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    Finding courage in challenging times

    hikers finding courage

    The past few months have been the strangest of times, haven’t they? I don’t think any of us could have anticipated that after drought, bushfire and flooding, we would find ourselves where we are right now. 2020 will certainly be a year etched in history and embedded in each of our individual life stories. There has never been a more important time to build resilience and find courage.

    It’s been a difficult and even devastating time for so many people. The challenges ahead are still somewhat unknown but I feel hopeful that the world will be a more considerate and caring place once all of this is over.

    I’ve heard so many stories of kindness and courage that it has me thinking, there’s never been a better time to create positive change in our lives. To think about what each of us can do to make this world a better place.

    When you’re thinking about how you can contribute, it often helps to reflect on your life purpose and to ask yourself, “What do I have to give? Who can I help the most? And how could I make a difference?”

    Moving beyond your fear

    A few weeks back, as I was carrying my meditation chair into the garden, I had these questions in mind. I knew that others would probably benefit from meditating with me. Thinking about how I could give helped me to move beyond my long-held discomfort of being in front of the camera. It was an opportunity to brave it and record a meditation video to share.

    The sudden effortlessness of this act after so many years of procrastination made me realise that something else had shifted in me too. With so many families around the world grieving the sudden and unexpected loss of loved ones and so much uncertainty about how this pandemic would play out, I felt a sharper sense of the fragility of life.

    On any given day, someone we love might be taken from us. The future we so often take for granted may no longer be a given. Getting to something “one-day”, may not always be an option.

    Like all of us, I sometimes hold myself back for fear of not being good enough. For not having done all the research, not having all the right experience or not feeling ready yet for all the other excuses I can easily find.

    Finding your purpose can help with courage

    When I came back to my sense of purpose that morning in the garden and remembered how I want to give, I realised that none of these things matter. There’s no guarantee that there’ll be a next week or a next year to get comfortable with a new challenge, and even if there is, I wonder, why would I want to keep waiting?

    It’s ego, don’t you think, that holds us back most often? We worry that we’ll look silly or make a hash of it or maybe someone will criticise us or tell us that we have no business being bold, finding courage or being creative.

    If you’re concerned that you don’t have a special ‘thing’ to give or that your small contribution might not really matter in the grand scheme of things, maybe you tell yourself it’s easier (or safer maybe) not to start.

    But would it really matter if what we offer impacts only one person? Or if what we give is imperfect?

    Brené Brown shares these words of wisdom by Teddy Roosevelt in her book, Daring Greatly.

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

    shared my video later that morning and I’ve since shared another on Instagram. It felt uncomfortable at first but also good to have tackled that challenge. The funny thing is, those imperfect videos ended up leading to several new work projects. I was invited to team up with Medibank Live Better at Home to offer video tips on how to manage your emotional wellbeing during this tricky time. And I’ve been asked by a few corporate clients to run video mindfulness workshops for their teams.

    There’s so much possibility when we get out of our own way.

    What would you do if you were daring greatly?

    Posted in: Self-belief
    Kate James

    About the author

    Kate James is an author, coach and mindfulness teacher. She works with female leaders and business owners to help them clarify their values and strengths and discover a mindset that allows them to live confident, purposeful lives.