Courageous words to keep you moving forward

We need courage. It’s essential to growth and life. In fact, the word itself comes from the Latin “cor,” meaning heart – the essential center of our physical and emotional life.

But what if you’re not naturally very courageous?

Eleanor Roosevelt said that “you gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”

And don’t assume that courageous people don’t struggle with fear. John Wayne said it this way: “Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.”

My favorite quote about courage goes like this: “Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.”

Take courage, my friend! Keep moving forward, even into the fearful, unknown places. When you reach your target someday, you’ll look back and say ‘oh yeah – it was completely worth it.”


Send your roots down deep

A little over one year ago, our family was camping in West Virginia when the huge “derecho” of 2012 hit. The massive, fierce thunderstorm impacted 11 states along its 700 mile path of destruction. Gusts above 80 mph knocked down trees all around our campground. The ones that remained standing were trees that had a strong tap root – oak, ash, walnut, redbud, and others. Trees with shallow roots were laid flat by the pounding wind.

We can learn something from the trees that withstood the storm – if you want to make it through the hard times, you need a deep root system.

And roots aren’t just critical for survival – they’re also necessary for vigorous growth. If the tree is going to grow tall, then it needs thick, strong roots to anchor it, to keep it standing tall, and most importantly to draw up life-giving water and nutrients. Think about the humble acorn – it sits on the ground, just a hard little lump. Because it’s a seed, it contains the blueprint of the tall tree that it might become. Only when the acorn sinks a root into the fertile soil does the growth begin.

Every one of us was born with a blueprint inside – a combination of DNA and destiny – that contained all the information needed for us to become all we were meant to be. Each of us was also born into a family and a community. When we’re rooted in those relationships, they can make us strong and give us a good foundation. They can shape our values and provide us with our role models and heroes.

Of course not everybody has a great relationship with their roots. George Burns used to say that “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family… in another city!”

Our root relationships powerfully influence us in both negative and positive ways. As a result, our growth can either be stifled by fear or fueled by faith.

For example, when I was a kid, my dad could see all the accidents, tragedies and disasters that might happen at any moment. And his warnings were, shall we say… graphic. For example, I’d be going out to mow the lawn and he’d comment: “I’ll tell you one thing, mister…. You pull that back too far and it’ll chew your foot right off….”

Thanks to my dad, I was more than stifled – I was perpetually terrified.

The good news: I got over it. Even better news – when I was a young adult, my dad was one whose faith and belief in me fueled my desire to be the best that I could be.

I clearly remember the day we were on the porch swing and I was talking about my dreams and goals. It got quiet, then Dad said “I believe you can do just about whatever you set your mind to. I’ve always thought that about you.”

Those are powerful words of faith! Did anyone ever say something like that to you? If so – here’s my advice: believe them! Agree with them!

And whether anyone encouraged you like that or not, is there someone in your life with lots of potential? Someone you really believe in? Then don’t keep it to yourself. Tell them!

Being rooted in a good family or a supportive community gives us strength. When we send our roots down deep, we’re standing on solid ground.

Have a story of how your roots in family and community helped you stay strong and stable? Please share a comment.

How can I get motivated?

Coaches hear this question a lot. In fact, finding the answer is one of the most common reasons people seek coaching!

What does it take to really get you motivated? My motivational catalysts fit into one of two raw, basic emotions: fear or desire. I’m either driven away from something I don’t want or I’m driven toward something I do want. It’s that simple. Knowing this, I can often trigger motivation in myself through some subtle Jedi mind tricks.

By imagining in detail the thing I don’t want, I develop within myself an actual sense of fear, however mild. For example, I can envision – in great detail – being pulled over for speeding. I feel that shock of realization that those lights are flashing for me. I cringe inwardly as I see the officer marching toward my in my side-view mirror. Worst of all, I grieve the $138 check I write to pay for the ticket. Unfortunately, I have some past experience to draw on with this fear. I am afraid of those bad results because I can really imagine what they might be like. (Free advice: when in a school-zone, slow down….)

In the same powerful way I triggered motivation through fear, I can also motivate myself through a desire for excellent results. When I imagine myself doing 45 push-ups easily, envisioning myself rocketing through that set of exercises, I do become energized to act, even if I’m not initially motivated. For me, it’s as if the development of sincere belief (intellectual) can trigger excitement (emotional). The excitement triggers action.

Try it yourself. If you want to achieve a goal, try engaging your imagination in two ways. First, take time to envision an excellent result (a completed novel for sale on the bookstore shelves, maybe). Then imagine a poor result of inaction (piles of never-submitted manuscripts that someone will probably toss when you’ve left this earth). Either of those images would stoke the fires of motivation for me; together, they’d be even more effective. Give it a try and leave a comment to let us know how it works for you.