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Courage requires faith

A few weeks back I wrote about my word for the year, which is DARE. We’re just past the one month mark in 2016 and it has already occurred to me that in my initial bedazzlement with the word DARE I neglected to think about an equally important piece of the equation: TRUST.

TRUST was my unofficial and belatedly adopted word for 2015. In 2015 I made some scary decisions (like starting to write a book and signing up for the Martha Beck Life Coach Training program) — at the time I didn’t know whether I was making the right choices or not, and I invested a lot of time and money into pursuits I couldn’t be entirely sure were right for me.

To not-know and do it anyway requires a lot of trust —

And trust that everything is going to be OK is something I’ve struggled with for a long time.

Somewhere along the road between high school and graduating from MIT I lost my certainty that there are no unrecoverable mistakes — a loss which has often left me with a feeling of waiting for the world to end around every next corner.

Dare+TrustSo when I picked the word DARE for myself in 2016, I may have been overlooking the small but crucially important fact that if I wanted to be more bold and more courageous, I was also going to have to learn to take my wavering trust to a whole new level.

Which is why I’ve actually since revised my word/theme for 2016. It’s DARE with a heaping side of TRUST.

Because when you’re deeply fearful, every act of daring is an eyes closed, nose plugged cannonball into danger and uncertainty, and the only thing you’ve got going for you is your trust that — whatever might be waiting for you in the water — you’re going to make it back alive.

And when you can really, truly trust that you are going to be ok, no matter the outcome of your daring, the choice to dare becomes what I have heard called “scareciting” (that’s scary + exciting).

But if you don’t have that trust, then asking for courage of yourself is just plain old petrifying.

After MIT, I spent a year or two thinking of myself as a coward.

I was lost in a place where I didn’t know what I wanted to do next, but I did know that I didn’t want to stay put. I could see different paths forking off all around me, writing, slam poetry, an MFA, midwifery, teaching — you name it, I probably considered it in those days.

The problem was that though I could see all of these options — at the end of the day I was too scared of making “the wrong choice” to just pick something and try it.

And so I stayed put (for years!) because it was easier than moving off into the great unknown and all along the way my thoughts whispered to me, coward, coward, coward, coward…

Which is why I picked the word DARE for 2016.

Because I now recognize that staying put wasn’t an act of cowardice so much as an act of self-preservation — to venture into the unknown without faith would have been more than an act of courage it would have been a stubborn and torturous excursion into sheer terror.

Your life isn’t supposed to terrify you — it’s supposed to scarecite you!

It’s supposed to be an adventure, and sometimes adventures are scary and thrilling and even a little bit dangerous — but at the end of the day they’re supposed to be scary+exciting more than they are pure scary.

If you’re going to take a chance, you have to have some faith that lose or win, sink or swim, you’re going to turn out alright.

What about you? Do you struggle with courage and daring? Let me know in the comments below!


P.S. If this post resonated with you and you’d like to take the conversation deeper, I’d love to invite you to work with me.


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