A past courageous act in the future

Written by  Monday, 05 February 2024
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A past courageous act in the future

Living in Moscow in the late 1990s I had to be courageous. I had to learn a new language, speak it and make myself understood. Since all of the signs were in Cyrillic, I had to learn a new alphabet to make sure I didn't get hopelessly lost on the Moscow Metro. I needed courage to maintain motivation working as a consultant during the Russian financial crisis and to trust the Russian translator when facilitating workshops.

I needed courage to go about my day-to-day when the temperatures were as low as -35 Celsius. And especially, I needed courage to manage my feelings of isolation even though I was there with Geoff, new friends, and living in a city of over 10 million people. 

I learned a lot from this experience. I learned to ask for help; I learned that people wanted to help. I learned that support from others helped me to be courageous. I learned not to take myself so seriously; to laugh at myself. One time in a bakery when I was speaking my best Russian which I had practised, instead of asking for bread (as one does in a bakery), I was actually asking for a black dog! (By the way, the words for bread and black dog are not even remotely similar).

Did I realise my courage and my learning at the time of living in Moscow? No, not at all. It wasn’t until some years later when I courageously chose to reflect on this experience (yes, I needed courage to reflect; I felt great vulnerability in opening this door), that I realised I had been courageous. I realised the value of reflection for learning and increasing self-awareness. Could I have been more courageous while living in Moscow? No doubt – yes – and while I can’t go back in time, I can apply what I have learned about my past courageous act when I need to be courageous in future.

Which leads me to inviting you to reflect on a past experience when you have been courageous. Why? So that, like me, you can apply what you have learned about yourself in this experience, when you need to be courageous this year and beyond. And, so that you realise that you are courageous. It’s a really curious thing; most people do not consider themselves courageous until they provide themselves the space to reflect on when they have been courageous; until they allow themselves to shine a light on their own courage.

So, this reflection. I invite you to consider an experience – recent or sometime ago – when you were courageous. This experience may be in the workplace, at home, while out socialising, exercising, engaging in a hobby, or elsewhere. Reflect on:

  • What was this experience? 
  • What was it about you that made this courageous act possible?
  • What and who enabled you to be courageous? 
  • What was the outcome? 
  • What do you most value about this experience? 
  • What did you learn? 
  • How did you feel? 

And finally...

  • How will you apply your increased awareness of your courage when you need to be courageous in future, including in 2024?

I would be honoured to share your reflection of a past courageous act with our network. Afterall, we know #courageiscontagious. Sharing your courageous story will inspire others to be courageous too. Please be in touch if you’d like to share it. Also, you know that I’m keen to build courageous people, teams and cultures. If you’re keen too – let’s chat! 

Lastly, and most importantly, thank you. January 17th, 2024, marked insium’s 19th anniversary.  Thank you for welcoming us into your workplaces.  Thank you for trusting us with your development and that of your teams. Thank you for your support, and for the shared courageous journey and the memories we have created together.

We all have courage within. We just need a light shone on it.


My purpose is to open doors … I invite you to courageously open your own doors and explore what’s on the other side.



Read 430 times Last modified on Monday, 05 February 2024 06:45