Courage is a quality that everybody wants to possess, some more than others. It is strength in the face of fear, grief, disappointment, despair or failure. Courage is more than simply a feeling, it’s action; action despite setbacks or limiting emotions.
Living a life of courage takes will-power, strength of character and a state of mind that is resilient and focused on purpose instead of pain. If you’ve ever dared to pursue your goals and faced obstacles along the way, you know what I’m talking about.
In a very insightful interview, author of Daring Greatly and Rising Strong, Brené Brown asks Oprah Winfrey questions about living a brave and courageous life through her personal and professional challenges. Having taken a radical leap from 25 years of hosting the very popular The Oprah Winfrey Show to setting up her own venture, Oprah Winfrey Network, Oprah shares some of her greatest as well as lowest moments. Most importantly she shares the lessons she learnt along the way as she courageously worked to make her dream a reality.
As I watched the interview, I reflected upon my own personal and professional journey and took some valuable reminders and lessons away from the exchange. I list some of my take-aways.
10 Lessons Learnt From the Interview on Life of Courage.
1. Vulnerability is not a weakness: Sometimes, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable gives people the strength to find their own strengths. People relate most with those who have walked in their shoes in one way or another and can offer them hope in the face of despair.
2. Motive is everything: What is the true pure intention of taking any action? Whether it’s doing someone a favour, pursuing a goal, posting something on social media, refusing to take a particular action – what is the reason for doing any of the things we do? The reason for the action taken is often what comes back to us, whether what comes back is something we want or don’t want.
3. You cannot live a brave life without disappointing some people: The people who are “rooting for your rise” will never be disappointed when you say, “No” to their requests because they know your intentions are pure. Only those who have their own expectations of you and their own agenda will be disappointed, and their disappointment doesn’t matter.
4. Filter feedback: Not all feedback is useful and not all feedback should be ignored. Have a ‘cabinet’; a trusted core group of people who have your best interests at heart. Give them the permission to be honest with you even if the truth they tell you is brutal. You will be able to trust these people because their feedback is not mean-spirited and is meant to help you stay on the true path of your purpose.
5. The people around you are your mirror: They reflect who you are and the thoughts you harbour back to yourself. The people you surround yourself with will often say to you what you keep saying to yourself. End all negative narratives about yourself and replace them with a positive mindset and self-story.
6. Avoid narratives about other people based on assumptions: Everyone has their own story and struggle.
7. Own the fullness of who you are without ego, arrogance or apology: It is better to be full of gratitude, goodness and grace than to be empty and hungry for them. Fill yourself up and touch others with the abundance of who you become.
8. Be kind when telling stories about other people: Words spoken in jest or a mean spirit can be extremely destructive to the soul of the subject. One of my favourite quotes comes to mind, “Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – (John Watson)
9. The narratives: The narratives that affect us the most are often the ones we have bought into because we are thinking about them ourselves.
10 Failure is a guide. It’s there to show us which way to go and which way to avoid. It’s never the end of the road. It was great to hear this because I covered it in one of my previous works.
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