Moving Forward Takes Courage


This post is part of the June topic in Synchroblog about “ordinary courage.” Other participating bloggers will be listed at the end of this blog.

I’ve done some stupid things in my life that took courage. I quit a teaching job with a secure income in order to make lots of money in a multi-level marketing business. I had two children under the age of four and I was making $100 a month. Call me gullible. Call me ignorant. Call me courageous.

I thought I could make more money doing it full time. I telephoned the out-going governor of Wisconsin and offered to send him a business opportunity like he’d never seen before. Politics is a dirty business but I guess he wasn’t ready to sell soap. Call me naive. Call me shameless. Call me courageous.

 Many years later, as good as I was at pinching pennies, I invested what should have been the foundation of a retirement account in a dot-com business venture. It never got off the ground. Call me greedy. Call me angry. Call me a courageous fool.

Yet my wife and I survived my courageous, but stupid, choices.

At the same time, I’ve done some courageous things that turned out well. I found a job selling specialty medical equipment between teaching years that matched my teaching income and more. It still took courage to quit a monthly teaching income for a commissioned income, remembering the first disaster.

Later, I quit selling medical equipment for someone else, sold the house and moved to Tennessee to start my own business. After six months, I thought this might have been one of my stupid choices. We were two weeks from not being able to buy groceries…and I still paid for a mailing list and postage.

To make a long story short: I sold the business after eleven years, and still received rent on the building that when added to my wife’s income helped pay my way through seminary. Some acts of courage pay off.

Going to seminary seemed like another act of courage.

But it wasn’t. That didn’t require courage. I was confident that I was called to enter the service of God as an ordained minister.

It took more courage to face a denominational candidacy committee that presented obstacles to the calling I was following than it took to give up generating an income.

Courage is choosing to act by doing what your heart tells you to do when fear is a viable and sometimes a better option.

I like the way Brené Brown states it in Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead:  “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”

The problem with courage is that it works on the same principle as patience. Most people want patience but they don’t want to have to use it. Most people want courage but they don’t want to have to use it. Something has to test it in order for you to use it.

Yet if you’re going to follow your heart, you’ve got to exercise courage in order to take the next step…using wisdom gained from your experience, your knowledge of yourself, and your research.

Some courageous actions may yield positive outcomes and some may not. Acting when there is the possibility of failure takes courage. And you can’t move forward if you don’t risk failure.

The challenge in life is that if you’re not moving forward, acting with courage, the pendulum swings in the direction of moving backward…toward the past, toward inaction, inertia. You move forward or backward. It’s your choice.

If you want to move forward, it will take courage. To write and publish a book takes courage. You run the risk of someone saying ugly things about it if they don’t hold the same opinion. To change jobs takes courage. You run the risk that it won’t be like you expected. To commit yourself to a lifelong partner takes courage because it takes work to stay connected.

It takes courage to become everything you were created to be.

How will you have to exercise courage in order to take the next step with your life?

These bloggers also posted on this topic:

This Is Courage by Jen Bradbury

Being Vulnerable by Phil Lancaster

Everyday Bravery: Overcoming the Fear of Being Wrong by Jessica

Moving Forward Takes Courage by Paul W. Meier

How to Become a Flasher by Glenn Hager

Ordinary Courage by Elaine Hansen

Courage, Hope, Generosity by Carol Kuniholm

The Courage to Fail by Wendy McCaig

The Greatest Act of Courage by Jeremy Myers

Sharing One’s Heart by K. W. Leslie

All I See Is Rocks by Tim Nichols

I Wonder What Would Happen by Liz Dyer

What is Ordinary Courage? by Jennifer Stahl

Loving Courageously by Doreen A. Mannion

Heart Cry: The Courage to Confess by Elizabeth Chapin

The Act to the Miraculous by VisionHub

the spiritual practice of showing up & telling the truth by Kathy Escobar

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16 Responses to Moving Forward Takes Courage

  1. Pingback: Link List for June 2013 Synchroblog – Ordinary Courage | synchroblog

  2. Pingback: I Wonder What Would Happen | Grace Rules Weblog

  3. Pingback: It’s What We Teach | Minnowspeaks Weblog

  4. Pingback: All I See Is Rocks | Full Contact Christianity

  5. Pingback: the spiritual practice of showing up & telling the truth | kathy escobar.

  6. Pingback: Courage – The Act To The Miraculous - VisionHub : VisionHub

  7. Pingback: The Courage to Fail | Wendy McCaig

  8. Wendy McCaig says:

    “Courage is choosing to act by doing what your heart tells you to do when fear is a viable and sometimes a better option.” – Oh sooooo true! You and I took a similar angle on this topic. We both made a lot of mistakes along the way but I do think failure can also teach us some valuable lessons. Enjoyed your post.

  9. Pingback: How to Become a Flasher | Glenn Hager

  10. Glenn Hager says:

    Paul – You wrote beautifully about the practical decisions we make along the way in our lives. I don’t think you can know at the time if it is courage or stupidity. Yet, being adverse to risk is a sure way to never uncover our true self. I am in one of those crazy “write a book/start a new career” phase at a time in life when most people are thinking about their retirement.

  11. Pingback: Heart Cry: The Courage to Confess | Elizabeth Chapin ~ ChapinChick

  12. Pingback: The Positive Courage of Jesus Christ - VisionHub : VisionHub

  13. Pingback: Positive Courage In Biblical Times - VisionHub : VisionHub

  14. Pingback: Loving Courageously | Religious Refuse

  15. Jeremy Myers says:

    Ha! Great post. Some of your decisions sound eerily similar to many of mine in my own life. I sometimes get sick thinking of all the money I have lost in various decisions.

    Oh well. What I love is how you end. It takes real courage to pick ourselves up and move on from some of the mistakes in our past.

  16. Pingback: Heart Cry: The Courage to Confess | Wendy Elizabeth Chapin

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