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Be brave, have courage, be you

Sondra Smith Published on 24 November 2015

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”

—Winston Churchill

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At the invigorating age of 10, I met my first love. Back then, I remember many of my friends spending their time learning the ropes of hair and makeup and how to “be a woman.” But not me. I was head-over-heels for a tall, handsome dude with four long legs.

He was 16 hands tall, sorrel in color, with white socks up to his knees and a blaze down his face. His name was King, and he was gorgeous. In every way, shape and form, I wanted him to be mine. What I didn’t know then was: That animal would have a huge part in shaping who I would become as an adult.

It wasn’t just about show earnings, blue ribbons and trophies; King taught me about life. He taught me something that sticks in my mind almost 20 years later. He taught me what it meant to be courageous.

So here’s my question for you and the basis of the next few paragraphs … If you had all the courage in the world, what would be possible in your life? What would you go after? Would you start a business? Or would you stop holding yourself back in your business and take it up a notch?

Would you quit caring what others think? Would you finally make that investment? What if you could just stop thinking and just do? That is courage, my friends. Courage isn’t always a feeling; in fact, most of the time it is not a feeling but rather a decision.

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Did you know that achieving success is really only 15 percent skill and 85 percent guts? Let me repeat. Did you know that achieving success is really only 15 percent skill and 85 percent courage?

How often do we get caught up on the how to’s or the right verbiage, the precise system or what’s supposed to be “correct”? If we are all honest with ourselves for a moment, the words “bravery” and “courage” are not common in today’s language, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be said.

Have you ever thought what your world would be like if you had just an extra ounce or two of courage? Did you ever think that you are called to be courageous?

Remember King? One of the many life lessons he taught me occurred the very first time I finally was able to ride him. You see, my dad and I had a deal. In his opinion – and he was probably right – King was too much horse for a young girl such as myself. He could have been too big, too powerful and, frankly, too smart.

But I was determined. Has anyone ever told you “no,” and they thought you would just move on, but really having them tell you that little word made you want it even more? Yep. That was me. I didn’t have a ton of experience, but I had all I needed: guts.

Dad promised me that King would be mine if I was not only able to catch him, saddle and bridle him all by myself – but then ride him down our mile-long road and back alone. Was I scared? Yep. Did I get frustrated? Yep. Did I want to give up? Absolutely. But if I hadn’t had the courage to overcome my fear and do it anyway, I would never have shown that horse for 11 great years.

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Here is my point, folks; there will always be things in our lives, and especially in our businesses, that scare us. But have you ever thought that what you want is just on the other side of that fear? Grab a pen and buckle up, ladies and gents; I want to leave you with three ways to activate the dormant courage in your own life:

  • First and foremost, you must have a purpose to what you want to achieve; it’s the why behind the what. Clarity fuels courage. Having a clear reason for what you are setting out to do will keep you on the road to bravery when things get a little shaky. Check yourself: Does everything in your schedule point you in the direction of your goal?

  • Second: Make a plan. Map it out. And break it down. When trouble arises, it’s a lot easier to crush fear when you are on a planned path. In the words of Zach Anner, “Why run if you don’t know where you are going …?” Why work on your business if you aren’t sure where it’s heading?

  • Third: Surround yourself with people who know your potential. Have you ever heard the phrase, “We become like those top five people we hang around most”? Look at your recent call list, your text messages and emails, who is getting your time and whose time are you getting. It is essential to have those five people in your corner who can push, stretch and challenge you to be your best.

Courage is a decision, and it’s yours to make. I think Christopher Robin said it best when he told Winnie the Pooh, “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”  PD

Sondra Smith is a business coach with ARISE Business Coaching.

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