Lessons on courage and resilience can come from unlikely sources. Recently, I was blessed to spend some time with my grandnieces and grandnephew, who live out of town. The girls are 6-year-old twins, and my grandnephew is eight years old. Their grandparents and I took them on an adventure to the pool at the rec center. What transpired was an important reminder of the power of courage and resilience.
The pool has a sizable water slide my grandnephew was eyeing upon our arrival. After about 30 minutes, he decided he wanted to give it a try. His grandmother took him over to wait in line and helped him put on a small life vest. When his turn came, he excitedly climbed the nearly three stories of stairs and approached the top of the slide. After a few seconds, he turned and went back down the stairs to his grandma and started to remove his vest while shaking his head back and forth.
Choosing a Path Forward
Before he could altogether remove his vest, he appeared to have a change of heart, and his grandmother resecured his vest. He got back in line to wait his turn. He once again headed up the stairs, only this time with his grandmother accompanying him. You see, he had never gone down a water slide before and needed a little bit of encouragement. His grandmother helped him get in position and gave him a gentle nudge into the water flow, and off he went. I waited at the bottom of the slide, ready to film his maiden voyage down and into the pool. He cautiously completed his first ride down, then spent the next hour eagerly going up the stairs and down the slide, getting more comfortable and having more fun each time.
As we walked to the car when we left, I asked him what changed his mind about going down the slide? He enthusiastically said, “I got courage, Aunt Sue.” To which I replied, “Yes, you did, buddy. Great job.” I could not help but smile about the vital life lesson he just learned and the empowerment he felt having overcome his fear. It was an important reminder of harnessing the power of courage.
How often, as adults, do we let fear or obstacles set us back, impeding our growth and fulfillment? More often than one might think. It can be an aspect of the journey of many of my coaching clients. Even when we have plenty of life experiences taking risks, the power of fear sometimes gets in the way. Most of the time, the obstacles that get in the way are not external but are within us -overcoming those obstacles and practicing courage help build resilience. We all saw powerful examples of courage, particularly in healthcare during the height of COVID.
Trying anything new and resuming a more normal way of life post-COVID are calls to courage for many. Part of courage is getting beyond the messages of fear by doing what you can to prepare, stay safe, and allow faith to prevail over fear. If my grandnephew did not have faith that he could successfully go down the water slide, he would have never climbed back up those stairs. Instead, he would have learned a potentially debilitating lesson about letting fear control his decisions. Through some support from a trusted advisor, he harnessed the power of courage. In some instances, all someone may need is a little bit of encouragement and a gentle nudge. Who can you provide that for today while helping them build courage?
Sue Kenfield, M.A. is CEO of See It Thrive™, LLC. She is a certified resiliency specialist working with individuals and organizations as a catalyst to maximize their successful COVID recovery. Sue leads transformative initiatives with her clients to build agile and resilient organizations by enhancing human capital, strengthening leadership, increasing talent retention, and aligning organizational strategy and culture. Sue led an essential non-profit organization during COVID.She holds a master’s degree in Counseling, and specializes in emotional and behavioral intelligence. She has over twenty years of experience in healthcare and has helped organizations in multiple industries navigate change and optimize employee and leadership performance.Contact us to learn more.