The other night I had dinner with a friend who was in town after moving away last year to Hawaii. She is one of those people whose courage I always admire so I told her so. I know how hard it is to pick up and move to a new city where you don't know anyone. Add on that the new city is a14 hour plane ride away and I call that very brave.
Her first reaction was to tell me no, she didn't feel all that courageous, but then she thought about it and saw the truth through my eyes. Of course when she threw it back to me and suggested I too was brave, I had a digestion problem of my own.
I strive to be. I have it written in my manifesto. Be Brave. Have courage to do something different. But I don't call myself brave. I think of it more as a way I want to be than a way I necessarily live.
I am aware that from the outside looking in I appear courageous. After all not everyone is willing to give up a 25 year career mid-life to forge a new one. But I'm also the same person who will avoid walking over the subway grates even if it means stepping into oncoming traffic because I live in fear that one of them will get loose and I'll fall through onto the top of a speeding subway car. That is not what I call a brave person.
So perhaps courage is really how you view it. The same person who might never leave their safe and secure office job will choose to go sky diving on the weekends. Someone else might be brave enough to run into burning buildings for a living but still break out in a sweat over the thoughts of trying a new brand of toothpaste. For some that phone call to the CEO they've never met because they want a job does not feel at all brave, yet dial their ex to tell them they made a mistake breaking up three months ago and want to get back together and they back out of the room with their knees buckling.
We seem to know what we are afraid to do, yet acting with fearlessness and daring is barely a thought when it stems from our deepest truth. When my friend made the decision to quit her job and move to Hilo she took the first step and did not move forward thinking herself brave but simply doing something that felt like it was the only choice at that moment. I've no doubt it a similar sensation to what occurred in me when I said no more to corporate life.
Sometimes our boldest acts of courage are indeed the easiest only because they ring so true that we know we have no other choice but to do it. And it is only in the eyes of those watching that we are reminded that we are indeed very brave.
What does courageous look like to you?
Courageous enough to enlist the help of a coach?
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