Courage: When I am Whole-heartedly Me

Posted by on Oct 26, 2014 in Blog | 1 comment

Courage: When I am Whole-heartedly Me

In her world renowned Ted talk, researcher-storyteller Brené Brown reminds us of the original definition of courage: “to tell the story of who we are with our whole heart.” This collection of words touches me deeply today, as I consider the depth of what it means in my own life.


To tell the story of who we are…

Not who we imagine ourselves to be. Not the masks we put on to please others. Not who our mother or father would have liked us to be. But who we actually are, deep down, underneath the public image we present to the world. Underneath the layers and layers of programming we picked up from living among our human peers over the decades. Underneath the anxiety that has us check our surroundings before speaking our minds – is it safe? Will they like me? Is my real opinion welcome here?


And… no less… to tell it with our whole heart.


As I feel into the distinction, I notice my body gets warmer. My chest opens and my shoulders soften. I think back to a talk I saw just this past weekend, presented at the International Positive Psychology Summit in Philadelphia. When a speaker dares to transmit her message with her whole heart, the audience can’t help but engage. We are two human beings seeing and feeling one another deeply. And the result – whether or not we fully agree with the other person’s message – is fascination.


This week I invite you to consider: what is fascinating about you?


I know, it can be hard to think that way. For me it is, at least. But take a moment, put down your humility and check in with yourself. When you’re doing what activity do you feel most radiant, compelling and alive? What does your body know about expressing yourself with your whole heart?


Chances are, others have reflected this message to you in the past. I remember a few years back while co-leading an executive leadership training workshop, I elected to lead participants through five minutes of dance as a way of re-energizing the group. After I left the stage, a high level coaching client of mine (whom I had supported through both an intense relationship reconciliation with a team mate and an important promotion) approached me in the back of the room. “Don’t take this the wrong way…” he whispered, “but have you considered quitting your day job and just doing that?”


Though it was a bit uncomfortable, I was able to take his comment for the compliment it was. In his own sarcastic way, he was pointing to something about my essence. And at that time, it was an essential part of me that was mostly shut down.


Again, I invite you to consider: what are the moments in your life where other people stop and take note? For what aspect of yourself do you receive reflections of awe, praise or deep gratitude? And… what would it be to let the world have more of that?


Hell, what would the world be if we all were to let one another have more of that?


This week in your movement practice, I dare you to open the door of your heart and let your warmth shine through. Let yourself give a shit… and don’t apologize for it. I suspect that if you’ve been holding something back, your body has answers to both what, and how, you’ve been doing it. Pay attention to its subtle cues. Its longing, Its urges. Its restraint.


In life, observe the places, activities, and relationships where you shine. For now, don’t change anything. Just notice. Consider what you would have to shift in order to feel more of that feeling. Are you willing? Why or why not?


Whether you see yourself as nearly 100% fully expressed, or you find yourself far off your personal mission these days, consider what fears, excuses, and really good reasons do you have for holding a part of you back?  And… who would you be if a wave of courage blew all of that out of the water and you just dove in?


Telling a whole-hearted story this morning,




One Comment

  1. LeeAnn, This really touched me! It’s so hard to see ourselves the way others see us. I hope to be able to tap into those unexpressed parts of myself this year! xoxo

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