Nearly every time I sit down to write the Encouragement of the Month post, I begin the month with an idea of what I want to say.
More times than not though, a word or a phrase I never anticipated writing about quietly weaves its way through the month like a ribbon, all but forcing me to address it.
This month, the word courage has been popping up everywhere.
Recent examples of cultivating courage…
Just a few weeks ago one of my sisters (also a small business owner) said she wished she could sign up for a retreat to get some clarity and white space.
One of my blogging buddies who hardly ever takes a break, paused for a week to get back on track after a busy spring season and said it was life-giving.
I finally started taking a writing class I had been putting off for far too long.
Several of my friends felt challenged by the amount of time they spend on social media and are ready to make a change.
Another finally accepted her child needs more help than she can give him by herself.
One is being interviewed by a major news network to share her husband’s COVID fight.
Some are finding out how hard it is to be a caregiver for an aging loved one while balancing a full-time job and a full-time family.
One is so frustrated by the current social justice climate she’s gone from ally to activist.
Another has decided to stop dying her hair and embrace her silvery strands earlier than expected.
None of these people would consider themselves courageous by the world’s standards. They are not facing cancer every day or saving people from burning buildings or working on the front lines of the pandemic.
Yet every day they move past their dreams and into a plan of action by showing up.
A call to courage…
Whether you’ve noticed it or not, every day we face situations that call us to courage.
It can be as simple as walking during lunch to form healthier self-care habits or as bold as saying no, setting boundaries, and walking away.
I think sometimes we forget courage is almost like a muscle we can develop and practice. After all, you only learn to swim by actually swimming.
Courage does not have to be a grand gesture.
Rather, a small act of bravery we chose to perform daily in the way we show up for ourselves and our loved ones.
While it’s easy to acknowledge valor and strength under stressful or noteworthy circumstances, most of the time, it’s the seemingly mundane events in our lives that require true courage.
Change can be incredibly difficult.
In the end, though, it’s the small courageous modifications and the quiet transformations, we make each day that give us the biggest opportunity for beneficial and lasting change.
Here are a few ways to practice courage each day…
- Make a plan and take action (even a small step forward is a step in the right direction)
- Stop doing those things you know *deep down* are not serving you well.
- Spring clean your habits and your daily routine (start from scratch if you have to!)
- Learn to turn your obstacles into opportunities (you don’t have to do everything at once, address the problem with a bite-size and manageable solution)
- Let go (so hard, I know, but so worth it)
- Respond to situations out of your control and the expectations of others with purpose
- Bless or encourage someone else
Practical ways to include courageous acts in daily life…
- Say yes to something new (like a class, hobby, food, friendship, book club, store, color, style or size, exercise routine, etc.)
- Say no, set boundaries, and stick to them
- Gift yourself white space to think, dream or relax (even if you must pencil it in your calendar)
- Travel to a place you’ve never been before (even if it’s playing tourist in your own town)
- Say thank you (it’s ok if someone wants to randomly bless you, give you a compliment, or help without being asked – you don’t need an explanation – receive it in love)
- Track your habits (that way you’ll know what is working for you and what is not if you don’t already)
- Ask for what you need
- Stop waiting for “someday”
- Say I love you
- Say you’re sorry
- Decide you can
- Make a plan
- Take action
Cultivating a life of courage doesn’t happen overnight.
It takes a conscious effort to choose differently every single day. Even when it seems scary, difficult, or uncomfortable.
One of my favorite quotes by Winston Churchill says, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Cheering you on as you move forward with purpose and courage! Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
Other Encouragement of the Month Posts to Enjoy:
I love this post! I move forward everyday even though MS is a challenge.
I look at the glass half full instead of half empty.
I have so many blessings in my life. I have a wonderful husband. He has never wavered with my illness.
I could go on and on but won’t.
Great post again
I think about how you walk with courage every single day, Cindy! How you keep creating and sharing your talents with us while dealing with MS. I know it’s not always easy but you’re a true testament to keeping the faith and doing what you love most. We’re lucky to have your gifts! Hugs, CoCo
I really enjoyed reading this. Sometimes the obvious just isn’t obvious and sometimes courage does take practice. Thank you so much for mapping this all out. I was glad to see your practical ways to include courage in your day.
Such sweet and kind words, Maria, thank you so much! I really appreciate it. Hugs, CoCo
One of your very best!! Thank you!
That means so much, Joyce, thank you – thank you – thank you! Hugs, CoCo
Thanks so much for such a thought-provoking post! Wow, such a lot to think about!
All the best, Vee
You are so sweet, Vee, thank you! I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the things I want to hold onto as we move from one season to the next. Courage is not always easy but it’s exciting to know we can practice small steps of bravery every single day. Sending you lots of hugs,CoCo
This was such an AMAZING post, CoCo! I seriously had to bookmark it so I can incorporate your list more into my life. You are such a profound and talented writer and are so wise for your young years. Thank you!
You’re so sweet, Christine, thank you so much for your sweet and kind words. I really appreciate them. I know it’s not always easy cultivating courage, especially, given our busy lives but I know if we’re willing to take even the smallest step – it will make a difference. Cheering you on, CoCo
I love this post and the whole idea that you’re doing them monthly. You’ve given me a new idea. I’ve wanted to incorporate some Pondering posts, but don’t want the pressure to do them too often. Monthly sounds do-able. Always enjoy hearing more of your heart:) And yea…that social justice thing:( I’m so there. Thanks, friend!
So excited these posts resonate with you, Lora! I know you’re also an introvert and completely understand how terrifying it can be to do what extroverts feel are very basic things. You always share such great ideas so I can’t wait to see what you have in mind with your Pondering posts. I know they’ll be amazing! Cheering you on and big hugs, CoCo
Beautifully said Coco and a wonderful reminder <3
I really appreciate it, Lisa, thank you so much! Sending you lots of hugs, CoCo
So much to think about – and exactly what I needed to read this week. Thank you – and enjoy your weekend!
So excited this post resonated with you, Shelley! I know courage comes in all different shapes and sizes so every step forward deserves to be celebrated. Cheering you on for a courageous week, CoCo
Great post. A book of daily readings I love has a quote, ” Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” False Evidence Appearing Real used to keep me paralyzed by inaction. No more! Even if it is only baby steps!
I’m writing that in my gratitude journal right now, Kathy, thank you so much for sharing the quote with me – I love it! Baby steps are my favorite kind of steps because they don’t come with all the pressure that big steps come with. Plus, they really start adding up and before you know it you’ll be celebrating all kinds of progress. Sending you hugs and cheering you on, CoCo
Coco, You’ve helped me come to a decision to get on and do something that’s been on my ‘someday’ list. I was meant to read your post today so thank you for having the courage to write and share your wise words with us! Hugs to you!
You’re making me all kinds of teary, Jayne, thank you so much. I’m happy to help or encourage in any way I can. I know it’s not always easy to take the first step, to take action, or even decide you can sometimes, but the effort is always worth it! Cheering you on and sending you hugs for the journey, CoCo
This is a beautiful post CoCo. I especially love the idea of spring cleaning my daily routine. That in itself can take courage – to really look at my routine, see what is working and what isn’t, and then change it. I have been telling myself that I need to change my ‘first thing in the morning’ routine. Thanks for sharing this inspiration and your images a lovely!!
Thank you so much, Cindy! Spring cleaning your daily routine definitely takes courage. I think just being aware of what is working and what is not working, then having the courage to change and make adjustments is really brave too. More times than not, our morning routine sets the tone for the rest of our day so it’s really exciting to know we have the power to craft it in a way that works best for us. Cheering you on as you make changes, CoCo
You are a treasure, Miss CoCo….. a courageous treasure.. XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO
Such sweet and thoughtful words, Susie, thank you so much! Big hugs, CoCo
I love this post! Several things you’ve mentioned, I have done this past year. I’ve let my hair go grey. I’ve started writing a book. Several other things on the list. Thanks for making me see that it all does take courage!!
This is so exciting to read, Sharon! Several of my friends (all in their 40s) are letting their hair grow gray naturally and it’s really pretty. I love that you’re writing a book too. I can’t wait to hear all about your experience. Cheering you on as you continue to heed the call to courage, CoCo
I found this post through KariAnne’s Thistlekeeping – and it is fabulous. As we get older and as our lives evolve – it seems we need more courage than ever. Whether it’s accepting ourselves and our bodies as they age, pursuing our passions, setting boundaries for our families/jobs, coping with illness . . . – courage is a skill we need to continue to cultivate. Thank you for writing what you believe and for what speaks to so many of us.
I will definitely be cultivating courage in the next year. I will start by taking a walk at lunch today.