Professional Coach Simon Ekin explains why courage is not an epic quality reserved for great heroes, but rather a product of your own will to succeed.
We are raised in a culture soaked in fear. We are not really expected or required to be courageous. It is completely acceptable that we heed our fears. If we think about it at all, we tend to think of courage as an epic quality more relevant to characters facing make-believe, life-threatening situations in stories and games than it is to our day-to-day lives. These are some of the pervasive myths about courage that are disguised as wisdom to keep us safe; but actually, prevent us from living our best lives.
According to professional coach Simon Ekin, a Teacher of Courage: “Most people don’t think they are courageous. They believe that others are. But the truth is, that all of us were ‘born of courage’, and we all have wells of it that we can draw on over the rest of our lives.”
What is courage?
Do we even understand what courage is? Courage is far from limited to extravagant heroics. “Doing anything outside our comfort zones is courageous,” Simon asserts, “Going for a goal, risking rejection, speaking about something that is really important to us – it’s all courage. In the words of Susan Jeffers: ‘Feeling the fear, and doing it anyway’ epitomizes courage.”
The word courage may spark grand fireworks in our imaginations, but the reality is that courage is actually really effective in small doses. And, courage is often, simple.
For instance, it simply takes courage to say something to a person that you really know should be said – by you to them. But what do we do? Discomfort and fear cause us to rationalize why we can’t say it to them. We’ll hurt their feelings. They won’t understand where we are coming from. We’ll cause conflict. They’ll think I’m an idiot. I can’t say it. So, I bow to fear, believe in my excuses, and probably, instead say what I want to authentically say to someone else – in the form of a complaint against the person or as a dismissal that my idea of being my authentic self in the moment was just a bad one.
What happens then?
Well, that’s how we get to harbouring ill-feelings or nursing frustrations against a boss, a colleague, a friend or our partner because we decided they couldn’t get our message before we even tried to send it. That’s how we end up not getting a pay raise; and how we end up alienating ourselves from our partner; and how we end up shelving wonderful projects that would have allowed us to reveal our unique talents.
That’s how we miss living the best possible version of our lives.
The A, B, C of courage
It takes courage to change that. It’s not epic, and it’s not one grandiose moment. It’s a series of small, day-to-day decisions that move us through fear, discomfort and excuses into a better reality.
Simon breaks it down into his model of the A, B, C of courage:
A – Authenticity What do you need to say or do right now to be your authentic self?
B – Belief What is the limiting belief that stops you from expressing this aspect of your authentic self that you can now realise, and then let go of?
C – Crazy action What small, but significant action can you take right now to move past those limits and act in the interests of your authentic self. Don’t just think about it. Go against the odds that you perceive, and do it. That’s what crazy action means. Take chances. Go beyond your rationalisations and excuses.
When you master the A,B,C of courage in just one aspect of your life, you will see how you can apply it again and again, to greater and greater effect. Courage is simple. It starts with you. It is effective from the moment you take that small step of deciding to be courageous.
Inspiring transformation is what professional coaches seek to do with their clients, whether it be in the area of life goals, business or education. If you feel you have what it takes to be a professional coach, you should consider studying coaching at SACAP. Whether you choose to pursue a career in coaching or not, the skills you develop will only benefit you in the long run. For more information, enquire now.