Courage Over Comfort
Lately, I have been diving into the meaning of courage. Of course, I am reading and watching a lot of Brene Brown, whom over the years, has truly been my online mentor. In fact, I learned about Brene by accident when I fell upon her TED Talk “The Power of Vulnerability.” It completely changed my perspectives in life.
A couple of weeks ago, I sent out a Living Letter (Life Out Loud’s newsletter), which talked about courage and how the root of the word means to “come from the heart.” As an entrepreneur who made a decision to venture into an unfamiliar world, it took a lot of courage to take my vision and turn it into a business concept — exposing my creativity to the world and opening myself up to the realm of criticism.
It’s funny how empowering the dreaming phase was, but when it was time for action, I became unsure and hesitant to launch something that is so personal. Designing a business that focuses on the vulnerabilities of humanity, of our life and existence with the intention to use those experiences to promote our mental health and wellness, is ultimately my mission. The idea, in my opinion, was unique and outside of the box.
It wasn’t long until those moments of confidence, excitement and affirmation of my business design were overtaken by fear and the “what ifs.”
What if people think this is a terrible business concept; what if I never get a client; what if my business doesn’t unfold as I envisioned; what if I am judge; what if …
Fear is such a complex and immobilizing experience.
So here I am, recognizing that I have been swimming in a pool of fear with a few aspects of my business. Distracted by many things in my life that have led me to disengage in some of the work that needs to be done. Now, I am creating new systems, drawing on my resources for support, and researching and learning all that I can about starting a business along with sharing out loud the personal experiences on this journey. I’m feeling excited, and empowered to create — and then guess who shows up? The damn gremlins — the saboteurs that have this way of overtaking logic, especially during times when I am stepping into courage.
The familiar voice asks …
Are you enough?
I cannot pretend that my journey with this venture is smooth and straightforward. It is not. I have moments of great success, and moments of movements backwards. During those movements back, the question of “am I enough” rears its ugly head. I wanted to write this blog to share where I am now and to encourage you to P A U S E and take a look into your own life and identify where there are negative narratives and opportunities for restoration — it could be from gremlins, people in your life, personal shame, or even messages received from societal expectations.
”I am not enough,” is a universal problem and an obstacle that many of us encounter. If we think we are not smart enough, strong enough, interesting enough, intelligent enough, we start to live that belief. “Enough” is a word that often depends on others and how we measure ourselves against somebody else’s measure of what and how we should be. Comparison gets us nowhere and is not growth facilitating.
To win this fight of being and feeling enough, it takes an inward focus on ourselves. Do we want to live a life that is prescribed by others’ , including society? Or do we want to show up living intentionally, and creatively as our unique and beautiful selves? When we embrace the truth of our unique selves, we truly live in the centre of our own worth.
It is not an easy process to work through, and for myself, I’ve had to acknowledge the difficult emotions and insecurities, and recognize that it will continue to show up throughout this journey. But there is an incredible thing that happens when we lean into shame, and vulnerability — the affirmation that we are in the arena fighting for courage.
“If we give in to defeat, we are fighting against courage and not moving from our heart — and when this happens, it diminishes creativity and our ability to be innovative.”
YOU ARE ENOUGH!
Being enough does not mean that we are everything, or that we are complete and have finished growing and learning as individuals. Being enough is not saying we are perfect or without flaws. When we are enough, we are acknowledging that we are made to be who we are, as we are, on purpose. It means that we don’t have to strive to become more worthy, more acceptable or valid because of the expectations of others. You are already those things.
Showing UP in the Arena
I am continuously making the decision to step into courage — and trust me, sometimes it takes many decisions of courage for one task. But by not choosing courage, I am not living my life on purpose.
Courage: Is telling the story of who you are with your whole heart. Courage is vulnerability and is the willingness to do something when there are no guarantees. Brene Brown shares the powerful words and inspirational quote from Theodore Roosevelt, “The Man in the Arena.” It reads:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
This is a beautiful reminder during those times when that grey, ugly cloud starts to loom above you, or when your confidence starts to get eaten away by naysayers and fear. Just remember, that when you make a decision to do something courageous, that it is NOT the critic who counts.
Because we are courageous doesn’t mean we don’t experience fear. Instead, when courage shows up against fear, acknowledge it, get curious about it, but don’t let it in the driver’s seat. Be brave in your quest. Show up in the arena armoured with gratitude, grace and gumption.
We have one life, one journey on this Earth to live in the purpose in which we are called. Don’t allow your hesitations become your limitations. There are no guarantees in life — but what we do have is far more valuable, and that’s courage!
I hope you find ways to choose courage over comfort, because my friends, YOU ARE ENOUGH!
With love & intention,