courage is compelling.

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
-Anais Nin
 
 
for me, there has never been a more profound statement.
this is my favorite quote, and one i try to keep uppermost in my mind.

anais was right.
my world gets bigger when i face my fears.
and display some courage.
it’s hard, but the difference is amazing.

when i’m not at my bravest, i feel myself shrinking inside.
i feel small.
i feel helpless.
and i feel the opportunities disappearing.

but when i tackle what makes me anxious,
when i go after what i want,
when i do something that makes me shake inside (in a good way),
i feel immense.

i feel as if my life has more meaning than before.
i feel like risks are definitely worth taking.
because, without them, i’m not really living.
i’m just existing.
and what would be the point of that?

i have a recent example.

two and a half years ago i was hit by a drunk driver on an interstate highway.

the car that hit me bumped me off the road, spun me around three times,
and threw my car across a ditch, finally stopping when it hit a small hill.

i was okay (after some physical therapy).
but my car was totalled.
and i was very very shaken.

the experience felt so out of my control,
that i haven’t been able to get rid of that feeling.
every time i get on that same freeway.
(upsetting for someone who used to love to drive.)

on tuesday i had to take my dad to the airport.
it’s about an hour away from his house.
an easy trip on a beautiful sunny day.

but i was afraid.
i had to drive that highway.

i was frightened because i remembered that helplessness i had felt.
i remembered how quickly the situation had changed.
and that terrifying feeling when i lost control.

but i got in the car.
i took my dad to the airport.
and everything went just fine.

in fact, as i drove, i thought about anais nin’s quote.
i thought about how not driving on that highway had been holding me back.
it had been shrinking my life.

then i realized how free i felt.
how happy.
how proud.

and i felt my power coming back.
the power i need to keep propelling me forward.

so think about moments that you’ve had.
think about times when you’ve noticed your life shrinking.

because you were afraid.
you were fearing something.
you were unable to step out into the open and do what you knew you needed to do.

you know what i’m talking about.
you can feel the difference.
you don’t feel capable.
you feel reduced.

like i did that day in the car.

compare that to the times when you’ve taken necessary risks.
when you’ve boldly marched onward in spite of your wildly beating heart.

and you’ve erased the fears.
you’ve forced your way through them.
you’ve conquered them.

maybe you’ve even obliterated them.

and you feel your power.
you feel that immenseness.
you feel in control,
and no longer helpless.

you feel like you can do anything.
and the world, as the saying goes, is there for the taking.
 
 
life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.

yes.
yes, it does.
 
 
let me know what you think.
i love hearing from you.
 
 

 
 
 
 
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18 Responses to courage is compelling.

  1. Awesome post April!
    When we conquer our fear we feel so much better and empowered and yet I feel that we are missing out on a lot because of the fear that wins too often. I guess it’s not something that you can change overnight.

    • April Lee says:

      thanks, nathalie. it is so motivating to feel empowered and yet, as you said, the fear holds us back too often. we just need to keep taking small steps in the right direction . . .

  2. Camesha says:

    I love the quote and I couldn’t agree more! My friend used to always tell me the quote “everything we want is on the other side of fear.” That’s wear freedom lives… just at the edge of our fears. Great for you for conquering yours!

  3. Sonya says:

    What a great quote and it is SO true!!!!! It reminds me of one of my all time favs – Whether you thing you can or thing you can’t – you are right – Henry Ford!!! Thanks for a great post!

  4. I like how your courage does not include forgetting about the crash. It’s a bigger courage that continues while acknowledging “yeah, that happened too.”

  5. Nathalie says:

    April,
    You have written a REALLY beautiful post. It will inspire many, many people! Thanks a lot!

  6. Dr. J says:

    This is a powerful message April! We all have things that hold us back. Shedding that weight relieves so much pressure. We simply can’t live our lives to the fullest under all that. Your post makes that front and center.

  7. Sue says:

    Great post. You got us all thinking. It is easy to retreat when things get scary or challenging, but if we do we will not grow. It’s what’s on the other side that can be life-altering but we have to get through the door first. Thank you for your courage.

  8. Krista says:

    Awesome! I am ready to get out there and kick some a@#! :) Thank you for this important, and often forgotten, message.

  9. Thanks April for the wonderful post! Your courage shines through and is an inspiration to all of us. It is important to remember the things that create fear as we conquer them and put them in perspective by moving past the fear.

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