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The concept that is usually first portrayed through a young protagonist that is on a journey and must slay their rivals and challenges to ultimately succeed and achieve their goals. In my experience, the greatest challenge that requires courage is “the unknown”. The unknown is daunting and encompassing. It does not have patience and is not considerate to time, place, circumstances, etc. The unknown is prevalent and can be all consuming. Ultimately, we can become crippled with unknown if we allow our lives to be run by it. I believe that courage is not just mustering up a spout of bravery to overcome one specific thing because life is consistently full of unknown. I believe it is both the bravery to take on “unknown” daily and the need to conjure up more than our daily allowance to achieve those long-term goals for ourselves. I believe the balance and healthy level of courage comes from consistency.

I thought it was courageous to start my own business three years ago coming out of graduate school. I thought it was my next adventure in life. I learned that life had other plans because there was more unknown. From graduation, I got married, moved a few times, worked in a couple of clinical positions, bought a home in my hometown, and learned to better navigate a health diagnosis. I viewed this part of my life as a “pause” because I was not continuing to pursue my journey into owning a business straight out of graduate school like I had originally intended. I had a misconception that I was no longer practicing courage because plans changed, and my life altered. It was a letdown, I can’t say it wasn’t, and so I found myself buying into this idea of polarity; either one or the other. An idea that mocked any consistency saying, “there is too much unknown for you to handle”. So, I gave up. I stopped pursuing consistency.

Life can do that, persuade us to choose “one or the other” instead of searching for our third option of self-compassion in having both. We can have courage and timidness. Essentially, we can have progress and stagnation in our life. Having both progress and stagnation doesn’t mean that we are not still moving closer to our goals or achievements. It may mean that the unknown has come to visit us once more to test our commitment to consistency. Maybe to test the veracity of our consistency before awarding us success. To me, in order to achieve success, we have to have a strong commitment to consistency and the self-compassion to help remind us that we will fail sometimes.

Working through these past three years my attention has been anything but focused on building a business. I wasn’t even sure that was really in my future for a period of time. What lead me back to the deciding moment was courage. The belief not only in myself that I would overcome hurdles, but also the courage to slow down and practice consistency and being present. My experience in granting myself self-compassion to try again and return to what I once left unfinished, has created an opportunity to not only embark on a journey into a new unknown, but also the opportunity to practice consistency in authentically showing up in my practice for others.

So, here I am. Practicing both progress and stagnation. Trying to commit myself to live my life courageously. I hope my future work through Balanced Minds Counseling inspires you to also live life courageously and move through life with fierce gentleness towards yourself so that it may inspire others to do the same.

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