My off-Broadway debut took place at a school gymnasium in the rocking, junior high version of “The Wiz.” I roared as the Cowardly Lion, the character who feels he isn’t brave enough to play his role as King of the Beasts. Of course, you probably remember the end of the story; when the Lion meets the Wizard of Oz, he pours some liquid into a dish and tells the Lion to drink. Oz informs the Lion that he needs to drink it, because courage is always inside someone, but it really can’t be called courage until it’s swallowed. After the Lion drank, he felt full of courage.
Now, let’s back up to much earlier in the story when the Lion tells Dorothy and friends, “My life is simply unbearable without a bit of courage.”
I’ve been reflecting on that quote. At InnerWill one of our Five Practices of Values Based Leadership (VBL) is Taking Action, and a component of that is Leading With Courage. We can all use a little courage right now. Personally, I’m finding the courage to embrace freedom – the freedom of doing, and the freedom for being.
What do I mean by “freedom for being”? In our current environment, some of my “doing” activities can’t take place and I struggle with that. No travel, no entertainment outside my home, no being in my workspace, and little interaction with people other than virtual.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got my to do list and tasks are being accomplished. But I’m talking about really exploring why those tasks and activities are important to me. How does the “why” help me build more awareness of who I really am, and who I want to be? What emotions am I feeling, naming, and exploring? Can I accept that these emotions are a part of being human? What does having compassion for every one of my emotions feel like? Not just the positive ones, but the ones that I have a tendency to push down – like sadness, frustration, and weariness. Is any one emotion better than the other?
I want to control all of my emotions, and I need courage to let go of that control and look at how all my emotions can support me in my quest to live on purpose. I need courage to not let current circumstances get in the way of really being present – for myself and for my family. Family is one of my core values, and I want to live that value in a way that supports and honors them, even when I don’t have all the answers or know what tomorrow will bring. I need courage to be okay with that. I need courage to explore possibilities and try something new. We are in a new way of living and being, but that doesn’t mean I can’t live into my purpose.
For me, living on purpose is working to create a brighter tomorrow. What new thing can I do right now to influence that purpose and have a positive impact?
What could you use a little courage for right now?
There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid and that kind of courage you have in plenty. – L Frank Baum