Updated: Nov 8, 2022
Recently I launched my book “My Piece of Sky”. It tells the tale of a skydiving accident where I fell from 6,500 feet, landing at over 100mph and survived. Since then, I have increased my social media presence, more out of necessity than desire and comments I have had back always seem to mention courage, bravery, strength of character and similar positive characteristics we often associate with physical and psychological recovery.
This got me thinking.... What is courage, and did I really have it?
I was plunged into a situation where I thought I was going to die so I didn’t have much choice, and I had always associated courage with those who make a conscious decision to “do something brave”, like run into a burning building or rescue someone who is drowning, but I don’t feel this is the case now.
When I didn’t die, I had to find another direction in life, so I quickly learned that I had innate courage, it was part of my make-up and even though I wasn’t aware of it in the immediate aftermath of the accident, or struggled to find it, I look back and wonder how on earth I was so brave.
We don’t have to fight a lion or lead an army into battle to be courageous. We all have it. Courage is a response to fear whether it be fear of what will happen when we face everyday challenges and difficulties or, in my case, controlling this to let me enjoy jumping out of planes or overcoming fear for the future when I didn’t know what that would look like. We can either let fear take over or recognise how to harness it and use it to help us develop courage.
I looked up different articles that would help me decide if I had the characteristics of a person I would consider to be courageous and came across "7 Habits of Remarkably Courageous People" By Peter Economy, which I massively resonated with.
It highlights 7 habits of courageous people, and I can now see in myself, so have a look and see what you could work on to build courage.
Courageous people; 1. Accept they cannot control all aspects of their life, or what happens to them. They face reality and acknowledge problems 2. They trust in their problem-solving abilities and trust they can take action to solve them. When they experience fear, they harness their own stills, experience and attributes to overcome it. 3. They have hope of positive outcomes and do not dwell on unproductive negativity. 4. They don’t give up and keep moving forward. They can change their mindset from negativity to positivity as they are aware that difficulties are often temporary. 5. Although they may speak about problems and challenges, they don’t complain, knowing that this will delay or stop them resolving what they need to and move on. 6. They like to grow and develop as a person so challenge themselves to move out of their comfort zone to achieve their goals and enhance their lives. 7. They keep an open mind to see all the possibilities of new opportunities and ways of doing things. They are creative and usually the “half-full” person in the crowd.
So yes, I was courageous… but what courage I had before my accident was often severely dented and left me on many occasions on the way to achieving my goals. It took time to build up again, develop to new heights, and, looking back, I learned so much from what would seem to others as an horrific experience.
If you are in a similar situation as I was, be as realistic as you can about what you are facing. Your future may turn out to be better than your past. Dig deep, you have courage, skills and experience that will help you get through this.
For more information on Courage, such as the how to cultivate courage towards both personal and professional growth and change, please click here and please note that our Business Consultancy Organisation, Clarity Change also helps individuals to build courage and self-esteem. We currently offer private sessions through our website with Joanne McConville. To contact Joanne, click here.