Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Courage Quotes: Turn Quotes into Action

We see courage quotes all over the place. One courage quote makes us feel like we can take over the world, while another quote makes us feel wise and accomplished just for having read it. But the truth is, the quotes aren't going to change us, only our actions will. An all time great act of courage in action is shown in this now famous picture of one of the chinese students standing up for what he believed in, and forcing the Chinese tanks to turn back in Tienemen Square. We may not keep tanks back, but we can still be courageous.

My participants in the Virtue Experiment have set some great goals that I am sure will bring action. The Courage goals haven't come easily for the participants, and I think that's because they want to make sure their goals are meaningful. Here are some of the thoughtful goals:

I think my biggest fear is the fear of failure. I believe that the fear of not succeeding prevents me from beginning many things for fear I will fail, either myself, others or the project. It does not take courage for me to be myself with others, to be honest in a relationship or to get up in front of a group of people. Those things aren't things I have a hard time with. I took a look at the different aspects of my life... physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, etc. and the one I accomplish the least due to lack of courage is physical. My body is capable of much more than I allow it to accomplish because of fear. Fear of failure. I am also quite a whimp when it comes to physical pain and pushing myself past the limits of comfortable to reach a new physical milestone takes courage for me.
I am registered to run a half-marathon in the fall. I have plenty of time to train and be prepared, but have delayed getting serious about it. I need to pick up my courage and make significant progress this month. I have set a certain number of miles that I'd like to be able to run by the end of April. Perhaps running doesn't require courage for most people, but it's the getting started and sticking with it that takes it for me. I will overcome my fear of failure and open the door to great things by having the couage to begin.
I sure hope this works for you... I'll keep you posted


Don't we all deal with this same fear of failure on some level? By recognizing it, I think Amberly is shining a bright light on her fear. Often, simply recognizing our fear helps us realize how ridiculous it is.

Here is another participant who included a brief report of her Month of Integrity:

As for the month of integrity, I'm happy to report that I have not eaten a shred of cheese since the start of Lent! I made the commitment and although it has been extremely difficult, I have stuck to it! I'm very proud of myself and have realized many other unintended side effects - this month I have gone to the gym more frequently, which paired with abstaining from all cheese has helped me to lose 5 pounds! I guess that I feel healthier although I miss my cheese terribly...

(Great job! I am so happy to hear when people keep committments. You can't accomplish your goals if you aren't true to yourself and what you belive in.)

For the next month, the month of Courage, I'm not completely sure what my goal is. I often think that I am too nice and let people take advantage of me more than I should. I have a hard time saying no to others and often spread myself too thin because of it or wind up taking on other peoples' problems when most of the time I can't even tackle my own. Since I always want to make everyone happy I have a hard time doing what I know is best for me. I guess if I could integrate courage into this month in any way I would want to have the courage to speak up for myself, make myself a priority, and have the courage to know that I cannot make everyone happy but that if nothing else, I have to make myself happy. In the end, true strength and courage is being happy with who you are and shedding the idea that what other people think is paramount. Hopefully this month will help me to discover my voice and give me the courage to use it. We'll see how it goes....

Every goal is so different, but that's because people are so different. Here are a few other brief goals that my participants made for the Month of Courage:

-start driving around my neighborhood. :) This may or may not include my scooter bike.

-share my feelings on faith with 20 new people

-find a new apartment, and MOVE OUT!

-I have decided to move forward on getting information to be certified as a personal trainer. I plan to talk to at least 3 trainers at the gym I go to to find out where they received their certification and what they recommend. By the end of the month my goal is to have an action plan in place.

-This month my goal has two parts. 1) Don’t put off having difficult conversations 2) Don’t be afraid to tell people no. I have a hard time with both of those things. Just this week the symphony called me to ask me to buy season tickets. I couldn’t tell him no so I said I would think about it. That’s not true. I’m not going to think about it I just didn’t want to say no. This month I’m going to say no when I mean no.

I will update this with other goals as they come in. The thing I love about these goals is this: these participants OWN their goals. They chose them, and that makes them personally comitted to them. Own your goal for the month, and feel free to share it here.


  1. I think the thing I find most ironic about courage and fear is that most people are really afraid to try because of the fear of failure. The only way we really fail is if we quit or don't try at all. I have always so very loved Thomas Edison's example with the invention of the light bulb. He failed over 10,000 times during his run. Yet, he never quit and gave up. His response was merely that he found over 10,000 ways that it didn't work. If anyone hasn't already, I think perhaps the best book written for courage and failure is John C. Maxwell's "Failing Forward"... One of my all time favorites.

  2. saturday was my half-way mark in relation to my goal this month. I'm pleased to report that I am half-way to my april mileage goal.