What does ordinary courage look like?

In the Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown says:
“Ordinary courage is about putting our vulnerability on the line. In today’s world, that’s pretty extraordinary.”

I so agree. There are millions of acts of ordinary courage taking place around us every day. They seldom make front-page news, but I believe they deserve too.

In my book, “Your Next Chapter – Ditch your doubt, own your worth and build the business you really want”, there are many stories that highlight this type of courage. Ordinary courage involves dancing along your growth edges, trusting yourself enough to take a small leap towards something that’s important to you. It’s only possible to do this when you’ve recognised your Discontent, acknowledged what you Desire, wrestled with Doubt and then made the (courageous) Decision to give it (whatever it is for you) a go.

The images above and below were the scene of one of my acts of ordinary courage yesterday, a picturesque Dam in leafy Warburton, about 90 minutes out of Melbourne CBD. I was wading gingerly out, watching my friends joyfully floating and swimming and jumping off the pier, telling myself I can’t swim, don’t swim, stay in the shallows where it’s safe.

But I was acutely aware of the sense of discontent I was wrestling with, the envy of seeing them so free.

Self-talk is a pivotal part of the ordinary courage process. I could have decided to stick with the story I was telling myself. To stay in my comfort zone. To turn away and tell myself “it’s all very well for them” and get defensive and resentful or to pretend that it did not matter, that it wasn’t important, that I didn’t “want to swim anyway”.

But that would have been the same old fear-based lie that has kept be shore and shallows bound for a very long time.

Something shifted on this day. I gathered up my courage, reassured myself with self-compassion, chose to respond to what I desired, put the doubt to one side, and plunged in.

Personal growth is always challenging

It may sound like a small achievement, but I never swam as a child back in New Zealand. My parents could not swim and were fearful of water, so we never went near it. I actually took myself for swimming lessons as an adult here in Australia many years ago. But I never really enjoyed it. To this day, if I take a dip off the back of our boat, I wear a life jacket if I can’t touch the bottom.

Big fears.

The sheer exhilaration and delight I felt yesterday, as I discovered the simple joys of treading water, gentle breaststroke, holding onto the ladder to regain my breath before taking off again, can’t be underestimated. The unbelievably calm and beautiful surroundings definitely helped me make the move…but it was my gorgeous companions, Sarah and Carolyn, who got me over the line with their encouragement and support.

angela raspass

It’s so much easier to stretch and grow in the right company.

I’m walking a little taller today, even with dodgy, water-filled ears that didn’t respond as enthusiastically as my heart. I stepped over a line and left a fear behind that I don’t want to carry any longer. One small step for Angelakind.

What growth edge might you challenge this week?

And perhaps more importantly, who might support you as you do?

You’ve got this. I see and salute your ordinary courage.

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Angela Raspass

Business Mentor, Author and Founder of the Centre for Self Worth, Angela blends strategy & self-worth to support business owners & leaders develop sustainable, impactful & fulfilling visions. What will unfold in Your Next Chapter?

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