A few years ago now, pre baby life, my mom and I went on a little road trip. I remember her saying that she thought of me as a brave person. I argued that I have courage, I’m not brave.
There is a difference.
- endure or race (unpleasant conditions or behaviour) without showing fear.
- the ability to do something that frightens one.
Courage is about doing something even though it frightens you. It makes no claims that you will put on a ‘brave’ face or that you won’t show vulnerability.
Here’s the thing. Courage is a muscle. The more you make courageous choices, the easier it becomes.
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My courage muscle is a little weak of late. Yours might be, too. This can happen. We have peaks and valleys of courageousness, and they often coincide with changes in life circumstances. Becoming a mom, starting a new job, getting pregnant for a second time, these are things that have personally beaten up my courage muscle.
For you it might be a divorce, relationship issues, family trauma, imposter syndrome, financial worries, or any number of circumstances. That’s life.
What I’m saying is that I’m in a stage where I’m eager to flex that muscle again. And I’m curious whether you’d like to join me.
As a bit of a type A personality, and someone that loves a list that I can check off, I’ve decided the perfect challenge for me this year is to take on 100 courageous moments. And you better believe I’m going t be putting stars next to each moment… just like in grade school!
Let’s talk a little about what this looks like.
My first courageous moment came on Saturday. My husband wanted to stay home and get some work done on his study while I desperately wanted to get our kiddo out to burn off some energy (plus I tend to get stir crazy on weekends). I hesitated because I was afraid. Afraid to take my energetic toddler to a busy science centre on my own. Afraid that my six month pregnant body would get in the way of being able to chase him around. Afraid of how I’d manage if he peed his pants (yes we are in the potty training stage). Afraid that he’d throw a public tantrum and I’d have to carry him out, still six months pregnant, kicking and screaming. So many things I was afraid or nervous about.
But then I thought back to my goal to take on 100 courageous moments. Here’s the thing, I have this dream that during my maternity leave that I will take BOTH my infant and my son on outings… alone.
You’ve got to crawl before you can walk, hence my decision to take my son out solo.
Was it busy? Yes. Did he have a mini meltdown? Yes. Did he pee his pants? Unfortunately… yes. But did I survive? Yeah, and even though all of those things happened, it still wasn’t as bad as I’d built it up in my head. People didn’t stare or point. My body handled it. We got home in one piece. And I’d do it again.
Because that’s how this works. Building the courage muscle almost always builds your confidence, even if slowly.
Courageous moments will come in all shapes and sizes. This week I plan to get into a swimming pool to swim laps for the first time in years, having let a lack of body confidence and ability hold me back. I worked through this with my coach. I’ve been searching for ways to fill up my buckets for both spirituality and physical health, and swimming seems the perfect way to do that… even if I find the idea of going to a new pool, a new place, in my new pregnant body scary. If I don’t try, I’ll never know.
Courage can come with decisions or actions around your health, work, relationships, self-talk, spirituality, finances, and in so many other facets of your life.
I bet we can all find one way every day to be courageous. We can stand up for that person. We can stick to our convictions when it comes to parenting. We can take on a challenging project at work. We can say ‘no’ without qualifying it.
And that last one… how often do we struggle to say no? Someone asks if we can do something or go somewhere and we say, “I’d love to, but…” when really we wouldn’t love to. We don’t want to. It’s not aligned with our values or our time, or whatever. No can be a complete sentence, but it takes courage.
So, this year I plan to take on and track one hundred courageous moments in all areas of my life. I’m curious to see what changes at the end of it.
And I’m curious what courageous moments you’re willing to take on. If you’d like to share, tag me on social media @girltrieslife or share in the comments below. Let’s champion each others’ courageousness.
You’ve got this.