What is courage? The opposite of fear I guess? There are so many definitions for ‘courage’ and one is “the ability to do something that frightens one; bravery”. My courage was recently tested when I was chosen as PSG Coach of the Month for September 2017. My immediate reaction was one of pure delight and excitement. Then reality kicked in and I thought oh my goodness with titles comes responsibility so fear was banging down my door. I asked myself how can I meet the expectations of this privileged spot? I know in my heart and soul I am a great coach, I love and value my work, but writing a blog, now that is something new, initially it felt like I was in panic zone but through self-coaching I returned calmly to my stretch zone, my comfort zone was nowhere in sight.
I decided to approach this using the skills I have developed and acquired over the years like planning, getting organised, scheduling my time, researching the topic and I allowed the creative process to begin, because as I discovered it was not simply a case of popping myself in front of my computer as I would for most assignments/projects with a deadline, for this I needed to bring more ingredients to the mix, I needed to invite ‘me ‘ into my blog and my intention was to inspire or inform my audience.
Let’s take a step back for a moment to reflect on my courage – even though we coaches like to move forward and facilitate our clients to move in that direction too. I reflected on my bravery in general and questioned “what do I do in my life to cultivate courage” and I discovered that this depends on the situations I find myself in. Generally speaking if it is work related and involves a coaching opportunity I say “yes” and rise to the challenge quite quickly. However, I recently set a personal goal to take up a hobby for enjoyment. I did plenty of research around what I could do and instantly disliked all the google suggestions. They may be good for others but not for me. Yikes.
Just as I was going to abandon my goal I self-coached asking myself “what did I enjoy as a teenager?” I remembered I used to enjoy Badminton as a young teen. What I mean is I held a badminton racquet and shuttlecock a handful of times as a teen… Anyway I decided to fire ahead and I asked a colleague of mine for some advice on suitable attire for my new hobby as she is a seasoned player. Shopping for the gear was the easy part. Next I tasked myself with finding a local club. Again this was easy enough having emailed the secretary of the club.
D-day arrived when I was invited to play, I explained I was an absolute beginner. Talk about fear I was shaking from head to toe as I walked through the doors as I witnessed what looked like league players whacking shuttlecocks all over the place with great success. In that moment I felt this was too much of a challenge. My courage was not going to extend this far. I almost bolted but I had 2 choices 1) Go home and pack away my new attire or 2) Stay and ‘be myself’ and give it a go. I chose to stay and decided ‘to be enough’ in this moment. Right now I am so glad I stayed as I have a new hobby which involves a badminton racquet and shuttlecock.
One may question how this could be challenging or require courage or bravery, but you see courage is unique to individuals and situations. When I hear participants on my courses or my clients convey that I am a very confident person, I always enjoy a discussion around this and I explain that confidence has its place. We all require courage across our personal or professional lives at different levels and different times and it is alright to be afraid or lack courage but will we allow it to hold us back – that is the question. Will we commit to “cultivating our courage”. As Susan Jeffers says “Feel the fear and do it anyway”
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