Lately, I’ve been doing a good amount of thinking about courage. Courage is the ability of someone to stand up against great odds and move forward despite facing fear in the eye. As an onine instructor for the last 8 years, I’m fortunate to witness many examples of courage – in a variety forms. Many of my online students have been stationed in Iraq, on a battle cruiser out at sea, single parents, unemployed, and even homeless. I currently have a student who is battling cancer. At times, she participates in class from her hospital bed during treatments. Recently, she’s had some setbacks, but despite her illness is determined to complete this current capstone course in order to graduate. This is courage.  

At some point in life individuals experience a change in how they know who they are – their being. I’ve read the real secret to success is to Be first, then Do, and then Have. Given that it is sometimes easier to turn this formula around, and have first, it takes courage to get it right – and be who we are. In order to do so, we sometimes need to tackle change, embrace diversity, manage uncertainty, and face fear. Maybe even break the rules or the status quo.

In a way, courage becomes a means to an end. Courage is not something we need to understand in order to do – it just happens. But it can only happen by recognizing who we really are.