Thoughtful Thursday: Do You Know What Courage Really Is?

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beach boatsPeople may look to you and say that you have courage for wanting travel the world.  Whether you’re overcoming travel roadblocks or have been delaying your passport application, when you finally decide to take that leap of faith and become a world traveler, does that mean you have more courage than someone else?

This week’s Thoughtful Thursday explores what courage really is and how YOU can be the most courageous person to yourself!

Guest Blog Post by Christine Hassler

You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose the sight of the shore.” Christopher Columbus

Courage. It’s a desirable quality to have and an empowering way to be. Our heroes and inspirational leaders are labeled courageous.  We are told throughout our life to “be courageous,” but that isn’t always easy. In fact, courage is often one of the most difficult qualities to truly integrate.

Why is being courageous not as easy to embody as the heroes make it look in the movies?  There are two main reasons.  First, being courageous means being willing to face fear and embrace uncertainty.  YIKES! We don’t like being scared or not knowing what is ahead.  Second, most of us do not truly understand what courage really means.

Think of something that you are scared to do. Perhaps it’s a conversation you are nervous to have, a job change you are afraid to make, or a relationship you are terrified to leave.  You are feeling fear, hoping that one day you will feel courageous enough to finally do it (whatever your “it” is).  You don’t like not knowing what is on the other side of a choice.  In fact, it is petrifying.  Staying in the known, however undesirable it may be, feels a lot cozier.

But what are you waiting for? Some miraculous moment when all of a sudden you don’t feel scared? A sign from the Uni-verse that gives you more certainty? Sorry to break it to you, but that is not the way courage is developed.

Courage is feeling fear and moving forward anyway.  So if you are waiting for fear to disappear before you take an action or make a choice, you are going to be waiting indefinitely.  You are allowing fear to paralyze you.  You are mentally strategizing the perfect scenario in your head that feels “safe” enough before you take action.

Stop waiting for the perfect conditions to arise. Stop waiting to not feel scared.  Feel the fear and do it anyway – THEN, and only then, you will experience true courage.

Courage is NOT the absence of fear; it is acting in spite of fear.

You become more courageous when you choose to confront fear, pain, perceived danger, uncertainty or intimidation.  You embody courage when you move forward even in the face of opposition or discouragement.

I remember in my Spiritual Psychology program at The University of Santa Monica, my teacher, Ron Hulnick, once shared a story about Napoleon, the powerful military and political leader during the French Revolution.  Somewhere in history an interview is documented with him where he was asked how he fearlessly led his troops into battle. His response (and I’m paraphrasing) was that he was absolutely terrified but did not allow that to stop him.  That is courage.

Want to be a hero? How about a leader?  Then you must be willing to face the fear and uncertainty in your life. And I’m just not talking about running into burning buildings to save people.  Heroes and leaders speak their Truth and take actions that are aligned with Love.  People who are courageous are willing to honor the calling of their hearts even when, and especially when, it feels scary.

The root of the work courage is “cor” which is the Latin word for heart.  Did you know that courage originally meant to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart?  That’s been my experience of courage.  When people hear my story, particularly the part about leaving my successful career and later ending a marriage that I knew in my heart wasn’t right for either of us, they often acknowledge my strength.  I don’t see myself as strong, but rather as having strength of heart. I was TERRIFIED but I did it anyway.  And now I actually understand what this desirable and empowering quality of courage is all about.

Are you ready to truly embody courage?

You don’t have to be fearless to be a leader and a hero in your own life.  Face your fear and move forward anyway.  Do not stall anymore hoping for the right conditions or clarity.  Move forward.  Speak up. Take an action.  Care less about what other people think.  What do YOU think?

What are you waiting for?

You are only denying yourself the experiences your heart is longing for. You are much braver than you give yourself credit for.  Whatever the internal or external battle is going on in your life, it’s time to fight for the change you crave.  The sign that you are waiting for from Universe is that longing in your heart. Stop waiting for a Universal green light. Trust that as you move forward, the Spirit’s got your back.

You will be victorious!!!!

Don’t just listen to your heart . . . honor it by being courageous.



“Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes. ” Maggie Kuhn

“The greatest mistake is life is to be continually fearing that you will make one.” Elbert Hubbard

About the Author:

Christine Hassler left her successful job as a Hollywood agent at 25 to pursue a life she could be passionate about…but it did not come easily. After being inspired by her own unexpected challenges and experiences, she realized her journey was indeed her destination. In 2005, she wrote the first guide book written exclusively for young women, entitled 20 Something 20 Everything. Christine’s second book, The 20 Something Manifesto written for men and women stems from her experience coaching twenty-something’s.

Today, she supports individuals as a Life Coach helping clients discover the answers to the questions: “Who Am I, What do I want, and How do I get it?” As a professional speaker, Christine leads seminars and workshops to audiences around the country. She has spoken to over 10,000 college students as well as to conferences and corporations about generational diversity. Christine has appeared as an expert on The Today Show, CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX, E!, Style and PBS, as well as various local television and radio shows, speaking about life issues and “Expectation Hangovers®” – a phenomenon she identified and trademarked.

Christine is the spokesperson for Zync from American Express and the key resource for their Quarterlife Program which empowers young people to take control of their finances. She also created a life balance curriculum for the Leadership Institute and is a member of Northwestern University’s Council of 100.

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