Episode 7: Courage – The Key Ingredient to Personal Growth

Monday, Monday, Monday, wow, what a wonderful weekend. I hope everyone had a great weekend. I’m sitting on the beach at Amelia Island, Florida enjoying the waves crashing on the sand, I’m sitting here with the breeze blowing through my hair. And I am just thankful to the good Lord for these opportunities in life that I can enjoy life to its fullest. And today we’re going to take a few minutes of your time, set the tone for your week, so that you can enjoy your week at its fullest.

Today I want to talk to you, just briefly, about an important fact of life. That we need to have an attribute called courage. This to me is how you can grow any area of your life, if you have the courage to do so. First and foremost, Winston Churchill, my favorite historical person, had this to say about courage, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.” You know, I want to make certain today that you don’t leave this podcast with the thought of, hey I’ve got to be doing things that put my life in danger. That’s not the type of courage that I want to speak with you about today. I want to speak with you about tackling some of those things that are in our mind that we have told ourself that we can never accomplish. That we didn’t have the capabilities, that we don’t have the unique ability to conquer. I’ve got news for you, you do have the ability, you’ve got courage within you, I’m going to give you examples of how to accomplish this today.

First and foremost, how do we show courage in your everyday life? I’m going to give you three examples of ways that you can show courage in your everyday life, being you. Yeah, just be you. First, be yourself. Don’t imitate others. You do you. No one else can be a better you than you. Be an original. You know, God made us all unique, be that unique person. You know, it’s not a bad thing to learn from others. And emulate some of their activities by adapting it to your own life. But don’t imitate them. You know I often have speeches I listen to and I just love the way they’ll present something. But you know, I’ve got to do me. I want to be a better, bolder, bigger me in terms of my impact on others. So I have to take whatever I listen to, and I want them to understand I want to be a better me. So you be yourself.

The second way to show courage in your everyday life is to own your mistakes. Now I hear ya, this is a tough one for all of us. But we must own our mistakes if we’re going to show courage and improve the way we function around people in the future. You know this is a hard task. I find this one probably to be one of the most challenging tasks that I deal with. None of us likes to make mistakes. But we all do. We’re only human, I believe is the statement we always make when we, when a big mistake is made. That comment is the only way that we can rationalize through the mistake. “I’m only human, is why I did this or did that”. Or better, why I didn’t do this or didn’t do that is often the excuse. But owning your mistakes allows you to take a moment in time, recognize what the activity was or what you did, and your actions to create this mistake. Own up to it, move forward, this is the first step toward getting a courageous approach to this action or activity. You have to move forward by owning your mistakes.

The third area to show courage in your everyday life is to take responsibility for where you are in life today. You know, if your finances aren’t where you want them to be, take responsibility for it, it’s your fault. No one makes you spend money that you don’t want to spend. Well, I understand what you’re about to say, taxes are one thing we don’t have a choice in the United States that we have to pay. I understand that, but that is a very small price to pay for all the liberties and freedoms we enjoy in this great country. So I want you to change your attitude toward taxes, considering the fact that you have the right to pay those taxes that help you drive on better streets, eat higher quality food, have public safety that’s being provided to those when homes that are being burnt. Police are on the streets, this is a real positive purpose and why we pay taxes at our state and federal levels. So just take responsibility for where you are. If your finances aren’t where you want them to be, seek out a competent advisor. Seek out someone that is an investment advisor that can help you manage your cash flow. That helps you start a savings plan. Get your finances where you wish them to be. So your marriage is lacking affection and lack of respect? It’s your fault. Take ownership of these circumstances and improve that situation. When’s the last time you said a complimentary word to your spouse? When’s the last time your significant other heard the words, I love you? Just because? When’s the last time you ordered flowers and sent them to your significant other? For no reason other than to say, I’m thankful you’re in my life. That is how you take ownership and courage. You take responsibility for the relationship and your contribution to it. You know, it is always our fault when things don’t occur in the manner we wish they would. To often though, the smaller, less courageous person will look for excuses and blame, but that’s not what we do. That’s not what you’re going to do. Starting today, you’re going to take responsibility for where you are in your life. If your career isn’t where you want it to be, take responsibility. Seek out opportunities to enhance your skills. Seek out opportunities to grow in the responsibilities of your current position or even the most courageous of moves, find that passion that really drives you, that pushes you forward to be the largest impact you could be on those around you in a positive manner. Start your own entrepreneurial business, if that’s where your passion lies. But remember it’s your fault if you’re staying in a position that does not provide you adequate income, doesn’t fulfill you as a professional, or a person that has a goal in life to achieve certain things, in professional terms. It’s your fault. Don’t settle for least capable, settle for most challenging. You know, my mentor Jim Rohn had a statement, “Don’t wish that things were easier, just wish that you were better.” If your spiritual life is not where you want it to be, I can assure you it is your fault. You know, there’s a lot of things in the past that we can’t reconcile, a lot of things in our past that we can’t change, obviously. I have a quote I tell a lot of clients. They come into our office and they’ve got themselves in quite a mess, their finances are not where they need to be. They’ve got too much debt, they’ve not been saving for their future, and they just come in with this hopeless look in their eye and I just try to give them this hope of the future, but we first have to recognize we are where we are today by the habits and functions we used yesterday. Today is a new day. We change the way we perform, we change our success habits. Those small things you do each day to create a more successful future. So by changing these few habits that cause this problem, it allows us then to move forward and build the bigger future that we desire. You can only grow as a person and move forward once you acknowledge you have responsibility for where you are today. So these three ways of showing courage in your everyday life sound simple, but you know, the complex made simple is the easiest way to understand it. It doesn’t necessarily mean these actions are simple to put in place. But be yourself. Number two, own your mistakes. And number three, take responsibility for where you are in your life.

I’m going to tell you a story about a lady named Claire. This story is basically where you find courage to do the right thing. You see, despite having a large, loving family, Claire had always focused on herself. Her problems were more important than her siblings, her successes were more important. Everything was more important. That wasn’t the way she was raised, her mother had always put everyone in the family before herself and had tried to teach all of her kids to always do what was right. Even if it meant sacrificing something that you want. Well, at age 34 Claire was set up to get her dream job, working as a reporter at a popular news station in Los Angeles. She lived in North Carolina, but had already sold her house in preparation for this move, because she was so certain that she was going to get the job. You see, that took courage on Claire’s part. She went to visit her father before she left for her final interview. Her mother, who had always been her biggest supporter, had died a few years earlier. As she visited her father, she told him about how nervous she was to go for the final interview. What if she screwed up, what if they didn’t like her anymore? Her nerves were working her up into a frenzy. Her father stopped her in mid-sentence and said, “You will do great. Do you want to know why? Because you are a lot like your mother. And your mother did great at everything she attempted.” Claire pictured her mother, the most supportive and loving person she’d ever met. For the first time in a long time she took a long hard look at herself. An awareness was awoken in her. Her mother, in her eyes, was kind, compassionate, always supportive. Was she really like her mother? She had never really thought about it before, but a resounding no came into her mind. She didn’t even know what her father or siblings were struggling with right now because she was so focused on herself. Suddenly, Claire felt a great amount of shame. She left for the airport with a lot more to think about than her new job. An hour before boarding the plane, her sister, whose husband had recently passed away from cancer, called her to wish her luck. Still thinking about what her father had said, she listened to her sister in a way she had never listened to her before. Proactively listening. She asked her questions about her kids, and her life, she asked her how she was coping with the loss of her spouse. Her sister broke down crying and admitted that she was overwhelmed and that she wasn’t doing well at all. She could barely keep up the house. She was having a hard time going to appointments, and getting the kids to their activities. She had no desire to cook, clean, or do the things she used to love to do. Claire ended the conversation with her sister just before boarding the airplane started. She thought about what her father had said to her. She thought about her mother and how she would not have given it a second thought to go take care of her sister in such a trying time of her life. She thought about how she spent her whole life looking out for number one. And then she made the decision to be more like her mom and take care of what really matters in life. She made a decision to be courageous. She left the airport, took a taxi to her sister’s and spent the next few months living with her sister, and helping her maintain her house, take care of her kids and cope with the loss of her husband. You see, Claire found the courage to do what was right. Because of her mother and the respect she had for her mother. She knew that her mother would give up anything to take care of what really matters in life. And that’s her family. She remembered her mother being happy, happier than Claire had ever been, and she realized that doing what was right brought on a type of happiness that looking out for number one could never bring. Claire never regretted her decision. She and her sister grew closer than she had ever been with a sibling. She learned a lot about herself and how much better she felt about herself as she focused on more than just her life. And she became a better reporter because of it. She ended up getting her dream job, easily, later that year. You see, doing what’s right takes a lot of courage. Setting aside the goals of ourselves and helping others is the best way we can grow in our courage and build a better life.

So the challenge for this week, I want you to identify one area of your life, just one, that you need to find the courage to improve or overcome. Remember, the best method of defeating fear is to start running toward it. And that sounds really crazy, but think about it. In WWII, on the beaches of Normandy, pinned down by German fire of large caliber artillery. The troops started unloading from the carriers, facing machine gunfire and blasts from all these weapons, what did they do? Did they stand on the beach, no, their leaders were yelling at them. Run up the beach, run toward the shore. By doing so, thousands lost their lives, but eventually, with courage, the beach was overtaken. This was the first step for those poor boys that happened to be at Normandy. That horrific scene of bodies floating in the ocean as they left the carrier just to be immediately mowed down by machine gun fire took courage. And when the day was done and the courage had been expended, and yes the price had been paid in full by some, as they say, that some gave all that day, success was had by the courage dispensed in the face of fear. They ran toward fear.

You see, you have courage in you to live a life by your design, go out in your world today, be yourself, own your mistakes, and take responsibility for where you are in life. I promise you a bigger, better, bolder you is waiting to come out.

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