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...
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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...
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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...
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7 Powerful Quotes on Courage from Powerful Black Women

Sometimes, a powerful quote is a perfect antidote to feeling sad, stuck or shaded. These quotes on courage from amazing black women provide a jolt of motivation to keep it moving. Happy International Women’s Day. When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” – Audre Lorde Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. – Maya Angelou Get over it, and just live a little. – Michelle Obama I believe that...
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Being Courageous Does Not Equal Being Fearless

Is being courageous the same as being fearless? It’s a question I’m asked often, most recently by a 16-year-old attendee at the Guide, Inc youth conference where I spoke. In short, the answer is no.  Here’s the longer answer. Both qualities support growth and adventure and help girls show up in the world with the confidence and passion.   But, mixing up the two would be like confusing Beyoncé and Rihanna. They’re similar, but different. The confusion between the two happens when people reduce their meanings down to: don’t let fear stop you. Whether fear is dormant or active, though,...
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3 Rewards For Confronting Fear

There are rewards for confronting fear, even if the confrontation ends with girls stumbling into a corner, sliding into a fetal ball and burying their faces between their knees. The rewards I’m referring to can be hard for girls to recognize if their focus is on failed attempts, their weaknesses, how badly they embarrassed themselves or how improbable rebounding will be.   But.   These intangible blue ribbons are available to girls and everyone else willing to suspend self-pity, chin up and introspect.   Clarity Win, lose or draw, confrontation with fear offers clarity. The first thing girls get clear...
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2 Ways For Girls To Strengthen Purpose

Courage want girls to win, but it will not fight every battle. Courage never rushes to lace up its vintage combat boots and meet girls on the frontline of fear for a half-hearted or externally motivated pursuit. It would much rather chill on the sofa watching reruns of Beyoncé at Coachella than show up for girls who find purpose in gaining attention or protecting egos. Courage judiciously joins the sides of girls when their purpose for action is worthy. Why? Because a weak cause is not enough to overcome the fear associated with risky and threatening circumstances, like standing out...
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What does outcome have to do with courage?

Nothing. A high school crush taught me that. I had a ridiculously big crush on James*. Bigger than the ones I had on Keith* and Shawn*. The butterflies in my belly swarmed when I saw him, and the only way to settle them was to turn away. But, I never wanted to miss the smoothness of his steps or the brightness of his smile. James was the tall, dark, beautiful basketball star that every girl in the high school wanted. Including me. I contemplated for weeks about whether to write him a note disclosing my attraction. What if he liked...
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