I love it when you say this…

Sometimes Courage roars in like a lion – wowing us all with it’s power and sheer daring. Think Captain Sully and his spectacular landing on the Hudson River. 

But more often than not Courage sneaks in on tiptoes, quietly appearing in the form of simple, humble acts that most of us never see.

When I’m asked to make a keynote speech or lead corporate trainings on confidence, I will often start by asking the audience this question:

How many of you would describe yourself as a Courageous Woman?”

Or, of course, a Courageous Man? :)

Usually, a few hands go up – but not many.

Not surprised? Yeah. Me neither.

But the fact is that most of the people in that audience ARE courageous – in ways they don’t realize.

And most of you are too.

 For the record: I can hear you arguing with me in your head – but I’m right about this.

Trust me. :)

One of the (many) great things about the kind of work I do, is that I get to witness the most extraordinary transformations in the lives of ordinary people every day. Of course, the truth is you’re anything BUT ordinary – but most of you don’t know that. Or see it.

Still, I’m a witness to the Courage you show each day, facing your fears large AND small, taking first one small step, then another, then another….

Until a day comes on down the road when you walk into my office and say this.

You’re gonna be proud of me…”

I love those words. I love them SO much.

NOT because it matters a hill of beans whether I’m proud of you or not. Because it doesn’t.

Although I am.


No. It matters because I’ve LEARNED that then you start a sentence that way (and it happens all the time!) that you’re about to tell me something that YOU’RE proud of for yourselves.

See – THAT’s what gets me going. :)

It’s true that some of the stories my clients tell me can be awe-inspiring in the sheer enormity of what they’ve faced.

For example, one woman I admire deeply has fought her way back from the grip of a severe crack addiction. Addiction is a progressive illness, and by the time she got to me she was pretty far along in that process. In short, she was a mess. Getting through each day – just surviving — took all she had.

So in the beginning, I’d tell her: Just keep showing up. I don’t care what kind of shape you’re in. I don’t care what you did last night. Just. Show. Up.

And she did. Week after week.

          No matter how bad it got.

          No matter how ashamed she was (and shame is a powerful monster in itself).

          No matter how awful she felt.

She came. And then she came back. Again.

And again. 

Do you have any idea how much Courage that took?

Today, a year and a half later – she’s clean and sober.

Happy. Loved. Connected. Strong. Safe.

And just a little bit…. Proud. :)


And then there’s a good friend of mine, an artist who works out of her home, running a very successful commercial art business that she’s had for years. Her work is outstanding, and we’ve been working together on a few Courageous Women’s projects. As you might expect, we talk a lot about what it means to be a Courageous Woman.

So when she popped by my office the other day and said those words….

You’re gonna be proud of me…”

I just grinned.


This conquering-fear, stepping-out-of-your-comfort-zone,

being-proud thing is contagious. :))

She works out of her home, and does well – but it’s a solitary business. And because she does a lot of commercial art, she’d drifted a bit from doing what she really loved.

So she wanted to tell me that she’d rented a space in a local art studio, and started painting again. Out and about with other artists. Just because she loved it.

And yes, I was proud of her, too. :)

And then, last week, I got an email from a client I don’t see as much any more, but who continues to move forward in her life in a very real way. And for her, courage showed up on a shopping trip.

To understand this, you need to know that this Courageous Woman is an adult survivor of some pretty awful abusive history. You’d never know it if you met her. She’s smart, funny, attractive, creative…

But she’s lived through things that can make it hard to function in the world in every day ways. Things that you and I might think nothing of, require Great Courage from her.

So, this was a big day. I’ve edited her email a little for space & clarity, so I hope the power of it still comes through. With her permission, I’d like to share a little of what she wrote with you.

Last Tuesday, I had [some time to kill] So, I took off for Pigeon Forge. Returned 2 items….I’ve never had the nerve to return anything…and shopped through Five Oaks. Couldn’t find any thing that fit, and went to Belz Factory Mall, where…I just happened to park in front of a Lane Bryant store.

I’ve always been a little embarrassed to have to shop there, but I went in and eventually, after not finding clothes small enough, threw myself on the mercy of a sales clerk, who brought me item after item, getting a smaller size each time, until I found [just what I wanted|…

Then, the [clerk] saw the cross I wear and when I told her I’d gotten it from a friend, right after cancer surgery, she began to talk her cancer surgery and the cross around her neck…and she ended up going back into the inventory and hunting me another pair of pants….

It felt so good…I bought 3 pairs…

I went back to several stores looking for shoes and didn’t find any, but that day I had a ball.

I’ve never shopped alone…always taking [a friend]…and I was alone, on my own to look and walk and see anything I wanted to…go in any store…

Returned something I’d bought…

Let the sales girl help me find what I needed, and liked…

Went to every store I wanted to…

All By Myself…

Talked to a lot of people…laughed a lot…

All By Myself.

I’m awfully proud of myself…


And I’m proud of her. She’s in her 60’s, and has NEVER been able to do that before.

So sometimes Courage is wandering around a mall on your own.

Who knew?

Oh, and one more – just for good measure.

My 18 year old daughter landed her first job this week working part time at a local discount store. She’s a little shy, and truth is, she’s been scared to death. As I wrote this she was working her first shift. When I went to pick her up afterwards, I expected to find her tired – but worried a little that she’d be overwhelmed.

She was tired. She wasn’t overwhelmed.

She was proud. Proud to have a job. Proud to make it through her first night.

She found some courage of her own that she didn’t know SHE had, either.

So this is what I’d like to hear from you.

I’m working on a list of Amazing Acts of (little known but ever so real) Courage, large and small. I want you to help me build that list.

Tell me about something you did that took real courage that no one around you even realized. You know what I’m talking about – it popped RIGHT into your head. Just now. That’s the one. That’s the story I’m looking for. :)

I don’t care if you rescued someone from a burning building or if you just baked a pie from scratch or said no to your kids. What was it?

How did you find the strength to do it?

How did you feel afterwards?

And what did you learn about yourself along the way?

You can post a story here, on the blog (comments below) OR, if you’d rather, send me a private email. ([email protected]). I KNOW you have a story. And thank you for sharing it with me.

Because you, too, are a Courageous Woman.
And I’m proud of YOU too.


 Want to get in the loop to know about our next Secret Adventure?

Tell me so in your comments below and I’ll be sure you get an invitation!

Click HERE to learn more about our

Courage to Confidence Year End Celebration on Dec. 2.

(It’s FREE. You should come!)

Click HERE to join us as we put the Joy back in January with our

Not-So-Secret Mid-Winter WEEKEND Adventure.



Photo Credits: Steve Jurvetson on Flikr


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