Courage is a Muscle

 Photo by  Stephen Walker  on  Unsplash

Courage is a muscle. Flex it as often as you can so that it can grow strong. There is no courageous act too small to count towards its development. Even the small, random acts of bravery that you might not even stop to acknowledge, they collectively support you when the big opportunity comes around.

Take a moment to consider this: When was the last time you felt courageous?

Years ago, I met my friend Jennie at our new local Farmer’s Market. Until then, a trip to the Farmer’s Market would require a 30-minute drive into Columbia that threatens to turn Saturday morning into something that feels more like Monday’s commute. But on this day, I experienced the Irmo Farmer’s Market for the first time.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was amazed by what I experienced: probably 40 or more small, local businesses and entrepreneurs, artists and horticulturists, and even locally owned franchises gathering in the park on a beautiful Saturday morning. 

Each one of these entrepreneurs and artists was courageously putting their craft, their passion out into the world – to be both judged and enjoyed. Each one of them taking a risk, making themselves vulnerable and feeling the satisfaction of offering their product or service to the world. As I walked up and down the street, I found myself smiling a little more often, asking a few more questions and stopping to take notice sometimes out of respect more than interest.

But back to you: Did you come up with any thoughts on when you last felt courageous?

If not, here are a few ideas to get you started.

The two possible outcomes are success and failure. If you want to find out how often you are flexing your courageous muscle, try this exercise.

What are your most recent failures? What are your most recent successes?

Now, look at your lists. If you are long on failure and short on success, consider this question: Are you truly exercising your courage according to who YOU are, or according to what others expect from you?

Now look at your lists again. If you are long on success and short on failure, consider answering this question: Are you open to taking risks in exchange for greater success? Are you playing it too “safe?” If so, why?