Leaders take risks that require courage every day. Courage can be seen as a way of being, a way in which we are in choice about how we live our lives. It takes great courage to live a life that is aligned with your values and strengths and to follow your life purpose or calling. When you choose to face everyday challenges by turning them into opportunities when you deal with problems straight on, and when you trust and follow your intuition you demonstrate courage. Speaking the truth, even when it’s unpopular. Standing up for what is right and what you believe in. Showing compassion and forgiveness when wronged and resisting the temptation to take the easy way out. This exhibits courage and courage always involves risk.
There are many lenses through which we see courage. Webster’s Dictionary defines courage as mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. This definition of courage implies firmness of mind and will in the face of danger or extreme difficulty. When faced with life or death situations, our inner strength emerges, and we are often able to react with courage. We hear stories of great acts of courage in which people have faced trauma or have taken significant risks, such as fleeing their homeland and becoming refugees. Courage, in this case, is a conscious decision to put oneself in harm’s way and make a personal sacrifice in the service of something greater than oneself. These stories, and others like it, inspire us to use fear to our advantage, to take action in creating a life we want and living from our hearts.
Leaders have also shown quiet acts of courage throughout time, as they’ve pushed against the grain, defied complacency and reached for their dreams. Those acts alone are remarkable, but more remarkable still is that they are often pursued for the good of others. A great example is in the stories of people who leave established careers and go back to school or change careers to pursue powerful dreams and new goals.
We can all be in choice with how we respond to everyday events and major challenges by knowing who we are and by being intentional about living our life purpose or calling. Courage, then, is not the special quality of super-heroes or extraordinary people, but something we do and can live every day, as part of our ordinary lives.
Courage is the strength to stand up.
When it’s easier to fall down and lose hold.
It is the conviction to explore new horizons
When it’s easier to believe what we’ve been told.
Courage is the desire to maintain our integrity
When it’s easier to look the other way.
It is feeling happy and alive, and moving forward
When it’s easier to feel sorry for ourselves and stay.
Courage is the will to shape our world
When it’s easier to let someone else do it for us.
It is the recognition that none of us are perfect
When it’s easier to criticize others and fuss.
Courage is the power to step forward and lead
When it’s easier to follow the crowd; their pleas resound.
It is the spirit that places you on top of the mountain
When it’s easier to never leave the ground.
The foundation of courage is solid,
The rock that doesn’t roll.
Courage is the freedom
Of our mind, body, and soul!