What does Courage look like?
It is gritted teeth? Held breath? Or bulging muscles and sweaty brows?
Most of us associate courage with physical or emotional strength, with risky feats that leave us tired and spent. To be courageous we have to become outsized versions of ourselves, muster up the power to become supersized me’s.
Courage takes effort, right? It’s serious business.
Or is it?
What if courage involved play? Or at the very least if we approached our risks and challenges with a playful spirit, a lighter heart.
You might remember that playful kitten I referenced in my last Courage Camp blog post https://braveshift.com/courage-is-losing-control/ the one who taught me a thing or two about taming my inner Control Freak. Well our furry disruptor sparked an important conversation around a playful approach to courage, where we don’t take ourselves, the process or the outcomes too seriously.
Most adults (especially us serious minded ones) bridle at the mention of play – as though it diminishes the importance of the task or issues at hand. Yet levity doesn’t imply frivolity – just a willingness to employ a fuller emotional range that validates joy, humor, and fun alongside all that gravitas.
What if courage looked like belly laughs? Dancing feet? Squeals of joy? Or just a furtive giggle?
When we embrace a playful spirit the stakes get lower and the judgments lessened. So we experiment and adapt more. Forgiveness comes more easily. We let go and find an ease that might have otherwise been unthinkable.
So try this. Try offering a smile during a challenging conversation or having a good laugh before one. Or laugh at yourself when you find your fists are clinched or your heart is racing. Try talking to your partner or team about playing around with new ways of working or behaving. Be deliberate about incorporating play in your life—particularly when you’re considering bold or risky choices – whether sport or games, by yourself and with the very people who challenge you.
And remember our Playful Disrupter—who first made me lose my temper. And then my inhibitions.