YAY 🎉 you made it!  I’m already encouraged… this means I’m not all alone here lost in the vastness of cyberspace.  I promised that this week’s post would unpack the ‘how’ behind #cultivatemorecourage so let’s start there.

HOW exactly can you cultivate more courage?  Well, it’s like anything else that needs to grow or be strengthened.  You have to use it… a little bit at a time until it builds up – gets strong.

Example: lifting weights 🏋️‍♂️ regularly builds strong muscles.

The tricky part is this… what is COURAGE exactly?

Well according to psychologists  there are several different attributes that help us define courage.  I’ve selected six of these for us to work on as we #cultivatemorecourage together.  I’ve come up with my own summary titles for these and they are:

SIX ATTRIBUTES OF COURAGE

  1. COMFORTABLE WITH UNCOMFORTABLE – Get outside of your comfort zone, make trying ‘new’ things a habit.
  2. DON’T QUIT – Persevere when things get tough, make ‘finish what you start’ a personal mantra.
  3. FACE YOUR FEAR – Do it anyway, we all have fears but it’s important that we don’t let them hold us back from everything we want in life.
  4. PAIN HAS A PURPOSE – Suffer with dignity, understand that pain is a natural part of life and that it too can change us for the better.
  5. PICK YOUR BATTLES – Stand up for yourself and others, because it’s the right thing to do.
  6. PURSUE YOUR PASSION – Living life doing the things you’re passionate about inspires others, and we all need inspiration.

TIP… you might want to keep a copy of this, right? I thought so, here’s a cute copy for you to keep, since you’ll be growing in these areas all year.

You can download it here   ATTRIBUTES OF COURAGE

OK girls, you still with me?  Excited or terrified?  Well, either way this is where we are headed in 2019… as a community we are going to share our experiences right here on the blog, as well as other places I have planned for us later in the year!

(SHOUT OUT TO… Mary, Betty, Toni, Janine, Karen and Jeannie for being courageous enough to comment on last week’s post 🙌🏻)

Remember, I’m the ‘host’ here and as your ‘host’ it’s my role to open up our conversations around these areas of cultivating more courage.  Which means… yep, I’ve gotta go first, yikes!  But I shared last week that I’ve got some pretty big stuff coming my way in 2019 – whether I like it or not.  The kind of stuff that you have to prepare for; like hurricanes, and relocating aging parents, and sending your first kid to college… that caliber of STUFF, life stuff that requires strength.

No, these aren’t the things I’m dealing with this year – but maybe some of you are… don’t you think you’ll need some extra COURAGE to get through these well?  Let’s face it the emotional effort we use to live a quality life requires courage.

Copy of Everything BIG we desire for our lives exists on the other side of courage.

That’s why I’ve taken this task on, to build a community where we are committed to #cultivatemorecourage TOGETHER.  I’m thankful you’re in this with me.

OK, actionable items for this week…

Think about the SIX ATTRIBUTES OF COURAGE and what you know about your upcoming year along with your DREAM, GOAL, and/or PLAN.

  1. COMMENT on this post and tell us which attribute you think you need to work on the most, and share a little about why you choose that attribute.
  2. Start brainstorming ways you can grow that attribute and write your ideas down. *save this list for the future

You hanging in there?

I’ll tell you a secret… I’ve already began working on #1 COMFORTABLE WITH UNCOMFORTABLE and the experience I went through wore me out.  The day I stepped out to do this ‘new thing’ I was in bed before 9:00pm due to pure exhaustion.  But, I did it and I can’t wait to share some of the experience with you next week.

So, here’s how this will go moving forward.  I’m gonna post about one of each of these six areas each week and ask you to chime in.

Simple right.

Well, simple if you’re already a part of this community and you receive these posts via email.  If you haven’t joined yet I encourage you to do so.  Super easy just use the COUNT ME IN sign up at the top of this page.

Don’t forget to do your homework 📚 for this week listed above ⬆️ and until next time…

be strong and courageous,

Melissa

20 thoughts on “START HERE – STEP TWO

  1. Facing my fears!
    There are some big things I want to do this year, in regards to my health and my writing.
    Fear holds us back for so many reasons! Will I mess up? Will I be able to do this ongoing? Will I take on too much?
    Thanks Melissa for your encouragement here!

    1. Jodi- I totally hear you. I’m a few weeks ahead of what I’m posting so this week I needed to start digging in on this Attribute. Let’s just say I was covered in emotional dust from the expedition. But this is good for us – this unearthing of our stuff, the stuff that holds us back from everything God created us to be and to DO for His glory. Blessed are the DOERS because they believe God is with them in the fear! Be strong and courageous girl! Love. Melissa

  2. Quite honestly, I need work on more than one of these attributes. 😉 If I had to pick just one for the immediate it would be to Face my Fears. I think it’s an underlying cause of my propensity to quit when things get hard–which conveniently loops in a second area of focus for me.

    My fears are loud and shouty and I often lack the confidence to silence them and put them in their place. God has placed hopes and dreams in my heart that I have put on hold for so long because I struggle to hear his voice over the fear. I’m afraid to move forward. Afraid that I’ve heard him wrong, that I’ve missed the mark. Afraid of failure.

    God’s had me in a waiting place for awhile now. And through the process he’s been re-shaping my beliefs about myself and about Him. The deeper I get in relationship with him, the more I get to know him, the less power that loud and shouty voice has over me.

    Joining this community and participating here is just one way I’m trusting God voice over the loud and shouty one that condemns. It doesn’t want me stepping out and publicly calling it out on crap. It wants me to stay silent and hidden. #cultivatingcourage is the enemy of that voice and I’m here for it!

    1. Janine – WOW two votes for Face my Fears, and it’s not even lunch time! I can so relate to the waiting place. I have been on a long journey in this area – which I will share a bit in a few weeks – its led me to some deep awarenesses. And finally, after a very long waiting period I feel the invisible tether that has held me back for so long has frayed to the point of breakthrough. It is time… for you… for me… for all of us – to move forward .

      Love that you are here with us – sharing and silencing the oppressive voice – we are doing this #cultivatemorecourage thing TOGETHER – there is power in numbers! love, love, Melissa

  3. I would say “don’t quit” is my pain point. I tend to start strong and then let things trickle out. This is for a variety of reasons…it’s not always as easy as “stick it out!”. But I’m working on building consistent habits again. Lately I’m feeling like I’m self sabotaging. Like I’m testing the waters of allowing myself too many excuses. So. February is about habits and not quitting. I love your list of attributes. I emailed it to myself so I can print it out as a reminder. As a parent, one of my biggest family mottos is “perseverence”. When things come easy to certain kids, we see them giving up when things are challenging. So, we hold them responsible for pushing through. It’s not our job to take away the pain (unfortunately, because we so want to take it away for them), but we can show them the way, cheer them on, and tell them they CAN handle the “pain” or the “hard”. As Glennon Doyle says “we can do hard things”. We tell our kids daily and weekly, “preserve. My 7 year old has known the definition because we say it so often in our family. Keep going. Don’t give up. Persevere! The 12 yr old rolls his eyes but, I know he will take it with him as he navigates life. ❤️

    1. Molly- All I can say is “me too” on the “Don’t Quit” for me most of the time that’s due to getting bored easily. Not helpful that I am now aware of my Enneagram type (7) prone to this behavior. Yikes – and not a license to quit!!! What can I say but moving to the next level of anything takes not only the stacking of our good habits but also the trading up to new ones – it is hard. And a lot to manage. – especially will little people watching! I’ve got some (what I would label as transformation goals) this year. Like body transformation, rearranging when I do certain activities in order to maximize their effects, etc. Q1 will be the hardest… I’m in it with you for February girl… you inspire me 😘

    2. Two things: Molly, I love that you mentioned the graphic because I downloaded it to print out too. Love it! 😊

      Second, I totally relate to the self-sabotage thing. Seriously, such a bad habit. If I have so little faith in myself, how do I expect to impact the people around me, starting with my family?

      If I’m telling my kids they can do hard things and then I buckle at the slightest resistance, I’m not doing any of us any favours. So grateful for your honesty here.

  4. For this week, I will make my list. I’m trying to “get clear” on what I want. So that’s always scary. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Also, I have some big financial goals this year which are scary because it means change of habits. That’s hard. But we can do hard things…right? I need to listen as I’m getting the message that this is my season to lay low, slow down, and be still. That’s scary too.

    1. Molly – love your honesty here. Slow + clarity + working on big goal = sounds like a year of preparation for greater things… I’m excited for you! If you want any encouragement… Chris and I took 2+ years working through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University – he loved it and I hated it but it was necessary. We paid off all of our debt and built up our savings. The long journey changes us – courage developed a little bit at a time makes us strong. It is hard – but you can do hard things!

  5. I could certainly write about and work on each of the 6 attributes, but the one that deserves the most attention in my life right now is “Pain has a purpose”. I have struggled with a level of emotional pain for the past two and a half years that I didn’t think I could get through when it first began. Some nights I didn’t sleep for one minute and the ones where I did, I’d wake up wondering how much longer I’d have to face the pain on this earth. Looking back, I know the Lord gave me the strength to get through the worst of it and He did allow me to go through it because there was a greater purpose for it. I refused until lately to accept that there could possibly be good that could come out of pain for not only me, but more importantly, my 11 year old daughter. Our lives were turned upside down after her father and I separated two and a half years ago and then further divorced. Through the loneliness, I have finally, after 42 years, gotten to understand who I was for the first 39 years and who I am now. A new creation. There was a purpose for hitting rock bottom – my salvation. My intention, as long as it aligns with God’s will, is to use my experience to help encourage and mentor both married women going through struggles, as well as separated and divorced women who need hope that there is still a purpose for them and a purpose for their pain. I pray that ultimately I can be used by God to save as many marriages as I can.

    1. Lauren – Thank you for sharing your struggle. I really needed it especially today. I just walked into my house from a meeting that left me wondering if I really could get through this much emotional pain. The situation is complicated and although I’m on the other side of the pain that came to me – now God is really asking me chose to walk into the pain for the benefit of two little people. It’s forcing me to have a tremendous amount of courage. God has great plans for your future Lauren 😘

      I’m thankful to all of you for sharing – stepping out to find other strong women (which all of you are) to become more courageous with was the accountability I needed to face this hard thing this year – w/o compromising the exciting side of courage like Pursuing Your Passion – which I hope all of us do at some point. Love you friends and need you!

    2. Sweet Lauren. Thank you for sharing your heart. I found myself in a similar situation many (24) years ago and can still vividly remember those days you describe of not sleeping and wondering how long… Oh, it was much longer than I ever could have imagined in those early days!

      Hindsight is a beautiful teacher, and–as you can already see–God is working in the midst of the mess to re-make you into a stunning witness for his glory. He will take your ashes and give you beauty in exchange. He’s at work, even if it’s not clear yet. Hugs. J

      1. Wow, Janine. Thank you so much for your beautiful words and support. You are absolutely correct that “hindsight is a beautiful teacher”. I am hoping that I will continue to learn from and grow from each life experience and hopefully be able to glorify God in the process.
        Thank you again for your message.

  6. Since I am not by any means a naturally courageous person, each one of these attributes of courage seem daunting in and of themselves. BUT, God. It’s easy for me to fall into the trap of thinking and saying, “I’m just not daring. DARE and RISK are four-letter words, and I don’t like four-letter words.” The first attribute COMFORTABLE WITH UNCOMFORTABLE is the one I will need to focus on more this year as my hubby retires in two months. He is a very daring person and loves to try new things and go on adventures. For example, he still jumps off 35-foot cliffs when he goes primitive camping each summer up in PA, while I stay home! Not that I’ll ever reach that level of risk taking, I need to be open to saying “yes” when he brings up an idea, trip or adventure that I may not be totally comfortable with at the time. My first answer tends to be “no” without even giving it a thought. I have been praying for this season in our lives through the years. I don’t want to miss out on an opportunities God has for me. May HE grant us all more courage in 2019!

  7. Number 1 is one I need to work on the most. I think I keep expecting for life to shift and this part to change…but maybe it will always feel uncomfortable. Maybe that is ok. Not all of life is, but I am going to give myself permission to be ok when it isn’t. I don’t have to have all the answers. Freedom!

    1. Betsy- Freedom indeed! I love your perspective – “not all of life is…” I’m looking for places that are anchoring me right now, not for security or comfort, but to inform that what is working should remain while the other parts evolve. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I would say the attribute I need to work on most is pain has a purpose. I am currently in a season that is way out of my comfort zone, where fear is around every corner and where I am ready to call it quits on any given day. I know God has a plan and He is in control. So on those days when calling it quits sounds like a plan. I look back on what God has already done for me and remind myself that if I give in to the idea of quitting then the enemy wins. There is so much at stake – my family.

    Three years ago my daughter started college, I started my own business and my husbands job came to an end. So my word for this year is infuse. This group is about courage. I like the idea of starting my day with infused courage.

    1. Sandy- Thanks so much for reminding us to look back on God’s faithfulness over the course of our lives. I remember when I really took the verse Romans 8:28 to the Lord and asked Him to guarantee that this verse was true for me. His response was Hebrews 11:6. I knew right then and there that He was encouraging me to just keep coming to Him daily with my fear, pain, and struggle. It’s the coming to Him regularly that leads to the reward. Thanks for digging this memory up for me – I still need the reminder. Standing with you in courage my friend. xo, Melissa

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