“How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them!”

“How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them!”

—Benjamin Franklin, a Founding Father of the United States

Image from Unsplash by Adi Goldstein

We can all be a bit judgmental and critical from time to time. When things appear wrong with the world in general or specifically with others in our various communities, it is pretty easy to point the finger at the mistakes and shortcomings we observe.

It is natural to hold our observation up against our own beliefs and values and see those that do not align as bad and wrong.

Most of us, on the other hand, do not look at ourselves with a lens of complete objectivity to see our own shortcomings and faults as worthy of our best efforts to mend them.

EXERCISE:

The next time you point your finger in the direction of the faults of others, consider that there are three fingers in your palm pointing right back at you.

What is one fault that you are resolute to mend in the days and weeks ahead?

 

“Follow your heart but take your brain with you.”

“Follow your heart but take your brain with you.”

Alfred Adler, 20th Century Austrian MD & Psychotherapist

Image from bbc.com

As a child, The Wizard of Oz was one of my favorite movies. Given its length and the fact that you had to watch it live with no way to record it, my mom would let us eat dinner carefully on those tacky plastic trays in the living room, gathered around our only TV.

As Dorothy traveled the yellow brick road with her little dog Toto, she teamed up with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion — they were hoping the Wonderful Wizard would give them a brain, a heart, and courage, respectively.

EXERCISE:

Where is your life calling on you to follow your heart and use all of your brains to courageously pursue your dreams and find your way home?

 

“Following the crowd never gets you very far.”

“Following the crowd never gets you very far.”

—Robin Sharma, Canadian Author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

Image from Unsplash by Chuttersnap

It is human nature to want to belong to our professional and personal communities. We tend to thrive and live longer, happier lives due to the supportive relationships around us.

Following the crowd and group think, however, is rarely associated with extraordinary levels of achievement and excellence. When one looks at the subject of personal mastery, important relationships with role models, mentors, teachers, and coaches are always involved. And yet, they evolve and change over time, to propel people forward, often leaving once valued relationships behind.

EXERCISE:

Where in your life have you and are you following the crowd? How has doing so held you back from going even further in either your personal or professional life?

What bolder, more courageous actions can and will you take to realize even more of your fullest potential?

“Revolutions are ideal times for soldiers with a lot of wit – and the courage to act.”

“Revolutions are ideal times for soldiers with a lot of wit – and the courage to act.”

Napoleon Bonaparte, 18th Century French Emperor and Military Leader

Image from Unsplash by Jessica Felicio

I recently saw a video keynote speech by David Burkus on the topic of how great teams find a purpose around which to rally.

In addition to using excellent examples of well-known organizations to make his points, he also used a few historical samples of powerful revolutions that galvanized communities, countries, and the world.

He suggests that we can all dig deeper than the core values or mission statements hanging in organization headquarters or above executive desks to discover our sacred values worth fighting for.

We are all allies in the sacred crusade to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, and combat racism around the world.

EXERCISE:

Where and how are you and others soldiers in your various communities bringing your wit and courage to act in these fights? How can and will you rally even more allies in these efforts?

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

—Louisa May Alcott, 19th Century American author of Little Women

Image from Unsplash by Bobby Burch

If you enjoy good stories with wonderful characters, please go see the movie Little Women, or by all means, read the book.

In our daily lives we can all be coached by the times we see others face and overcome their challenges and obstacles. Doing so can instill the belief that we, too, can do the same.

EXERCISE:

Where in your personal or professional life are you facing considerably rough waters?

In what ways can and will you face these challenges boldly and courageously to chart your course toward a brighter future?

“Surprise yourself every day with your own courage.”

“Surprise yourself every day with your own courage.”

—Denholm Elliot, 20th Century English actor

Image from Unsplash by Mitchell Griest

Who is your favorite superhero? Which Marvel or DC character could you see yourself playing in the next blockbuster film?

For Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, it was The Flash, and of course, we all know he had a thing for Mr. Spock from Star Trek.

Somehow, we often look at courage as a trait exhibited by others, such as those in law enforcement, the military, and emergency service professionals.

Consider for a moment where and when you came to the rescue of a family member, friend, or even a stranger in need. Think back to times in your life in which special people helped you.

EXERCISE:

What current life situations require a bit more courage?

When have you surprised yourself and put on your own cape of courage?

Please reply to this post.

“All beginnings are difficult.”

“All beginnings are difficult.”

—Rabbinic maxim

Image from Unsplash by Jon Tyson

Letting today’s quote really sink in can change your life.

Can you recall how many times, personally or professionally, you were reluctant to begin an activity or stopped your efforts too soon because your initial steps were awkward or challenging?

In such cases, we could consider the Biblical story of Job and his statement, “Man was born to toil.”

Going beyond any initial discomfort is fundamental to being productive and to the essential need for each of us to contribute and have a life of purpose.

EXERCISE:

Where and on what current matter would acknowledging that all beginnings are difficult provide you the needed courage, tenacity, and persistence to toil on to more fully realize your fullest potential and contribution to the world?

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

—Maya Angelou, 21st Century American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist

Image from yadvashem.org

During our visit to Israel, Wendy and I had the profound experience of visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.

Unrelenting pain and deep sadness cannot fully express this dark period in human history.

This museum and the tragic story and inhumanity it conveys cannot be unlived. It is a brilliant and courageous reminder for all mankind of the importance of a “never again” stance against some global behaviors.

EXERCISE:

What are some of the big and small lessons that are part of your personal and professional history?

In what ways have these experiences provided you the courage to never travel these paths again?

Just because you can’t keep up doesn’t mean you can’t show up

“Just because you can’t keep up doesn’t mean you can’t show up.”

—Brendon Burchard, High Performance Author

Image of people running on the street

Image from Unsplash by Mārtiņš Zemlickis

Striving for excellence is a powerful thing. It gives us all a sense of passion and purpose that is fundamental to living a happy, fulfilled life. There is, however, a dark side to the pursuit of excellence when we compare ourselves to others that have demonstrated superior skills and abilities.

In such cases, many of us don’t even bother suiting up and showing up to contribute our abilities and capacities for fear of looking bad and not keeping up.

EXERCISE:

Where and on what personal or professional issue is it time to summon the courage to show up and contribute your best, regardless of the outcome?

I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart

“I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: Turn Back!”

—Erica Jong, American Novelist and Poet

Image of a skier doing an aerial jump

Image from Unsplash by Jörg Angeli

The majority of people I know don’t normally consider themselves as particularly brave and courageous. Many might look at the amazing firefighters in California and say, “That’s not me” or “I could never do that.”

I’d like you to consider that you might be at least a bit more courageous than you give yourself credit for. Examine times in your personal or professional life in which you stepped up to a particular challenging, heart-pounding situation and moved forward through the fear. Your commitment was far bigger than your comfort.

EXERCISE:

Where and how can and will you use the signal of a pounding heart to step forward rather than back to more fully realize your most important and valued commitments?