Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Week Six - Word 2: Courage

SO following on from yesterday's bloggy about my Word Challenge...  today's word is:


As I was walking around my river circuit this afternoon, my little brain was ticking over about how I was going to present this word today, and why it had become one of the chosen few...  I have a lot of valid reasons for choosing this particular word - and naturally, it flowed quite easily after 'FORGIVENESS' yesterday - you need to forgive in order to move forward, but you can't move forward unless you can summon up that first step of courage...

AHHHH yes - you see where I'm heading with this one already don't you?!!  SO many little intricate links going on here...!

SO, walking like a lunatic this arvy (as I do!) and "following my not-so-yellow-nor-brick-road", my head goes into overload thinking this one through...  I had a little flashback to the Wizard of Oz - given that the word brought up memories of the Lion and his quest for courage! The Cowardly Lion - with all his false bravado - was actually quite broken, thinking he needed a dose of 'courage' from the Wizard in order to "be the lion he was meant to be"...

So I started to realise that I was a bit like the Lion... somewhat 'tough' and harsh on the exterior, lots of 'fluff' on the outside to hide what was actually going on underneath...  

... and as mentioned in my post yesterday, the reality was actually a very different story...

NOW, getting past my character analogy here, let's get down to business...  

COURAGE...  We probably link that with 'strength' and 'valour', tied in with a significant amount of 'fight' - and associate that with big things like war or heroics, where people really do go well and truly beyond the "call of duty" in the name of survival.

... but courage doesn't have to be that "formal" or "big" either.  It can pack a mighty punch in small doses and on small scales, and still have the power to impact a life in massive ways!

When I think of 'courage' in terms of weightloss, there's quite a few elements that spring to mind...
  • Courage to acknowledge faults - and let's face it, we don't LIKE to acknowledge we have faults - but we wouldn't be in an uncomfortable position if there wasn't some fault going on there...
  • Courage to take accountability - for past and future actions, and accountability for SELF
  • Courage to initiate change - knowing that 'failure' only happens when you don't try at all - and as such, the courage to accept what cannot be changed (as per forgiveness)
  • Courage to face and break through fears, barriers and comfort zones - and quite often, "the unknown"
  • Courage to make proactive choices for a better life, and lifestyle, on a daily basis.

I never did think of myself as someone who was 'courageous'...  not when I was so willing to give up on my life.  I certainly didn't think I was courageous when I started my weightloss mission three years back - I expected to fail - I just assumed I didn't have what it takes (too overwhelming, too big, too incapable, didn't deserve it, etc etc) - I was still waiting to fail right up until this year!! That's NOT courageous...!

... until I realised (only recently) that I've been "fighting the good fight" on so many sub-levels, and the courage has been slowly brewing and growing for the better part of my entire weightloss mission!  Three years later, and it really is only NOW that I'm starting to see just what potential I have going on underneath this surface.... !

I've had so many mini-victories over the years - barriers and fears I've had to face - and have (for the most part) broken through!  A few of my stand-out moments include: (and these are just a few - there's HEAPS of small ones too!)...
  • Overcoming my fear of public exercise - from crying when a car drove past in the dark, and barely making it a few steps out my front gate on my first walk - to now walking my 12kms in a hot pink singlet top and JOGGING my way around my favourite walking track (as I did again this afternoon!)
  • Returning to the pool after 15 years of thinking I was too hideous to be seen swimming - was nearly in tears on my way through that gate, and now I'm back in that pool again, swiming and doing Aqua classes and LOVE it, am just like a little kid again!
  • My fear of failure in my career - hardest move for me, quitting a 'stable job' to fly solo with my business - that meant I DID need talent, DID need business acumen and DID need to become totally independent (single girl, single income!) - one of the biggest decisions of my life, and it was a total leap of faith that I was capable of doing that (when I didn't believe in myself at all)...   Two years later, and I'm still doing okay! Girl has talent after all...!
  • Overcoming my fear of the gym - only took three years to be brave enough to walk in! - but now I'm in love with it and walk in there like I own the place!!!
  • Acknowledging my past haunts and issues, and willingly working on these to make sustained change for my mental health
  • Recognising that I'm worth knowing and allowing people into my life - fostering friendships and no longer 'hiding' the real me... "shy" isn't a valid excuse anymore... !
  • And allowing myself to look forward to a future...  a HUGE one for me - I never wanted to see what possibilities lay ahead before...
... and one of my biggest moments - and the standout one for me for this blog - (the one I'm so very proud of) - going public with my weightloss.  It was a strategic move - having done this "in secret" for three years because I feared failure, feared the external expectations, and feared being shunned...   I was STILL carrying a lifetime's worth of "self hate" for my weight, and brutal shame, and irrespective of having lost over 75kilos (at the time) - I was STILL too scared to admit to the wider community (including my family) that I was right in the thick of battling a weight problem...

EVERYTHING has changed since -
  • My outlook on my mission has changed (I went into hyper-mode thereafter and I've been busting through milestones since - including stepping up to the BLC Commando Challenge and taking it even further!)
  • My attitude towards myself and my achievements has changed (I can finally acknowledge that it's ME whose done this!)
  • My candid accounts of all my trials and tribulations through this entire process have meant I can't hide away anymore - I want to help others instigate their own series of changes so they can be as empowered in their choices and successes as I am!
  • and now I DO NOT back down from a Challenge!  I LOVE pushing my boundaries just to see what else I actually AM capable of achieving!!  (who is this girl?!! haha)

That's something bigger than my usual "everyday Amy" thing going on!  That's what's been bubbling away for three years inside - like a volcano - and this year it just went OFF!   ..... and I LOVE IT!

When I picked that word out of the list yesterday, I knew it was going to conjure up quite a few emotions too... and knew it'd tap into some of the deeper sub-layers to who I am and why I'm doing this...  but I still questioned if I was "courageous"...  even going so far as pre-thinking I'd be talking about "hopefully finding the courage within"...

BUT it dawned on me today when I was strutting my stuff, that I'm not LOOKING anymore - I'M ALREADY WORKING IT!

Which is funny... cuz going back to the cowardly Lion and the whole moral of the Wizard of Oz story...   It's all about what you already have - acknowledging that these qualities are already there within us, but it's our own self-doubt that we undermine ourselves with 'illusions', let ourselves believe we're lacking, when in fact, these qualities are right there waiting for us to tap into them! 

I never did lack courage.  It's one of my attributes that allowed me to change the course of my life...   COURAGE is the reason I'm still here...



  1. I've said it before, but your courage inspires me every day.

  2. Courage is simply taking the next step forward...
    and you just keep forging ahead Amy!
    (((((((((((Huggles)))))))) Vickie.

  3. Just beautiful Amy. x

  4. Courage is the reason I'm still here - says it all, really. It's not something we acknowledge readily - life can be a struggle - it just gets easier to find the courage once you've done something once. So getting on a plane - that fitting we keep ragging you about - lots of things. You're about the most courageous person I know. It's gonna be amazing. Great post.

  5. Amy you've hit the nail on the head. Yes, without us realising it, we all displayed courage as we made the decision to start a journey that would change our lives.
    You have made me see that I am beginning a discovery of myself.
    Keep going Amy.
    Luv Cazz71