You’re not lazy. You’re just afraid.

youre-not-lazy-courageous-living
 

You’re not lazy, you know.

You’re just afraid.

That’s why you buy up self-help programs and sign up for e-courses and then don’t actually implement the changes.

You’re afraid, hon. Just afraid. No biggie. We all are.

You think you’re missing something. You think that other people “get it” and you don’t.

Nope. There are only two things happening when other people seem to be having a smoother time.

One is that they are completely full of shit. Posturing. Paddling hard in a sinking canoe. Looking good on paper, but unable to look themselves in the eyes when they wash their face at night. Tired. Oh, so tired.

The other is that they are comfortable with their fear. It arises, but because they don’t resist it, hate it, or try to get rid of it, it doesn’t suck their energy dry. They’ve developed tools and strategies for walking through the fear–because it’s part of life, part of how things just go.

It’s not that you aren’t working hard enough.

It’s that until someone pairs a willingness to feel their fear with prioritizing their own accountability to themselves, it’s hard to get much of anywhere.

What? What did you just say? What does that even mean?

What I said is that you need two things:

1.) Willingness to feel your fear, and

2.) You need to prioritize your accountability to yourself.

Imagine Jane. Jane’s like you–intelligent, a good head on her shoulders, willing to make good decisions. She’s always longed for something–maybe to devote a month to yoga, to overhaul her whole wardrobe, to have a baby, to get her MBA. Naturally, she’s afraid (because anyone with a pulse who hasn’t totally shut themselves down will feel fear).

Jane feels her fear, and then she makes a decision: I’m doing this. I don’t know exactly how. I don’t have all the answers. I just know that somehow, some way, I’m doing this. This is what to do when you feel lazy.

 

Why you quit on stuff

You quit because you’re afraid, and you’re shutting down your fear in any number of ways, instead of dealing with it.

It seems like something of a paradox, but when you shut down your fear, you also shut down your passion. You can’t selectively shut down any emotion. Dr. Brene Brown says this about working with shame (hat tip: shame? Also falls under the umbrella of fear).

That’s the problem with shutting down fear–you also close yourself off from the good stuff that’s going to get you through every single hard time.

When you let passion rule your realm, you’ll move mountains to get shit done, and it will only feel like “work” in that good, “head hitting the pillow at the end of the day feeling satiated” kind of way.

 

You’re not lazy; you’re afraid

When you stall.
When you procrastinate.
When you make two steps of progress and then five steps back.
When you lie about your progress.
When you don’t tell anyone of your plans so that you’ll never need to lie about your progress.
When you tell everyone of your plans so that you’ll be accountable, and it totally backfires.
When you sit down with your lucky pencil and a perfectly quiet work environment and then suddenly it’s all too quiet and you just gotta get out of there and go to the coffee shop but then at the coffee shop you can’t fucking concentrate.

When all of those things happen, you’re not lazy. You’re afraid.

Hopefully, you’re not too afraid to decide that today’s the day you’re going to…deal with it. Even if it scares the bejeesus out of you to make even one step in the direction of your soul’s calling, that’s exactly what it looks like to work with and through your fear. That’s exactly what it looks like to be with it.

No superhero antics required. Ordinary courage is all it takes.

What courage really looks like

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I was having a conversation with Andrea Owen about courage when I said, “I don’t think that I’m courageous because I do these big, grandiose things with my life. On paper, my life is pretty ordinary–husband, house, kid, career, and always plenty of laundry to do.”

Yet a lot of people end up here, at Your Courageous Life, thinking, “Courageous people do big stuff, and my life is so ordinary.”

There are plenty of people who are seeking to “become more courageous” so that they can quit their jobs and travel the world, or start a non-profit that saves lives, or write the Next Great American Novel, or they think that anyone who is courageous walks through life not giving any fucks what people think of them and always doing whatever they want.

While those things certainly require courage, that’s not the kind of courage that I’m particularly interested in. That’s not really what this website is about.

(I might be a little late in having publicly stated that, all these years in–forgive me).

The courage that myself and my clients, coaching trainees, and program readers have been most interested in is the courage that it takes to:

  • Prioritize what matters most–to stop telling themselves every reason not to go after what they really desire, and start really making it happen.
  • Know themselves–to start filling their lives with the activities that truly feel authentic.
  • Speak up–to respectfully and powerfully speaking up when something doesn’t feel right.
  • Totally trust themselves–to start making decisions without endless hesitation or back-and forth.
  • To love all parts of themselves–to get totally honest with all parts of who you are, and give yourself the love, self-respect, and compassion you deserve. (Part of that love? Actually feeling like you deserve it).

Yes, These Things Take Courage

When people are afraid to prioritize what matters most, they spend lifetimes swearing they’ll start without actually starting; swearing they’ll finish without ever finishing.

When people don’t know themselves, their lives are run by perfectionism or trying to live according to a Pinterest board. This is particularly prevalent among high-achieving women who know how to do it all right and tick off all the right boxes, yet something remains elusive and unfulfilling.

When people don’t speak up, they’re constantly “taking it” from those around them. Nay-sayers, negativity, sarcasm, and wet-blanket comments create endless energetic drains.

When people don’t totally trust themselves, the doubt and second-guessing not only make things feel impossible–that pattern sucks the joy out of life.

When people don’t love all parts of themselves, they have trouble truly connecting with others. They struggle to feel like they can enter a room and show up just as they are. They judge others, which kills countless marriages and friendships.

Ordinary on Paper, Extraordinary in Life

If I’m totally transparent about how I practice courage, I’d add to that “ordinary on paper” statement that I made, earlier.

My “ordinary life” of husband, house, kid, career is actually pretty extraordinary. It’s extraordinary because lives that are infused with connection, truth-telling, or being totally real about what you really want are still not the norm.

What does a courageous life look like? For me, it’s:

Laughter, people. It means a shit-ton of laughter, most days.

Feeling like people “get” me.

Doing very little that’s about how it “should” look or to fulfill obligations. The things that do fall into that category (smiling instead of rolling my eyes at day care bureaucracy; coming through for a friend even if it’s an inconvenience for my schedule) are things that hold a larger purpose for me.

Seeing the wounds behind shitty behavior–and when a relationship has a toxic dynamic, I have the self-respect to let it go.

Crying with kindreds on those “this day really sucks” kinds of days, with zero self-consciousness.

Courage isn’t something you “have” or even what you “are.” It’s what you choose to practice.

Yes, you can practice courage in order to have a life that looks amazing on paper. Absolutely.

The bigger win is whether or not you’re practicing the kind of courage that has you laughing, crying, and connecting with the people you love the most (and putting yourself on that list of “people you love”).

A courageous life is defined not by what you do, but by the love in it.

it’s all about the people: how to create a support team

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#CCTP2015 is kicking off this weekend.

(!).

It’s hard to believe, but a year ago we ran our inaugural training of the Courageous Coaching Training Program. I say “we” because initially, the two beautiful souls Valerie Tookes and Rachael Maddox were only going to assist during the kick-off retreat weekend that’s held outside of San Francisco, before the rest of the training goes virtual. At the end of our weekend together, I proposed that we keep-on keeping-on, because we were having a seriously fun time.

Valerie Tookes   Rachael Maddox
valerie2015   rachael2015

 
The experience of working with others collaboratively has created the most fun, most nourishing, most supportive year of my business–ever. Hands down. I wouldn’t think it would be possible to beat that, but this year, four of our 2014 graduates are coming on as mentor coaches:

 

Lara Heacock   Michelle Crank
lara2015   michelle2015
 
Molly Larkin   Natalia Chouklina
molly2015   natalia2015

 

How to Create A Support Team

Follow the energy. Just paying attention when you talk about an idea reveals everything–what happens in your body? Are you excited and lifted up? Or are you feeling, on some gut-level, like something just isn’t quite right or might not work out. As I learned in 2014, “as in the beginning, so in the middle, so in the end.” If you feel uncomfortable the first time the idea of working with someone is presented to you, there’s a reason for that.

Get clear on leadership structures. Yeah, it’s more “democratic” if everyone is in agreement and no one leaves the table until that agreement is reached. But, um, that also takes a lot of time, and things that take time drain spontaneity, creativity, and innovation, not to mention…it’s exhausting to go five rounds until everyone is happy. If everyone is in alignment about who is making the final call and what the roles are, things go much more smoothly.

Let people show off their particular genius. I wholeheartedly believe in what these women have to offer. If any of them were to lead a class next week and ask me to act as wing-woman, I’d sign right up to support them, sit back, and watch their genius at work. Each of these women has a lot in common with me, but they have many things that are different. Their perspectives and invitations round out everything.

Don’t ask for hand-outs. Your support team needs something, financial or energetic or otherwise, in exchange for their time. I’m putting my peeps up for a weekend in a four-star hotel with catered meals on my dime, and that’s just for starters (there will be other surprises in store, ladies!). Asking people simply to volunteer their time “just because” while you sit back and rake in the dough on a paid offering? Not a classy move. Consider that energetic support is also an exchange.

Think of them as family. Your support team is your chosen family. You’ll inevitably have moments of getting sick of one another, or thinking, “That move wasn’t knocking it out of the park” about someone’s choices or even feeling avoidant around doing the actual work. Yet there’s something about sticking together through both the highs that are exciting and the moments of ho-hum, that creates something bonded and brilliant: a sisterhood.

I can’t wait to play, this weekend!

Feel like following along, this weekend? Hit up Instagram and search for the hashtag #cctp2015.