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Courage. It plays a part in everyone’s life journey. In this month’s blog I thought I’d share some of my courage journey. It’s my own courage journey of learning to take risks that motivates me and why I help others do the same. Perhaps it may inspire you to start your own.
I’ve never felt like a courageous person; but when you share your stories with others you begin to see your choices in a different light. You notice that what you viewed as just focus was actually risk taking. And therein lies the difference. Is your perspective that you are taking a risk or is it focus and determination that drove you towards your goal.
FROM SMALL ISLAND TO BIG CITY
Growing up in a small town of about 5,000 people and a graduating class of 85 students, I couldn’t wait to get out of the town I grew up in. Vancouver Island was a quiet sleepy place and there felt like so much more out there off of the big rock.
Having never ridden a bus, the ferry or a plane on my own, I bought a one way ticket to Toronto and left with two suitcases when I was 19. I had never been there and had no job lined up. I moved in with my best friend from high school and found work the first week I was there.
Because the focus was around getting off an island and away from parents, courage never entered into my mind. But from the outside a one way ticket to a massive city with no job at 19 was all about courage.
BECOMING AN EXPAT
Fast forward to age 42 when after 19 long cold winters in Calgary my then spouse and I decided it was time to get off the hamster wheel and move to a warm place that offered a cheaper cost of living and an easier life. After much deliberation and a trip to check it out first, we sold our home and packed up everything we owned in a 20 foot shipping container, hopped a plane and emigrated to Panama.
Most everyone thought the idea was crazy, moving to a third world country. To us it was an adventure. We had each other and our son, we’d be fine. We didn’t know a soul there but we were ready to say yes to that tropical, cheaper and stress free way of life.
It took tremendous courage to move to a country whose laws, language and customs were different than ours. Once there it took even greater courage to stay focused and not pack up and run back home when things got hard. And they did get hard.
At 44 my marriage of 24 years had ended. Once again focus and courage were required to pack up and move back to Canada to start a new life as a single mom. This was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. When we simply have to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving, when quitting isn’t an option, we have to dig extremely deep to find our courage and keep going.
With no job, no home, no friends and a teenage child, starting over was daunting. What’s interesting is that it is often only hindsight that has us see the courage that it took to do what we did. When you are in the moment it’s often hard to see or understand what character traits you are drawing on. Often times it’s during that relationship when we are acknowledged that we can reflect back and finally see what others see in us.
SAYING YES BY SAYING NO
At 54, after my father’s passing that year, it was time to say yes by saying no. After holding down a day job and running a coaching business part time for 9 years, it was time to say yes to doing my passion full time. That meant saying no to the corporate day jobs, and all it’s security, that had never lined up with my values and diving into the world of self employment.
Running your own business does not guarantee financial security. Saying no to that day job meant taking a financial risk. It takes courage to say yes to supporting yourself and following your dream.
WHAT’S THE POINT?
All of these life events were big ones. They are the major events that define my life. They are my courage journey. Each day as I work with a client they share their stories of courage. The courage they have had and the courage they wish they had.
For some their dreams and desires are big, as some of mine were. For many others they want to find their courage to be able to apply it to:
- Apply for a new job
- Say yes to dating again
- Move to another city
- Be honest and vulnerable with a friend or partner.
- Put themselves out there to make a new friend
In our coaching relationship they work towards being courageous and thus changing the trajectory of their lives. This is why I help clients do the same thing I did. Because when they find and use their courage their lives become more of what they wanted them to. In some cases they look different than envisioned, but the one thing that is clear is that they were, as was I, alive when in those experiences. Alive in their choices to create more of what they want to experience than what they don’t.
Helping others find their courage through coaching is my passion. Seeing others live their best life by saying yes to being courageous is why I help others do the same. Looking for a little more movition to start your own courage journey? Check out Brené Brown’s (Ph.D, LMSW) Netflix documentary The Call to Courage. and when you are ready to start your own journey let me know.