws the line of what can be tolerated and what cannot. Deciding what constitutes our own ‘line in the sand’ involves many things especially courage.
Courage can be as simple as knowing when to speak up and when to sit down, when to lean in and when to lean back. When we think about the millions of times and events in our lives that require us to choose action or inaction it can be a bit overwhelming. What is stabling, however, is realizing that the golden thread of courage from our life experiences is woven into every fiber of our being and exists to help us know when and where to draw our own lines.
We may not all have the heady experiences of changing the world but we can change ourselves in significant ways by having the courage to grow and expand our own comfort zone and be a model to others.
Any change in our lives involves both fear and courage. Then why change, why rock the boat you might ask? When there is less meaning, security or excitement in what you are doing and you feel that tomorrow will just be a repeat of today a gentle nudge of dissatisfaction is beginning to encompass you. That’s your intuition telling you to change – to have the courage to believe in yourself and your own survival skills enough to do something about it. Muster up the courage to follow your own heart and turn the page, start the next chapter in your life. Everyone has insecurities about change. That’s called being human. It is how long we allow ourselves to stay stuck in the familiar, known as The Waiting Place, that can sap our enthusiasm for life. We have heard of people who say they wish they could do … (fill in the blank) but are waiting for the perfect time, the perfect opportunity, the perfect reason. Guess what? There is no such thing. Waiting is often just an excuse that allows the fears of the unknown, the future, to be manifested in us today. That fear keeps us locked into our familiar, maybe even predictable or restricting place in life.
How sad it would be to reflect back on our lives at 85 or so and think to ourselves, ‘If only I would have …’ Decide today to use your courage to expand your comfort zone and experience more of life. The issue may be big or small – it really doesn’t matter because each time you decide to be courageous enough to change something in your life you are putting another chit in your bucket of strength, fortitude and belief in yourself. Maybe it’s as simple as changing your route to work so you can see a new landscape, or volunteering for a non-profit or even deciding to retire after a lifetime of work. Whatever it is if you have been thinking about it, your intuition is telling you the time is right to do something.
Alan Cohen said it best, “It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new, but there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.
What can you do this week that involves change and takes courage? Do it, practice the feelings of risk (don’t worry it doesn’t last) and become stronger and more sure of yourself daily as your life expands and grows. When you become that 85 year old reflecting back on your life you can think to yourself, as a wise, knowing smile spreads across your face, ‘I didn’t just take up space, I lived life! I grabbed life by the horns and rode it for all it was worth!’ Yes, you may have a few bumps and bruises to prove it but nobody, I mean nobody, can take away the thrill of the experience and the feeling of confidence you gained on the journey.
Have a great few days!