We’re moving into 2021…a year that holds as many unknowns as 2020. It could be great…or at midnight, 2021 might say to 2020, “Here, hold my beer. Let me show you how you really mess things up!!” Who knows. But it sure makes you introspective! And as I was thinking about the new year of life on earth and of my business, I wanted to celebrate by looking at why I chose courage as the focus of my podcast, and as the tagline for my speaking business.
It’s because life is tough. Life is scary! Life is full of unknowns and obstacles and trauma, and then you’ve got your brain and that internal voice of fear and self-protection reminding you of everything that can go wrong. And people die, and we get hangovers and we get stuck in traffic and delicious leftovers grow mold and you step in gum and have to talk to strangers, and eat kale. There is so much that’s hard about life. If you want to do anything, it takes courage. Heck, if you want to leave the couch, it takes courage! As Jeremy said in episode 103, it takes great courage to get out of bed in the morning, because we know what COULD Happen.
A few years ago as I was zeroing in on my business focus and mission, I was trying to think about what I do, what really lights my soul on fire, as a speaker, as a trainer, in my past lives as a teacher and a fitness instructor, and as a human in general, I realized that I want to make people more courageous. In order to do that, we need to normalize fear! Everyone needs to understand that we’re all in the same boat, terrified and wondering if we’re doing the right thing, and whether this next gamble is going to work out. Whether it’s all going to fall down around us. We’re not alone in our fear. That’s step one.
Now that we know we aren’t alone in the absolute disaster that we feel like we are sometimes, we have to understand that to move forward, we have to get uncomfortable. To leave a relationship that isn’t working, or to stay and work on that relationship. To have the tough conversation, or jump out of a plane to deal with our fear of heights. To reach out and ask for help. To start a business, start a podcast, move to a new town, go to college, say hi to a cute boy across the room, or to go out to a restaurant in a virus ridden world. Everyone has their own fears, and in order to live a full and fulfilling life, we have to get uncomfortable. We have to face some of those fears so we can get better, and stronger and it’s an ugly process. It’s not easy, comfortable, fun or efficient most of the time….but it’s worth it. It’s so totally and completely worth it….eventually.
So that’s why I chose to create a business around igniting courage. My first focus in that is on dealing with change. Change is hard, but it ain’t going away, and having moved 24 times to 4 continents, having attended 13 different schools from K to Masters, 2 marriages, 6 careers and god knows how many hairdos, I have a unique perspective on change, and the real, honest understanding of what it takes to go through it, whether you picked it, or not, it’s hard both ways! So I ignite people’s courage to deal with change, and boy has that come in handy this year!
My second favorite topic is emotional intelligence. This is a quiet courage, to accept people for who they are, even if they’re different than you, have different opinions, deal with situations differently, communicate differently. To treat everyone around you the way you’d want to be treated takes some serious courage and vulnerability, but studies have showed that people with high emotional intelligence are happier, and do better in their careers and their lives. I know I’d sure rather be around someone who is emotionally intelligent!
In a close third is my talk on having difficult conversations. (which you’ve got to have emotional intelligence for) I’m not afraid of the usual stuff. I love flying and snakes. I’ll pick up a spider to put it outside with no problem. I’ll change jobs like I change my socks (though I think I’ve found a pretty amazing one for now!) I’ll jump out of a plane, ride a dirt bike through the woods, I love public speaking, and heck, I’ll eat pretty much anything. That stuff doesn’t scare me. Having difficult conversations terrifies me, and I have to umph up a lot of courage to do it. Because of this, I took it upon myself to learn how to do it, and I’ve seen the positive results in so many ways from people who work for me, to people I work for, and the one I live with and am the closest to. I still have to work up the courage, but I’ve got the skills now, and I love sharing them with other people. To be able to actually solve problems in a relationship is astoundingly rewarding, and the depth of trust and respect that can result is amazing. I want other people to have that.
Lastly is leadership. To lead in a way that people WANT to follow you in an intrinsically motivated way is an amazing ability, but it too takes courage. It takes all three of the things I just talked about, the ability to take on a lead through change and the emotional intelligence to deal with people and have tough conversations! Positive leaders change people’s lives, but it takes courage, and I want to ignite people’s skills, then confidence, so they can summon the courage to be that influential leader when the time comes whether they’re in the C Suite or the broom closet, everyone can be a massively influential leader. .
So that’s the scoop! Why courage? Because people think it’s a characteristic you are born with, and that’s not true. It’s a daily decision. People also think you can live fearlessly and that’s what courage is. No, that’s not courage. Without fear you don’t have courage. Fear comes when you care about the outcome. Fear comes when the stakes are high. Fear means it matters, and that’s awesome. That’s meaningful. You just can’t let the fear stop you.
So as my amazing Grandpeggy used to say, ONWARD! Life is scary, but you’re way stronger than you think. WALK ON my friends. Choose courage even when you’re uncomfortable. And if you need a boost, pop on over to Igniting Courage Podcast, and you’ll realize that you’re not the only one bumbling through it, and you CAN do it. Then go do it.