It would appear that my dad is dying from cancer. At 85 he is about to face the battle for his life. This is new territory for him, and for all of our family. This disturbing news today has got me thinking.
It does not matter who you are, you need courage. Courage is all about having a go, following a dream, doing things you have never done before even though you are afraid.
I’ve had the privilege of meeting all kinds of people, some world famous, very successful in their field, and without exception, they still have to deal with fears related to self-doubt. They would say that a large part of their success is because they have learned to step up and do their thing even though they are afraid.
Courage comes from the outside.
The word ‘encourage’ literally means to ‘put courage in’ to someone. It is wonderful when you receive encouragement from someone you respect, or even from an unexpected source. It lifts you and helps you face your fears. It makes you feel stronger on the inside.
Some courage comes from having a great team around you. Sometimes it comes from your family or partner. Other times courage comes from friends or loyal staff members who stand by you no matter what.
The best source of courage grows within you.
Like motivation, if you have to wait for courage to come from outside of you, there will be times when it just does not come. You will be left high and dry.
In Nazi concentration camps, Austrian Jew and later psychotherapist, Viktor Frankyl, observed that those who had courage that enabled them to survive the horror of those camps either had a faith in God, or a relationship that gave them a reason to have courage to hold on. Without such deep seated purpose even strong men soon lost their will to live.
Courage is holding your course, even when things are not working. It’s getting up and trying again after yet another attempt has fallen short. It’s being willing to humble yourself and admit that you made a mistake. It is dealing with defeat with dignity. It is getting up every morning even when you are tired and feeling fear in the pit of your stomach. Courage is not easy. It is all about taking responsibility for your life, without complaining or expecting someone else to do things for you. It is being willing to forgive and even reconcile with someone who hurt you. It is doing what is right even though it could cost you everything.
Every time you do something new, you need courage.
The great thing I’ve learned about courage is that the more you face down your fears, and step out of your comfort zone to learn something new, the more your inner source of courage grows.
There are times in life when it will be just you. No-one will be there for you. Some things you have to face alone. You have to bear the pain, face fear in the eye, and be strong.
You will be amazed at what is in you if you simply take that first step, out of your comfort zone, and begin that course, take that promotion, talk to that girl, start a friendship outside your normal circle, travel to a foreign country, etc. With God’s help you will see amazing things, if you learn to push through and do things afraid.
Stay small and your courage will always be small.
Step up, face your fears, enlarge your territory and your influence, and you will be amazed at the strength of your courage.
When you find your voice, and develop some inner strength, you will find that you not only benefit yourself, but also many around you. You will inspire without even knowing it. You will lift people with the hope that you bring. Your confidence will grow, and you will live a larger life. You will live your best life.
My dad is not a very macho type man. And yet he is strong. He has lived a life of serving others. He has a faith in God that helps him have great peace even at news of a life threatening illness. He is facing down his fears. He is a courageous man.