Courage - The Magic Ingredient

Over the last
year I have focused on reading. In addition to the titles I review for iRead Book Tours, and those we read in the entrepreneur's book club I am a part of, I also have many I chose.  I make an effort to read the work from diverse writers - POC, LGBTQ, other cultures, etc.  And I love checking out great memoirs written by people who have experienced very different lives than mine. Such is the case with The Storyteller by Dave Grohl.

Grohl is a singer, guitarist, songwriter and founder of the rock band Foo Fighters - not a style of music I ever listened to. Of course, that meant I was intrigued. While his story was totally different than mine, I was surprised to find how many times I found myself nodding as he shared his thoughts on life. I agreed. One that struck me in particular as a writer was his comment on courage.  I re-read it often when I am feeling overwhelmed. 

"Courage is a defining factor in the life of any artist. The courage to bare your innermost feelings, to reveal your true voice, or to stand in front of an audience and lay it out there for the world to see...It is the courage to be yourself that bridges those opposing emotions, and when it does, magic can happen." - The Storyteller by Dave Grohl

To do our best work, to offer authenticity to our audience, means baring ourselves to the world in a very vulnerable and public way.  We release our creation to the court of public opinion, and then have to stand in the spotlight while a judgement is made. Will people like it? Will they hate it? Will they even understand it?  I know one artist who had a whole series she had worked years on censored. It was heart breaking. However, holding onto fear of disapproval means creating "SAFE" work. 

One writer shared she felt you release the work you are driven to create to the world and then step back and let it stand on its own. You are not responsible for how people respond to it. My head agrees in principle, but I my heart struggles to not be affected by bad reviews.  However, holding onto fear of disapproval only means I would be creating work to be liked, rather than authentic work I feel led to share.  There is no right or wrong here. Each artist must decide on their path, but for me the choice is clear.

What I love most about the quote above is the last line as it offers me a life line to hold onto.  The courage to create honest work without fear, to reveal your true voice fully, is the magic ingredient that will help your work as an artist evolve. Even reading that line again gives me goosebumps.  Courage may be challenging, but I am determined. I want to continue to grow as a writer and to speak from my heart.

While this quote spoke simply to artists, I think it can be applied to everyone who moves through life with passion and purpose. Whatever your career, your goals, your situation - courage and authenticity can add some special sauce into the mix. It will help you dream big, and draw you to others who are like minded, creating a circle of support.  Moving with courage starts with a simple step, a choice to embrace it for a moment or even a day. 

When you wake
up in the morning tomorrow, trying resting with your eyes closed. Slowly inhale deeply, pause, then exhale slowly. Clear your mind and then repeat a mantra that you create, one in your own words that helps to focus you and release worry.  

Here are a few to inspire you: 
  • I will follow my heart today without apology. 
  • I am brave, I am bold, I am fearless.
  • I let go of fear and chose to live with courage.
  • One step, one moment, one breath at a time.