Ordinary Courage

A few weeks ago I wrote a post called Start With Courage a phrase that I learned from Michael Bungay Stanier. It’s a beautiful phrase that compels us to begin the interactions we have in our lives with courage. Building on top of that, BrenĂ© Brown’s definition of courage in which “speaking from our hearts is what I think of ordinary courage” makes this concept of courage a little bit more attainable.

If we can find a way to make courage a little bit more ordinary, maybe that will help lower the bar for us to be more courageous everyday? And it doesn’t have to be glamorous either. Courage doesn’t have to come from a sudden willingness to put the Superman cape on. Sometimes we just need to cobble together just enough courage to take action. Just enough courage to move the boulder up the hill and let it roll down the hill.

In physics, there’s the concept of potential energy and kinetic energy. Potential energy is when an object is placed in a position in which energy is created upon motion. Think: a boulder at the top of a hill or holding a ball on the edge of a bridge.

Summoning enough courage to address a situation – whatever that might look like for you – is a bit like building potential energy. You may need to talk to the right people to give you good advice or read books on the topic or practice/write/journal what you’re going to say. That potential energy then becomes the fuel you need to turn into kinetic energy. Once you summon enough courage to create potential energy, the stored energy gets released and you build momentum. And once you have momentum, a lot of positive things can build on top of that.

In what parts of your life can you be more ordinarily courageous? How can you cobble together just enough courage in aspects of your life that you’d like to change? Courage doesn’t have to look glamorous. You need just enough to create motion and you might just discover how you’re becoming a different person just by taking action.

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