Courage: Not Just for Superheroes

by Kim on May 6, 2010

Today, I sit here thinking about my readers who have not yet taken that first step… the ones who desperately want to follow their dreams, but can’t quite make the leap.

I know a lot of you have already spread your wings and are going to whatever heights the winds might take you.  However, I know that for others there is something holding them back.

It might be money. It might be time. It might be fear of failure. Or, it might be something else. Something is making you second-guess and doubt your inner self.

I’m writing today to encourage you to take the steps needed to let yourself go.

I’m writing today to offer you courage.

Why courage? Because when you put yourself out there where people can criticize you, take pot shots, or make negative judgments — courage is what you need to push through and move forward.

Courage to Change

As I’m writing this, the sun is shining, and birds are singing.  It strikes me that it is easy to feel courageous at a time like this.  When the day is bright and cheery, it is easy to imagine that everything will go your way.  As night creeps in, so do the doubts.

Finding courage is very much the same.  When you are busy making plans, you are excited and energized by your idea.  It’s a beautiful day, and the sky’s the limit!  As time goes on, day turns to night, and you begin to think that maybe your great idea isn’t so great.  Don’t get stuck in the dark!  Keep moving forward until you see daylight again.

One situation of courage came after I told my family and friends about my plans to leave my comfortable j-o-b without a perceived safety net.  I was greeted with a lot of raised eyebrows.  Most folks didn’t know how to respond.  Even the few who were supportive were skeptical.  It seemed as though everyone was prepared for me to fail.

That did a number on my self-esteem.  I began to second-guess everything.  Obviously, if everyone thought it was a foolish idea, I must be missing something, right?  I seriously thought about canceling my plans and sticking with the 9 to 5 grind a little longer.  Well, we all know how the story ended up, and I have to say that I am glad I did not listen to the naysayers.

That said, based on my experience and that of my clients, I can truly say that dream-seeking is not for the faint of heart.  If you want to march to the beat of your own drum, your mix of personal skills needs to include a healthy dose of courage.

Why Courage?

You need courage because change is hard… hard on a deep subconscious, primal level.  Even when we are unhappy, the sad truth is that it is easier to stay in a bad situation than to move into uncharted territory.  We simply are programmed to stick with the familiar.

Being courageous means recognizing that you will never have everything ‘perfect.’  There will never be a moment when a giant, neon sign announces ‘GO’ for your plans.  At some point, you have to stop preparing and start doing.  My readers who have taken the plunge headlong into following their dream can tell you that ‘going for it’ can give you heart-pounding moments.

Courage may not always come easy.  This much I know: Everyone must create their small successes and build into big successes.  Start out with some smaller goals that require a little leap of faith.  Do those, then when it is time to take the big plunge it won’t seem so bad.

Another key to keeping your courage is to surround yourself with a community of like-minded individuals.  They will help build you up and keep you sustained in difficult times.  I know I am a bit biased, but I think we have a fabulous group of regular readers here.  If you need a little guidance or help, please do not hesitate to post in the comments or contact me directly.

As for my regular readers, what gave you the courage to finally follow your heart?

Image via Erik Charlton on Flickr

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Jarrod@ Optimistic Journey May 6, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Hi Kim,

I commend you on having taken the step to branch off and march to the beat of your own drummer. It’s tough when we have dreams and visions that especially our close family and friends don’t see. They may not see the same vision we see, there for they can’t always understand.

And it’s so easy to become persuaded by this. But we have to keep the courage to know that we’re on the right track. We have to have the confidence in ourselves to know that we are already “winners” and take that huge step of courage based on that.

Such a great article and thanks for sharing!!

PS: I love the image by the way 😉

Reply

Kim May 7, 2010 at 12:26 am

Hi Jarrod,

Great point! Others don’t always share the same vision. We must do what resonates with our hearts. This empowerment creates momentum and progress.

I appreciate your contribution. Without you, there would be no image 😉

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Ivana Sendecka May 7, 2010 at 3:08 am

Dear Kim,
1st out of topic remark: new “outfit” for your blog is super cool! 😉

@raised eyebrows: for me personally, more people raising their eyebrows means for me I am on the right track;-)
@planning: I have stopped doing it, I only do and “ship” my art and adjust along the way on emerging issues or difficulties, which as you have said state like “perfect” is an illusion:-)
@courage: pushing someone to jump ain’t good way to help overcome a fear. i prefer to jump myself and show others that it is possible and not so dangerous as they have thought;-) now, i am jumping and jumping, that more and more people are stopping by at a cliff and watching me enjoying the ride. i trust soon or later some of them will take a leap themselves and they will enjoy their ride, too!
😉
it takes time, loads of focus, determination and personal strength, but you guys all know the feeling: you just FEEL it 😉

have a super cool day.
i.

Reply

Kim May 7, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Hi Ivana,

Your energy and enthusiasm in your work is contagious. You definitely lead by example, inspiring courage. It’s great that you find raised eyebrows as a sign that you’re on the right track. Others might experience doubt.

Thank you for taking the time to be a part of this determined community — we feel your presence!

I’m happy you like my ‘new’ outfit 😉

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Ben May 7, 2010 at 8:11 am

I believe that we all have courage within us, just for many of us we need to find where the well is so we can tap it.

Often celebrating your successes however small so that you can build momentum taps this well of courage within us.

A lovely post Kim.

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Kim May 7, 2010 at 2:02 pm

I’m honored to have you here again, Ben. You’ve built quite a momentum and your courage isn’t hard to spot.

Cheers — to our continued growth and success!!

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Greg Blencoe May 7, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Hi Kim,

I really like your point about the importance of surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals. I’ve found that it helps so much to be around people who are like who you are trying to become. Or at least they are trying to be like you are trying to become.

While we all will have to do a lot of the journey on our own, the people you surround yourself with will determine whether or not the wind feels like it is at your back or blowing in your face during your pursuit of your goal. And since there can sometimes be a fine line between being successful and not being successful, it really helps to have the wind at your back.
.-= Greg Blencoe´s last blog ..My personal 30-day money challenge starts next Monday on May 10th =-.

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Kim May 7, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Hi Greg,

Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. It’s been said, we are the average of the top 5 people we associate with — intellectually, financially, spiritually, etc. I am happy that you are part of this community of like-minds and if it’s possible to be part of the wind at your back, I’m happy to mastermind.

Have an amazing weekend!

Reply

Keith Davis May 8, 2010 at 3:16 am

Hi Kim
Courage is so important.
Courage to overcome that “fear of failure”
I blog on Public Speaking and I see novice speakers tremble as they approach the lectern, but they have the courage to give their first speech.
I see them a year later and I can’t believe it’s the same person.

If you find the courage and take the risk, you will achieve your wildest dreams.

Thanks for the reminder Kim

Reply

Kim May 8, 2010 at 10:38 am

Hi Keith,

Isn’t it just so rewarding to see those you work with become a new person?
I love what you said and I’d just like to repeat it 🙂

“If you find the courage and take the risk, you will achieve your wildest dreams.”

Happy to have you here again Keith!

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Baker May 8, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Great post Kim! I love the new look to your site. It really does show that you are taking the action steps necessary to live out what you are blogging in this post about courage.

From my own life, the one thing that gave me the courage to finally follow my own heart was I wanted that space to feel free to inspire others by creatively expressing myself in writing at the moment. These come in the form of books and blog posts I’ve written. I followed my heart and never looked back.
It is wonderful to see you are on the right track, as I see this site is based on a solid foundation. 🙂

Reply

Kim May 9, 2010 at 12:32 am

Thank you for the kind words Baker, they’re so good to hear!

Your courage is evident in your work and it’s paying dividends in the lives you’ve touched through your creativity. Your strides have been part of my inspiration to expand in this direction. I’m in gratitude 🙂

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ayo May 8, 2010 at 9:02 pm

hi kim,
how are you?
thanks for sharing your thoughts on courage.
i am currently going through a phase where it’s difficult for some people to read from my page and some times it’s out of a genuine love or concern for me and other times it’s just…….
it’s difficult to gather courage in tight spots when compared to everything going well for you but the principle or process is the same as you have mentioned.
it’s also great to know you made a decision that changed your life constructively.
enjoy the rest of the weekend.
p.s. thanks for contributing to this months edition of the life skills magazine i look forward to tempting you for one more article pleaseeeee.
take care
.-= ayo´s last blog ..The Fourth Edition Of The Life Skills Magazine Is Out Now!!! =-.

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Kim May 9, 2010 at 12:43 am

Hi Ayo,

I agree with you — it can be difficult to gather courage in tight spots. Fortunately, we are part of this supportive and encouraging community. As I mentioned to Greg, if it’s possible to be part of the wind at your back, I’m happy to champion your efforts.

I was honored to be with such great company in LSM. I will contact you via FB by Wednesday to confirm my participation for June. Be well.

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Karen May 9, 2010 at 8:36 am

Hi Kim,

Congratulations for finding the courage to branch out on your own. I hope one day to do the same. I know that I have the potential but I’m not quite ready to leave my j-o-b just yet.

I think courage, like many other worthwhile traits, comes with practice. The more we do things that scare us, the more courage we have to face the big challenges in life. We start to believe that we can handle it, no matter what happens. Some things that I thought were so scary in my life (moving to a new city knowing no one, taking a new job, etc) turned out to be not so scary after all. Plus, I developed self-confidence in overcoming my fears and just trusting that I made the right decisions at the right time.

We all are on the same journey but are on different paths and are at different stages.

Thanks for sharing this,
Karen
.-= Karen´s last blog ..Friday’s Links =-.

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Kim May 9, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Hi Karen,

Thank you for your kind words and for sharing some of your story. One of the best tidbits I’ve heard has been, things will change at the precise moment you’re ready. There’s nothing like experiencing situations first hand to really know, that what we thought would be scary, was really our imagination at work. Indeed, the gift is learning self-confidence and trust.

I appreciate your contribution,
Kim

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Karen May 12, 2010 at 10:08 am

You’re so right, Kim.

It will all happen when we are ready so there’s no use pushing yourself in a certain direction if you are not ready to go that way. You can do more harm than good, in that case. But, on the other hand, when you are ready, take the action. Believe in yourself and believe that ‘when the student is ready, the teacher will appear’. Things will happen in your life so that you know you are ready.

Thanks,
Karen
.-= Karen´s last blog ..How to Stop Thinking and Start Doing – Guest Post =-.

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Farouk May 9, 2010 at 11:41 pm

that’s a very important topic Kim, in many cases what prevents people from reaching their goals is not that they don’t know what to do but rather because they fear to do it
.-= Farouk´s last undefined ..If you register your site for free at =-.

Reply

Kim May 11, 2010 at 8:41 am

Welcome Farouk,

Ah yes, you mention the greatest hurdle – fear. Fortunately, there are strategies to overcome our fears and that is part of what makes our work rewarding 🙂

Thank you for stopping by!

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Ben Weston May 10, 2010 at 10:21 am

Hey Kim,

I know I’m glad that you had the courage to pursue your dreams. I wouldn’t have gotten a chance to meet you otherwise! But really, I know what you mean by having your family second guess you. I got the raised eyebrows and the, “Hahaha, circus, no really…” reactions. I still second-guess myself at times.

What helps propel me is knowing that I have the opportunity to turn every daydream I ever had into a reality. I have the ability to make what I used to consider just a mere fantasy, my actual life. And I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m sure you would agree, Kim. =)

Take care,
Ben

Reply

Kim May 11, 2010 at 9:06 am

Hey Ben,

Thank you for the thoughtful and kind words!

It’s natural to second-guess ourselves at times — it’s smart to ‘check in’ once in a while to be sure we’re on the right path. You inspire more people than you realize, in your performances, your relationships, your involvement in personal development… wherever you take your positive mindset 😉

Knowing that you’re living your dreams, brings me joy!

Much appreciated,
Kim

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Hulbert Lee May 10, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Nice post on courage Kim. I liked how you state that the sad truth is the people would rather stay in a bad situation that they are familiar with than going out and trying something new. This is so true as I encounter this a lot when I’m not conscious of what I’m thinking and feeling. Having courage is also about trusting our hearts. Usually that gut feeling I have brings me something good in the end when I go with it, even though the initial feelings that I may feel are uncomfortable. Good job on this subject. Keep it up!
.-= Hulbert Lee´s last blog ..Devotion – Elizabeth Gilbert =-.

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Kim May 11, 2010 at 9:34 am

Hi Hulbert,

It’s not uncommon to have our subconscious kick into autopilot and take us back to familiar territory. The subconscious mind is where our ‘knowns’ are stored and it takes care of us based on our past experiences. Following your instinct and your heart is the best way to go to fulfill your desires.

Always great to have you here 🙂

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Jen Smith May 11, 2010 at 1:25 am

Nicely put Kim and it’s really good to hear about your experiences leaving you j-o-b! 🙂

Reply

Kim May 11, 2010 at 9:39 am

Hey Jen!

Just following my odd ball heart 😉
It’s great to see your smiling face here.
Much appreciated!!

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Dia May 11, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Very nice article Kim. Most people, unfortunately, don’t have the courage to go after their goals and that is one of the main reasons why only 3% of the world’s population achieve their goals. Thanks for sharing 🙂
.-= Dia´s last blog ..Eliminate negative thoughts in 1 easy step =-.

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Kim May 13, 2010 at 8:39 am

Welcome Dia,

I enjoyed the way you re-framed the absence of courage. It leaves us lots of room to experience growth and abundance, doesn’t it?

Thank you for stopping by 🙂

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Faizal Nisar May 11, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Kim, I love the look of your site now. It looks very nice and organized!

Your post is good as always. You continue to write on good topics. Courage is necessary for all success. We all have it, just need to make it come to life!
.-= Faizal Nisar´s last blog ..What is Life? =-.

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Kim May 13, 2010 at 8:48 am

Hi Faizal,

It’s good to see you! I appreciate your kind words. We’re in the perfect realm to continue stepping forward with courage. There’s joy in witnessing our growth.
Be well.

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Mike Roosa May 12, 2010 at 8:14 am

Winston Churchill once said, “Without courage, all other virtues lose their meaning.”

I think we have to be willing to step out of the norm and don’t hold back. Such an awesome message!
.-= Mike Roosa´s last blog ..Forum Marketing Ninja Tip #4 – How May I Help You? =-.

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Kim May 13, 2010 at 8:52 am

Welcome Mike,

‘Stepping out of the norm’ and away from familiarity definitely takes a bit of courage.

Thank you for visiting and contributing 🙂

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Sally Neill May 14, 2010 at 8:54 am

Hi Kim, I really enjoyed reading this post, I have recently took my first step towards my dreams once I finally figured out what they were, thanks for sharing this Sally 🙂
.-= Sally Neill´s last blog ..In It To Win It And Need YOUR Help =-.

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Kim May 15, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Hi Sally,

I’m happy the post resonated with you. Once clarity comes, the next steps fall into place. Thank you for contributing 🙂
Have a beautiful weekend,
Kim

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Marko -- Calm Growth June 3, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Very inspiring….

Your courage represents yourself.

Growth and change comes from action, and action requires courage. Courage will play a large role in everyone’s life. Finally, courage will create your life in what you want it to be.

Great article Kim, I like your blog 🙂
.-= Marko — Calm Growth´s last blog ..The Current State of Personal Development Scene — Part 3 =-.

Reply

Kim June 4, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Welcome Marko!

I appreciate the kind words!

I like the way you framed a need for courage to experience growth.
“Actions speak louder than words.” 🙂

Thank you for stopping by!

Reply

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