Photo courtesy of Sasha Pivovarova in French Vogue
There are many metaphors for life- life is a journey, an adventure, or even a ride. And when I think of journeys, adventures, and rides, I think of anticipation, excitement, and wonder. Then I take a gulp, and I think of courage. For as exciting as life can be as whatever metaphor you choose or reality you are living, life demands courage.
When I think of courage, I think of the infamous cowardly lion from the story The Wizard of Oz. It’s a familiar story of four characters on a journey to see the wizard of Oz to get their needs met, and for the lion who’s a self proclaimed and readily observed coward, he needs the wizard to give him courage.
Well what exactly was the lion asking for when he was asking for courage? He was asking for the ability to do it afraid. Whatever he encountered he wanted to be the victor and he knew that sometimes to be the victor you have to do things that scare you.
Now, as we find out at the end of the film, the wizard didn’t really have to give the lion courage. He already had it, he just didn’t realize it. He didn’t know how to tap into his courage. I find from time to time in my own life that what lies between my goal and present circumstance is a bridge of courage. Now just because I know the bridge exists doesn’t mean I am always ready to cross it. I mean once you know what courage is and that you need it how do you tap into it? How do you cross the bridge of courage in order to finish your journey and reach your destiny?
- Understand what courage is- Remember it’s not the absence of fear or the denial of it. It’s doing it- the new job, the first relationship after the dissolved marriage, trying to get pregnant after the third miscarriage, the first boyfriend after the sexual assault, starting the new business, etc., afraid. It’s refusing to let fear win. It’s moving toward that bridge of courage saying “Lions, tigers, and bears, Oh my.”
- Have a courageous crew- Whenever I am getting ready to take a life leap, like starting this blog after ending another one connected to a small business I decided to close, starting a new job, quitting a job with no job as a backup, I pray and I talk with the people in my life who I know will remind me to do it afraid. They’ll pull out the positives, remind me of my strengths, offer any support they can, but they won’t let me stay on the side of possibility when they know I can cross the bridge of courage to promise and purpose.
Photo courtesy of Vogue as seen on nbc.com
- Call on the courage of others- Not only do I pray and talk to people who I know will remind me to be courageous and keep it moving, I take a moment to remind myself of the courageous acts of others. Whether it’s Rosa Parks and her refusal to give up her seat, Leymah Gbowee who organized the women’s peace movement in Liberia to end war, or my mother who made the decision to leave an unhealthy relationship. I remind myself that these women faced prison, death, or heartache and shame, yet they made the choices they believed were best for them, their families, and their communities. They did it afraid. They did it with courage.
- Repeat your courage mantra- Whatever you have to tell yourself to psyche yourself up to move forward, say it. Shoot, scream it, sing it, rap it if you have to. Often I will tell myself “You deserve the best, this isn’t the best, now do your best to get the best.”
- Remember the lions, tigers, and bears– Exercising courage isn’t a one time deal. Just because you passed the lion, doesn’t mean there won’t be a tiger and a bear later in your adventure to living incredibly victoriously and emphatically. Expect obstacles and delays on your life journey and expect to conquer them courageously and victoriously. It’s when you don’t anticipate the setbacks you find yourself having a significantly difficult time handling them when they come forth and you’re more afraid to continue and move forward to achieve your goals.
Photo courtesy of Gene Herrick as on usanews.com
May you be encouraged to tap into your courage. May you look your goals in the face and tell them to pucker up as you gloss your lips with lipstick that’s a sexy shade of courage. May you dare to do it afraid and LIVE your journey, adventure, or ride.
What choices are you facing today that demands courage?
What’s your courage mantra? Please share! xxoo