What makes one person go bungee jumping off the Eiffel Tower and another mortified at the thought of it? What makes one person an enthusiastic cave diver and another who would rather drink a litre of petrol?
Is it courage?
Is that what courage is? Physical bravery, mind over matter, ambition, desire and passion?

The word courage, conjures up for many of us an image of a fireman, a parachuter, a hostage negotiator. A person who is willing to adventure into the uncertain, the dark, a place where there is no back-up.
Wikipedia says: “courage is the choice and willingness to confront agony, pain, danger,uncertainty or intimidation. Physical courage is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, death or threat of death, while moral courage is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, discouragement, or personal loss.”

But what about getting up and telling your story, or sharing your message, on a stage or present your sales pitch? Isn’t that courage too?
I know for me, to stand up and share a personal story requires a whole lot of determination and nerve. And then, to be credible, heartfelt and honest as well….I call this Authentic Courage.

I think it is courageous to be open and speak from the heart, to reveal your thoughts, feelings and stories in front of people you know and don’t know. In these situations, you have to face up to your abilities (or the lack of ) while people are listening and watching…this is when you really need a spoonful of courage. In today’s world of divisive politics and immense human injustice and suffering, having the courage to speak up from the heart certainly takes a large spoonful or two.

– Keep your fears to yourself but share your courage with others – Robert Louis Stevenson –

Can passion, ambition and desire fill you up enough so that you have the courage to step up, stand out and speak out?
I believe this is the big question to ask yourself when you want or have to express yourself and speak up. Passion is the driving force behind your words. If you write down your top five passions, maybe it will lead you to take courageous steps in your life. There is something very powerful in writing down your ambitions and passions. Don’t take my word for it, try it out now!

Interestingly, taking courageous steps in life often creates the very personal story you need to express your ideas and messages.

– Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen – Winston Churchill

I have a T-shirt which I always wear for rehearsing that states: No guts, no glory! What words do you say to en-courage yourself?

Don’t forget that Step Up & Stand Out is all about discovering your passionate ideas and messages and  “en-couraging” you to reach your peak of expressiveness.