What does it mean for you to be courageous? The meaning of most things is unique to you. While there is a dictionary definition, or perhaps a cultural understanding, it is almost always more helpful to first understand what ‘a thing’ means to ourselves.
To me, courage means to show up beyond my comfort zone. I did this recently. I shared with a family member that I loved them. While many reading this may not consider this courageous, it was for me. Why? Because it is a sentiment rarely, if ever, shared in my family system. Sure, it’s implied, even embodied, but the words are rarely uttered. For me to utter them took me stepping outside the comfort zone of ‘we don’t say this.’ (aka: courageousness)
So, what does courage mean to you? If you come up blank it can be helpful to consult a few dictionaries to see what you may relate to.
Oxford English Dictionary suggests: the ability to do something dangerous, or to face pain or opposition, without showing fear.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary suggests: the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous.
Dictionary.com suggests: the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.
We can often find something in the ‘root’ of the word. Dictionary.com suggests while obsolete: the heart as the source of emotion.
Finally, from an online etymology dictionary there is this suggestion: Words for "heart" also commonly are metaphors for inner strength. Courage is the source word for heart in many languages.
Courage, combined with the other C’s of Self Leadership we’ve explored so far (compassion, creativity, calmness, connectedness and curiosity) can play an important role in our lives.
Here are some inquiries to uncover the ways you lead your life with courage:
What does courage mean to you?
Where do you find courage in the world around you?
Where in your life has courage shown up?
How can calling in courage help you now?
Stay tuned for next month’s installment when we will cover the 7th of the 8 C’s of Self Leadership. You’re cooking (not one of the c’s) with gas now!
This piece is written by Lisa DiMatteo, PCC a Self Leadership Coach who also specializes in helping humans explore their relationships with money, work & life.