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.”
Other Encouragement of the Month Posts to Enjoy: