Practice Three: Find Someone to Fight For
We will do more for others than for ourselves. And in doing something for others, we find our reason for courage, and our cause for focus and excellence.
Each of the highest performing people I interviewed told me about someone who inspired him to excel. They all had a reason, and that reason was often a person, not always a purpose or a group of people. Most often, just one person. Sometimes, it was more than one: their kids, their employees, their extended family, their community’s need. But more often than not, it was just one.
Sometimes, courage appears to be a spontaneous act. But what I have found is that it’s usually an expression or action built up from years of caring deeply about something or someone. So begin seeking things and people you care about. Give. Care deeply about something now. Stand up for something now. And then you will be more likely to find courage when it matters.
- A courageous action I will take this week because someone I love needs me to take it is …
- Another courageous action I will take this week, because a cause I believe in needs me to take it, is …
- Another courageous action I will take this week, because my dream requires it of me, is …
Courage Through Complexity
Just as the universe doesn’t become less complex, life doesn’t tend to get easier. But you get stronger. You learn to show up more, cope better, and be truer and more conscious amid the judgement and hardship. Soon, the obstacles do begin to seem smaller and the path seems more your own. So no matter what happens, trust in yourself and lean forward. The next level opens after your next courageous step.
And here’s what I’ve learned: For most people, courageous acts are indeed rare events. But we remember those acts, and they shape our sense of ourselves and our lives as much as the small stuff. And so I ask you to consider the questions below often, to ready your mind for even more courage. Only by conditioning ourselves now will we truly serve with grace and courage when called.
- What in my personal life have I avoided doing, which might involve hardship but just might improve my family’s lives forever?
- What could I do at work that would require stepping out on a limb but would also truly change things for the better and help people?
- What decision could I make that would demonstrate a moral commitment to something higher than myself?
- How could I bring myself to face a situation that usually makes me nervous or anxious?
- What change could I make that scare me but will help someone I love?
- What good thing could I walk away from to advance my life?
- What have I wanted to say to those close to me, and when and how will I courageously declare that truth?
- Who needs me, and who will I fight for the rest of this year?
These questions might spur some brave thinking and action today. Ask them enough, and practice the habits in this chapter, and you’ll come to this truth: Deep down, away from all the noise, where love blankets your heart and your dreams lie in wait, you are not afraid.