It All Started when I was 7 years old. I would go in my bedroom after watching the TV show, “Kung Fu” and practice my martial arts skills with the dream of becoming a Master. I pretended to be the young monk in training as I practiced my moves, and I was good, too! My kicks, and punches were fast, fluid, and I had amazing balance — well, at least in my memory I was amazing.
It was a dream that, in those moments of make-believe, was as real as anything I had ever known in my life. I was the young Caine! And I would always tell myself, “Some day a great martial arts Master will come along and see my worth and take me as his student, and then I will become what I was meant to be.” Yes, I really did talk like that when I was in “Caine” mode. 🙂
The problem with some day is that “some day” can never come. Especially, when you are waiting for a Master to recognize your talent and worth. I had plenty of opportunities to fulfill this desire to become a martial arts master, but there would always be a reason why I couldn’t: I didn’t have the time, there wasn’t enough money, I had other things that were more important, it was too much work with everything else going on…and the excuses would roll. In my defense, it didn’t feel like I was making excuses, it felt like the truth.
The problem with believing that a Master will come along and recognize my potential and decide to mentor me can’t ever happen if I don’t leave the house, I don’t sign up for martial arts training, and I am too busy with “stuff.” I had no idea that I had set up a rule like that. I kept on believing that “when the time was right” it would happen.
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BLACK BELT NIRVANA
Fast forward 40 years and my 17 year old daughter earned her Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do the day before she graduated from high school. Her 3 1/2 hour test inspired my husband start to train, and my four year old daughter was already training in the sport. Every member of my family was a martial artist except me! What was wrong with this picture? Now I had proximity – I was there every other day, it was easy to fit into my schedule, I had the money to do it, I had the time, and I still was telling myself I would train “some day.”
Lucky for me, I recognized that I needed to make a change, because if I didn’t change, I would miss out on something really important– like being part of a whole family of Black Belts and sharing this experience with my family. I had to decide either to let this dream go, or make a memory that would last a lifetime with my family. Now it was clear to me that it was an either or decision. I needed to step up or lose out forever! What I chose to do was to make one of THE memories of my life, and I needed to cue my courage to do it.
Below is my Facebook Live presentation on the topic of courage , which is also a beautiful reminder of my weekly courage practice. Check it out:
Courage, like any skill, requires practice in order to get better at it. I’ve broken down the key elements you need to cue courage more often.
BREAKING DOWN COURAGE – In Four Easy Steps
You need to have enough rest in order to have the energy necessary to be courageous. When you are sleep deprived, you tend to view circumstances as threats. You also need good nutrition so you can think clearly and you need to have the right physiology to be at your best. What kind of body position cues courage? Back straight, breathe from the diaphragm, eyes focused ahead, and chest up, feet shoulder’s width apart, and weight evenly distributed. This body position helps your mind to think and your body to act from a place of power.
2. WHY – The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why — Mark Twain
The reason why you want to do something, say something, or go after something has to be compelling enough to not let fear or any other obstacle stand in your way. If you can connect this why to your identity — like I did with the martial arts and my family — you have a powerful tool to keep you on track. Your reason has to be powerful.
3. LET GO –You only lose what you cling to — Buddha
So I say decide to lose doubt! Let it the f— go!! You know how we doubt? By the questions we ask ourselves. To get out of doubt quickly, ask the questions that will allow you to reconnect to your why in Step 2, and that helps you to focus on what needs to be done.
4. COMMIT – Commitment is an action not a word — Jean-Paul Sartre
Decide to act, and let the rest go. When feedback comes, then you can decide to continue what you are doing, or choose another course based on what you have learned.
So what is the price of courage? The price of courage is giving up the limits you place on yourself, and the rules you follow that no longer serve you for the opportunity to have a life of your dreams.
That’s it! That is all it is. You can do it. I waited forty years to learn this lesson. Don’t wait that long! If I can become a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, and receive all my patches in Kobudo at age 52, you can go after your dreams too!
I saw this inspirational picture and so related to it. I hope it inspires you to act as well — whether you are a man or a woman. The dreams we had as children can lead us to who we are meant to become!
You got this. Leave a comment, ask a question, I am here to help.
Until next time,
Remember, you are so much more than who you believe yourself to be!