We often look at successful people and when we envy them, wishing we had their skills, habits, or energy, we sometimes overlook the key trait that they have: courage.
We do talk about how successful Apple was under Steve Jobs, with his eye for innovation and design. What we don’t talk about is how much courage and vulnerability it requires to accomplish something like the first iPod or the first iPhone. To do what you dream about requires conviction and self-confidence that declares: “I know there will be critics, I know I may fail (a few hundred times), and I also know that I need to do this because it makes me happy. ”
You see, it’s easy to apply to college because everyone else is doing it. To declare a major that most of your friends are declaring, or to even graduate with an offer to a prestigious job that other people dream about, but you are not so excited about. What I am talking about is our kids to accomplish every single definition of success we put in front of them (good grades, medals/awards, strong ACT/SAT scores, a college degree, a good job) and yet, they may not feel happy or fulfilled. They may feel stressed and frustrated.
This is a great opportunity for parents to talk to their kids about courage.
It can be incredibly humbling for parents to admit that not every choice they made was a right choice. That if you take a wrong turn, you can always course correct and get back on your very own path. You see, this is a conversation that I actually have with a lot of adults. The only regret I hear from adults is that they WISH THEY HAD THE COURAGE TO FOLLOW THEIR DREAMS (some call it intuition).
Many of us feel shame when we know we compromised on a choice we truly wanted to make. We know where we didn’t have courage and we hid, instead of declaring something that meant a lot to us. Felt like we would be judged, but…. the truth is, we judged ourselves. We may have asked ourselves, “who are you to think you can do that? (cure cancer? solve a world problem?)” The answer is simple: “This is me and the thing that lights my soul up, that gets me excited to wake up in the morning, that gets me talking at parties about my passion…AND…I do not need to justify my dreams to anyone.”
The truth is, we envy those super successful people who dare greatly and are vulnerable enough to say, “This is me.”
They changed the world or became a household name not because they said “one day I’ll be super successful and on cover of magazines.” No, they changed the world because they had the courage to do what they felt was their purpose. This includes everyone from Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela to Oprah, Bill Gates and President Obama, across many fields and industries.
So, after reading this blog post, talk at home about the courage to be true to yourself.