Have you ever been scared to do something you really wanted? Has fear ever gripped you and paralyzed you, causing you to continue doing what you already know. Instead of stepping out with courage you sink back into the world of the known and comfortable.
I let fear win while playing college football at JMU. I was recruited and given a full scholarship to play football under the premise that I would be playing linebacker. Upon entering camp I was told that they would like to try me out as a full back as they felt this could be a good fit for me. Well, as a freshmen with only a couple of days under my belt, I was scared to request a meeting to discuss this change. Instead I worked as hard as I could and earned the starting position as a redshirt freshmen.
Although this may sound like success it didn’t feel like it to me. You see, playing linebacker was my passion. I absolutely loved playing defense and I felt (and still do) that this was my strong suit. As crazy as this may sound, I still to this day am upset with myself for not having the courage to respectfully request a meeting and plead my case. My silence cost me the opportunity to play the position I love, as once you earn a starting position it is next to impossible to persuade a coaching staff that a change of position is a good idea, especially one that puts you on the other side of the ball.
I was recently struck by a quote in the movie We Bought a Zoo. The father is speaking to the son and explains that sometimes in life we must be willing to have “20 seconds of insane courage”. As the movie progressed, my mind continually went back to this quote… “20 seconds of insane courage”.
I wonder what would have happened at JMU if I had taken 20 seconds of courage to respectfully discuss my thoughts. And I am sure as you read this you can recall pivotal moments in your life when you lacked the courage that was needed. However, when we break down courage to a 20 second period it seems to be something we can do. Looking fear in the eye and taking a step of courage for 20 seconds feels doable.
In business I have learned to put fear aside and make decisions and take action with courage. And, as I look back on these moments I am reminded that in fact they rarely took more than 20 seconds. When we act with courage we are often met with the reality that what we feared was nothing to fear. We allow fear to paint a picture that rarely exists.
I encourage you to take 20 seconds of courage when fear is holding you back. You will find that the greatest breakthroughs come when you put fear behind you and step into the unknown. Living in your comfort zone today will only create the “what ifs” of discomfort in your future.
Discussion: I would love to hear your stories. What were some situations that you have faced that required courage and how did you handle them?