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Courage – A to Z of Self Leadership

Someone once said that F.E.A.R is False Evidence Appearing Real. How true that is! If you’ve ever watched a scary movie late at night as child, and then had to enter a dark room, I’m sure you’ve experienced plenty of ‘false evidence appearing real’. Every shadow, every sound is that monster from the movie waiting to attack you. You cower in your bed, you shiver, you pray. Then you fall into a fitful sleep. In the light of day your fears seems silly, don’t they? Fear is really worry and insecurity. Fear has the power to make us sick.

But fear gives us an opportunity to take risks and helps us build our courage.

When I suggested the eulogy exercise in my post on Awareness the other day, several bloggers commented that they would find that a difficult thing to do. To my mind, growth calls for risk taking and moving out of our comfort zones. That’s where courage comes in.

A big part of self leadership is to have courage. As Winston Churchill said, “Courage is rightly considered the foremost of the virtues because upon it, all others depend.” Courage is what forces us to move beyond the familiar and teaches us about who we really are. Courage is indispenable to our happiness and success.

Karl Pillemer, a professor at Cornell University, interviewed over a thousand older Americans from diverse backgrounds, for his book ‘30 Lessons For Living‘. He asked them to share the most valuable lessons they’d learned. He says that the elders regretted more the things they didn’t do, rather than those they did!

One 73-year old told the Professor: “The lesson I learned is that it really pays to say yes, unless you’ve got a really solid reason to say no. Life is an adventure, but to take advantage of it you have to say yes to things.”

Another man in his late eighties was asked who he would like to come back to live as, if he were given such a chance. He answered: “I would want to come back as the man I could have been, but never was. This time I’d act with more courage. I wouldn’t allow my fear to turn me away from opportunities I didn’t take. I’d risk more; I’d take the chances I wish I had. I’d allow myself to fail more, love more, and laugh more. This time I’d be sure to live more.”

I think that about sums up what courage is! We don’t want to reach old age and look back with regret on all that we didn’t dare to do, do we?

Action steps:
Write down 3 things you are really afraid of attempting to do.
Next to each of these things write down what you’d regret/lose if you didn’t do them.
Resolve to start acting on at least one of these today!

courage doesn't always roar

Be courageous!

Today I’m on ‘C ‘ of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. My theme is the A to Z of Self Leadership. I’m also undertaking the NaBloPoMo for April – the theme is ‘grow’ and the Ultimate Blog Challenge


  1. […] before including them in your plans and then you can ensure they will feel comfortable giving the eulogy when the time comes. You could ask them to include a favourite poem, song lyrics, verses from a […]

  2. Debbie D. Debbie D. April 5, 2015

    That acronym for FEAR is perfect! There are still a few things I want to do and perhaps fear of failure is stopping me, or possibly, fear of success? Either way, I am determined to conquer it. There should be no regrets at the end. I did have the courage to start my own business in 1994 and it’s still active, 21 years later. Excellent words of wisdom, Corinne. 🙂
    Debbie D. recently posted..#AtoZChallenge: D is for DRACONIANMy Profile

  3. Parul Parul April 4, 2015

    What a wonderful post Corinne! I was watching a lovely movie one night called “We bought a zoo” and there was this dialogue – “We just need 20 seconds of courage to begin something”. And I felt so right about it – whether it is public speaking, attempting to take on something new in life – first 20 seconds is all we need 🙂
    Loved it! I am going to take all the assignments one by one and do them!
    Parul recently posted..D for Domestic ViolenceMy Profile

  4. Bhavya Bhavya April 4, 2015

    I will never forget this: “I would want to come back as the man I could have been, but never was. This time I’d act with more courage. I wouldn’t allow my fear to turn me away from opportunities I didn’t take. I’d risk more; I’d take the chances I wish I had. I’d allow myself to fail more, love more, and laugh more. This time I’d be sure to live more.”

    Also, of late I am trying to overcome my fears and suprisingly, it isn’t too difficult!
    Bhavya recently posted..The Cart PullerMy Profile

  5. Pratikshya Pratikshya April 4, 2015

    now this one was inspiring… i would like to share my memorable experience of courage.. a few of my most deepest dreams and wishes are my most dreaded fears.. one of those was to give a public talk and mesmerize the audience… and i have this huge huge stage fright… i got a chance in February this year to present a seminar on an academic topic… i was nervous and a bit excited… i took all the courage that i had to come up with better than average performance.. 🙂 and i’m so happy.. that was the first step towards overcoming stage fear… and fulfilling my dream.. hope after ten years, i’d be able and capable to give a TED talk…
    Pratikshya recently posted..Choi Dal Po #atozchallengeMy Profile

  6. Sabina Sabina April 4, 2015

    It’s interesting that people regret things that they didn’t do–they don’t know what the consequences would be, so maybe they would regret doing them, too. Who knows!
    Sabina recently posted..Care PackagesMy Profile

  7. Irene Brankin Irene Brankin April 4, 2015

    Am loving this series, Corinne, and your writing. I have another acronym for FEAR which is rather ruder than yours!! xx

  8. Michele Truhlik Michele Truhlik April 3, 2015

    AWESOME post!! Courage is a big deal! I love the wisdom shared by the elders: so very true. How many of us will get to the end of our lives and look back, wishing we had been more courageous? A great many, I\’m afraid. Your post is contagious encouragement. Thanks for the reminder to always remain courageous! Happy A-Zing,
    Michele at Angels Bark
    Michele Truhlik recently posted..C is for Creedence Clearwater Revival, Charlie Daniels Band, Chicago, Cream, Crosby Stills & Nash, Collective Soul and Chic!My Profile

  9. Stuart Lennon Stuart Lennon April 3, 2015

    An inspiring post. Thank you. I am encouraged to read more. Happy A to Z!

  10. Jayanthi Jayanthi April 3, 2015

    Write down 3 things you are really afraid of attempting to do. – I did take this first step.
    The second step too …
    It is the third one … that sends me into a heart vs. head dilemma.

    I rest my case there. Some day … I will…

  11. Liz Young Liz Young April 3, 2015

    I found you from the A-Z list and I’m here because my midwife 47 years ago was called Gyaan!

    Your take on fear is interesting but you seem to be saying it’s all imagination, which clearly it can’t be. Fear is also nature’s way of keeping us from danger, surely?
    Liz Young recently posted..A-Z Challenge = CONTRASTS & CARNAVALMy Profile

  12. Amy Bovaird Amy Bovaird April 3, 2015

    I love how you research a a topic so well, have your brand poster and action steps! Once when I was in the hospital in Dubai, I had just lost twins and I had some kind of fluid on my abdomen doctors couldn’t determine. So they had a long needle (I think it is also used for amniocentesis) and planned to extract some fluid. I was terrified of that needle. But I had this favorite nurse who held my hand throughout the procedure. I remember reading not long afterwards. Courage is not the absence of fear, It’s being afraid and going through it. Something like that. And I did feel courageous to face that! Thank you for your excellent post!
    Amy Bovaird recently posted..C is for CartagenaMy Profile

  13. Swathi Shenoy Swathi Shenoy April 3, 2015

    I am loving these exercises Corinne 🙂 Today, I first completed the exercise and then I am commenting 🙂 (The writing part. Taking action will require me to go to a different place) Great post as usual 🙂
    Swathi Shenoy recently posted..CruxMy Profile

  14. Ajay Pai Ajay Pai April 3, 2015

    After reading your post, I can courageously tell that I am courageous. I have taken risks and moved out of my comfort zone.

    1. I am a single child and was an introvert. To leave my home- town and relocate in Bangalore was a decision which my parents were dead against. However, I ensured that I would sail through and I did.

    2. In between I tried the IT industry and became the Project lead (in banking domain), Alas, the IT company had to shut down due to their internal issues and I had to look out for my good old job in Bank again, which I finally found.

    3. I was ridiculed, when I informed that I am gonna be a blogger. They said that a guy who studied in regional school with malayalam as the spoken language , how can he be a blogger ?

    But then here I am standing Tall against all the Odds.

    This post of yours made me proud of myself.
    Ajay Pai recently posted..Haiku – Ishaan and a Black Ant.My Profile

  15. Robyn Robyn April 3, 2015

    I fear I will never use my degrees in a capacity that makes a real difference to my life and other’s lives. I just sit on those degrees wondering how to use them. Corinne, you make me think a lot! Thank you

  16. Vidya Sury Vidya Sury April 3, 2015

    I think this is one of the best posts I’ve read in recent times, Corinne. I remember when I first saw the acronym FEAR – I was so excited because it described it to an… F. I suspect you have the word for your R post with Risk 🙂

    Today, I forgot I had made an image for my LifeHacksForHappiness blog with Courage and suggesting doing one thing that the reader is afraid of. 😀 I went ahead and made another and posted it.

    I am bookmarking your post to refer to in one of my upcoming ones.

    Vidya Sury recently posted..CelebrateMy Profile

  17. Suzy Suzy April 3, 2015

    One of the things I am truly petrified of doing is bungee jumping – I will gladly not do that and won’t regret it either 🙂 Courage does not mean you don’t fear it means you feel the fear but do it anyway. Great post.
    Suzy recently posted..Love is in the Air – ConsortMy Profile

  18. Aathira Aathira April 3, 2015

    We often don’t have the courage to follow all our dreams. If only all of us mustered the courage to act on them. Motivating post as always, Corinne!
    Aathira recently posted..C – CupidMy Profile

  19. G Angela G Angela April 3, 2015

    Now I have become courageous corinne, as life situations has forced me to take risks and keep moving, at this age I am daring to be myself and attempt all those things that I always wanted to… still a long way to go.. glad to read your post & thanks for sharing

  20. Sulekha Sulekha April 3, 2015

    Courage is the not always the loud shout but it can also be a whisper with intent. Loving your A to Z theme and learning a lot everyday, keep writing and inspiring…

  21. Eloquent Mind Eloquent Mind April 3, 2015

    Absolutely Corinne ! We need to be able to say yes to things that we wish to do rather than reject them only to repent at old age on the disappointment. 🙂 Very inspiring.
    Eloquent Mind recently posted..Clement Love #AtoZChallengeMy Profile

  22. Ananya Tales Ananya Tales April 3, 2015

    Nice inspiring post.. I always write wen I am confused abt makin a decision or wen I have 2 choose one option from many… I write pros n cons .. gives me a clear idea..
    Best wishes for the challenge 🙂
    I am missing it already 🙁
    Ananya Tales recently posted..My TeacherMy Profile

  23. Vidya Subramanian Vidya Subramanian April 3, 2015

    A wonderful post yet again! We miss out on so many opportunities if we don’t show courage. I like doing the activity you suggest in each of your posts. I have shied away from doing many things for want of courage and regretted later. Hope I never let that happen again.

  24. Shantala Shantala April 3, 2015

    Another fantastic post, Corinne. Wonderful pointers for action steps. I recently did an exercise like that. I always wanted to write, but never really gave it a go, until recently when I started to blog. Writing down the list of things I will regret if I did not do, made me start my own blog. Staying tuned for D. Cheers!
    Shantala recently posted..To New Beginnings… #AtoZChallenge 2015 @AprilA2ZMy Profile

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