Lessons in Courage

It’s raining here in the Bay Area. So that, coupled with a bad case of the Mondays, is making it a little more difficult than usual to get going. But here I am!

I’ve been thinking an awful lot about courage in the past week. Among my siblings–and perhaps my friends too–I’ve always been the least confrontational one. I’m not a pushover, per se, but I am a little less quick to defend myself and to ask for the things I really want or need.

It makes me wonder: how have I been so successful in the past with such a seeming lack of backbone? Well, the truth is, I let my work speak for itself. I’m a damn good worker. And I’m great at figuring things out to get the job done. But the flip side (and the sad side) is that I often get paid less and my opportunities for advancement are limited to non-existent…

And when it comes to my relationships with friends and family, I can be way too nice. Even if I’m very well justified in my feelings or desires, I’d rather not rock the boat. After all, I don’t want to be that person.

Anyway, what I’m trying to get at is the importance of courage. Courage, like confidence, is one of those things that can move mountains and open doors. It’s a hurdle, yes. But it’s something you have to get over in order to become a better you.

What keeps me from being courageous, at times, is my fear of what’s on the other side. I tend to think of the worst possible outcome. And, by doing so, I sell myself short. I can be totally afraid to ask for more, say no, express displeasure, or propose new and unpopular ideas under the assumption that I’ll make a complete fool of myself. The perfectionist in me just wants to say the right thing or nothing at all.

But, enough about me. What about the other people involved? They’re getting sold a bit short here too, right? Think about it: what opportunity do others have to meet your demands, consider your ideas, adjust their behavior, or just plain show you how understanding they are if they don’t even know how you feel. Like I said before, your courage is what will open up those doors.

So, how do you do it? You know, be courageous and all? Well, it really comes down to forcing yourself. It’s true, not all of your ideas, suggestions, or feelings will be well-received. But, the old saying is true as well: closed mouths don’t get fed. So sometimes, it’s just necessary to put yourself out there and see what happens. It’s hard. It takes some serious balls. But with the right frame of mind, you will survive.

I’ll constantly emphasize in this blog (as a reminder) that we shouldn’t be aiming for perfection in the things we do–because it’s simply not possible, and definitely not healthy. Happiness is what it’s all about, so don’t be afraid to go after what you deserve. Trust that the fight you put up now will be worth it in the long run.

Looks like the sky is clearing up over here! So shine some light on this topic with me. When and how are you courageous? Anything standing in your way? Let me know in the comments below.

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