There is so much that comes to mind for people when the word “courage” is mentioned. It’s the topic of one of the more famous Socratic conversations, “What is courage?” Let’s start with the dictionary definition:
- The ability to do something that frightens [you].
- Strength in the face of pain or grief.
In my experience, courage is correlated with two other traits: vulnerability, and authenticity. Where there is one, there are also the other two. This came up for me recently, as in the past few days, in my life.
In the beginning of this week, I got an email from my property manager. One of the tenants in one of five properties I own in Indianapolis just moved out, and left the unit in pretty bad shape. The renovation invoice came in at over $8,000.
Shock, then panic, and then despair.
I really don’t have that money. These properties provide me with barely enough to survive (they’re in Indiana, after all, not out here in California), plus I’m trying to grow my coaching business, which means an occasional bust when I try something new and it doesn’t work. How can I possibly get that money? I can’t just leave it vacant. And I don’t have the money that they’re asking for to make it rent-ready.
This is where courage came in.
I didn’t know what to do. I had no actions to take. I didn’t even know what options I had to choose from. I set aside all of my desire to make it seem like I had everything together. I set aside all of my desire to appear to be perfect.
I asked for help.
I sat down and wrote a facebook post explaining my situation, detailing what I was looking for, and who I needed help from. Look at how many comments there are!
Within a few hours, I had offers for phone calls, advice on what to research, and how best to handle my situation. This alone worked wonders for my stress levels, because for me I feel most stressed when I’m in a bind and have no actions to take.
Now, only 2 days later, I have a friend assisting me with creating a financial plan that will get me through this. Additionally, another friend who lives in Indianapolis has offered to stop by and take a look at it. He’s a contractor and can give me a bid, and do the work for very little. Best of all, I probably won’t need a loan at all!
How did this happen? Courage. Authenticity. Vulnerability.
Courage to face the possibility of other people’s judgments.
Authenticity to reveal what was actually going on with me, with no posing or posturing to make myself look like I had everything together when in fact I did not.
Vulnerability to put myself in a position where people could attack me.
And here’s the thing: there’s no guarantee that it’ll end up with such good results every time. That’s the courage part. I had no idea how other people would respond. There might be people out there who read the post and dismissed me as financially irresponsible, or a bumbling fool, or whatever other judgments they might pass on me. I needed to face that and be ok with that happening in order to take this action.
All I can say is, without courage, I wouldn’t have this situation under control at all, let alone in just 2 days.
Please tell me where in your life you could use some courage. I’d love to know!
You can email me: Steve@CoachSteveYang.com
Or post to my facebook business page: https://business.facebook.com/coach.steve.y
Or if you want to talk to me about it, you can schedule a free 25-minute call here: https://calendly.com/coachsteveyang/25min