Is courage innate? Are we all born with courage and some people take the time to carve paths and others prefer to seek out what already exists? Or is courage learned from those we’ve seen succeed before us? Or is it something most of us shy away from until faced with an opportunity (or challenge) to exemplify courage, perhaps when we ourselves least expect it.
Since I began this journey into entrepreneurship, a lot of people have asked me how I’ve gotten the courage to take this journey. My honest reply to everyone who asks is that for me, this doesn’t take courage. I couldn’t imagine a scenario in which I was not doing exactly what I’m doing now — and therefore it was more of a no-brainer kind of decision than a courageous one. So while it may not feel particularly courageous from where I stand — a person who loves to push the envelope and always try something new — I can recognize the ways in which my actions are bold and fierce, in the face of uncertainty and potential failure.
Where did this bravery come from? When did it grow? How can you grow it?
I do believe that bravery is cultivated from a multitude of life experiences. We try things out, we risk failure, we risk making a fool of ourselves — and we see what happens. We put our hearts into it, whatever “it” may be and we see how we net out. Every single achievement we may earn, has surely come from a place of risk and uncertainty. A willingness to take a chance and see how far we can get. It’s a classic risk-reward scenario and we must choose risk to earn the feeling of success and pride that comes from achieving what we set out to.
Bravery also comes from the examples of those who’ve come before us. The people we’ve seen take a chance and rise up, regardless of what setbacks or struggles have befallen them. The more models of bravery that we see in those around us, the more likely we are to take bold action in our own lives. And so, courage is not just innately grown in any one of us, but in all of us — and is lying in wait until we recognize that we, too, can access it when we need it.
And courage comes when we feel truly aligned with our values and our purpose in this life. The more aligned we are, the more willing we are to take a stand for exactly what matters to us. And the more courageous and bold we may seem to the outside world, when in fact to us it seems there was never really a choice — it was so clear that this action needed to be taken.
So to become a courage warrior, you must first understand who you are as a person — what drives you, what inspires you, what demotivates you, what do you stand for. Understand what you believe in, what you cannot tolerate, and what you are so 100% sure of that you are willing to do almost anything to prove it. And when you know in your heart what it is that you believe in, allow your courageous self to kick in and lead you to action. To be honest, once you have this conviction — you won’t need a reminder to be brave for there will be no other choice. That, my friends, is where we find our bravery. And that is the place where I am so often asked, “Where did you find the courage to __(insert amazing thing here)____?”
I find the courage in my heart, in my mind, in my values, and in my purpose. I find my courage in a place of authenticity, compassion for myself and others, and in not caring what anyone else thinks. I find my courage in my willingness to risk everything and “fail” (for I do not believe anything we risk to achieve could ever be called a failure). And I stand here, in my courage, waiting for you to join me.