Be Your Authentic Self.
Webster’s defines courage as mental or moral strength, and courage comes from the Old French word corage, meaning heart and spirit. So, it has little to do with society’s label of physical bravado.
It’s something that originates within you, at the core of your being. Awareness of this untapped reservoir of empowerment enables you to direct the energy of your personal courage to produce dramatic, positive change.
You manifest your courage in 12 ways—such as you affirm your strength and determination, you confront abuse, you work through and conquer your fear, you embrace your faith/spirituality, you hurdle obstacles, you take risks, and you live your convictions.
You can claim your courage by recognizing your innate courage and claiming it as your own. Your courage is reflected in your refusal to play it safe, dodge discomfort, or hedge your bets.
Courage: Hitting the Bull’s-Eye
Hitting the bull’s-eye means being on target. English longbow yeomen in small hamlets often held archery practice after church services. A common target was the white skull of a bull, and the aim was to hit the bull’s eye.
Before practicing the skills needed to hit the bull’s-eye in your life and work, you need to know that you’re aiming at the right target—then act with courage.
Acting with courage is about acting from the heart. Everything outside the bull’s-eye represents a different aspect of the false self-stories, such as “I could never be like that”! By accessing your courage, you take aim at the true target.
Are you on target? It may take years for you to find the courage to act from your heart—the place where self-acceptance lives—and express your true identity, thus revealing your authenticity. Your courage is alive in your original self. The word authentic is derived from Greek authentikos, meaning “original.”
Learn to live from the inside—the bull’s eye of your true being. Skilled archers pause breathing before releasing the arrow. The pause enables you to have goals yet stay present to adapt as needed.
You become courageous by being courageous, hitting the bull’s-eye more often.
How can you increase your accuracy? Here are three bull’s-eye strategies:
- Determine why you are living off target. If you seldom hit the bull’s-eye, you may be focusing on negative external factors rather than listening to the affirmation of your heart. As you gain a healthier perspective about who you are, you limit off-target shots that keep you from leading with your courage.
- Enhance your accuracy with meditation. Learn to reflect so that you live from the core of your true being. Meditation can reveal your motivations and awaken your courage.
- Start to underscore your bull’s eyes— your defined behavioral competencies,
times when you feel energized about your life and work. Discover the joy of living from your courage.
The Authentic Swing
We find ourselves in a predicament—a national defining moment—when we all must step up and claim our courage. How do we unite to find the courage?
Courageous people often sacrifice and forgo immediate satisfaction by taking risks and hurdling obstacles to achieve a long-range goal. They identify, claim, and apply the original definition of courage, meaning “heart and spirit.” When a situation requires them to “step up” and display authenticity, they do!
In the movie The Legend of Bagger Vance, wise caddie, Bagger Vance, teaches a troubled golfer how to reach deep inside and find his “authentic swing.” He says: “This is the authentic swing you were born with—the authentic swing is all that you are! You’re just caught up with life’s ‘ought’s and should’s’.” The heart’s message is about having the courage to examine yourself.
We are in a time of second-guessing ourselves, reacting with knee-jerk reactions. Courage is a spiritual energy from the heart that in defining moments motivates you to take action. Using courage as an ally means bundling a combination of courageous actions, such as learning, persisting to be mindful of defining moments, and being 100 percent accountable for choices. Often, missed opportunities won’t be seen again.
Without courage, other virtues—such as grace and humility—struggle to find their place. Courage is the umbrella to all the other virtues. Don’t let anyone else design your life!
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