What type of disruption are you choosing?

I recently asked a teenage girl what she wanted the courage to do. “Let go of some old friends,” she said.  When I asked her why she hadn’t been able to do that, she replied, “because I don’t want to come across as mean.”  This answer may seem basic, but nope. It isn’t. What this teenager, and thousands of other youth like her, really means is, I am reluctant to make the healthiest, most honest-to-goodness choices for myself if it means disrupting harmony within my social circles – even if the harmony is harmful.  Did you catch that? Many youth...
Read More

10 Places and Ways To Go This Summer

Summer is almost here, and several media sources are compiling their lists of top places to visit. I thought it would be fun to compile my own summer GO list for youth.  Here it is: Go For It. You won’t know until you try. Go slow. Don’t expect to get where you’re going overnight. Go the distance. Never give up. Go with your gut. Your intuition knows what’s up.   Go beyond your comfort zone. You’ll discover what you’re made of. via GIPHY Go easy on yourself. Mistakes turn into lessons, and lessons fuel growth. Go against the grain. Staying true...
Read More

3 Competencies Youth Need To Act Courageously

Competence is usually related to tasks like dribbling a ball, tying a shoe or Milly Rockin’ in the shower – not acting courageously. However, if youth want to resist social pressures around them, such as substance usage, bullying and underage drinking, they will need certain competencies. Courage requires competence. Having skill and being able to use it in the face of a challenge is critically important to managing fear and feeling in control. According to research, competence enhances self-motivation and can determine how long a person will persevere. Interestingly, competence is also foundational to confidence. Without skill and ability, youth...
Read More

How Strong Is Your Hook?

About seven family members rushed into my cousin’s dorm room after her graduation ceremony to clear it out for a final university inspection. I assigned myself to taking down pictures of pop stars and inspirational quote posters from her walls. My cousin used self-adhesive hooks to help decorate her space, and I was trying my best to take down only the pictures and hooks – not the layers of paint that had accumulated on the walls from every move-out that had ever happened. But, my series of hard, yet careful tugs produced zero progress. The hooks weren’t coming off. What...
Read More

20 Lessons From Travels In South America

Traveling abroad has taught me important lessons about courage, the super-virtue I champion in the development of youth and young adults. My recent trip to Perú, Chile and Argentina served up 20 “make-ya-say-hmm” life lessons with the theme of courage threaded throughout. I’m glad I didn’t miss the lessons, and I’m even more thrilled that I am able to share them. Here they are. 1. Do things for the experience,  not for the picture. Imagine climbing two miles up Waynapicchu mountain to get the best picture of Machu Picchu – one of the most iconic creation of the Inca Empire...
Read More

The ART of Being Uncomfortable

When I speak about courage, I notice audiences’ increased interest in my thoughts about discomfort.  I’ll assume that interest piques because the youth and young adults listening to me have, at some point, allowed discomfort to keep them from pursuing a goal. (To be clear, I’m not talking about the kind of discomfort that emerges after eating way too much.)  Learning how to be uncomfortable is vital to any act of courage, especially those related to personal growth and authenticity. And, breaking down the process is an ART (kinda of). The stages of being uncomfortable are: Acknowledge the discomfort, Reside...
Read More

6 Reasons Why Youth Need Courage

Courage is a quality often discussed in connection to executives of organizations, soldiers on the battlefield or entrepreneurs of new ventures. But, courage is not a quality reserved for adults. In fact, developing the ability to act courageously is critical to youth being all they can be. Here are six reasons why youth need courage.   To Stand Up According to the National Center for Education Statistics, one out of every four students report being bullied during the school year. This means youth have the opportunity to stand up for themselves or someone else – actions that could result in...
Read More

Courage Over Everything Manifesto

Maya Angelou famously said that “courage is the most important of all the virtues. Without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” Consistently is the key word. Courage is both foundational and foremost to helping an actor consistently choose honesty, tolerance, authenticity, integrity and every other virtue. If Maya’s quote was remixed and made into a manifesto, it’d be called Courage Over Everything and go a little something like this: Courage Over Everything I shall have the courage to say yes and the courage to say no. The courage to tell it like it is and to say it...
Read More