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Why courage?

We all need a dose of courage from time to time . . .

Because have big work to do.

And because taking the first step in a new direction can sometimes be scary.

Even once you get going down the right path, you’ll certainly experience moments when you just aren’t sure of yourself.  You don’t know what to do next.  You question whether you’re headed in the right direction.

You want your kids to be happily engaged in authentic reading, writing, and conversation (of course you do) but shifting to a more kid-centered classroom can be challenging.

So, what’s the answer when you aren’t sure what to do next?  Or when don’t have the depth of knowledge that you think you need?

Simply substitute COURAGE.

Courage will allow you to keep moving forward while you learn more and sort things out.

So, here are the Courage Rules.  Follow these seven simple rules and you’re likely to experience more joy and success in all you do.

  1.  Start small. But start.  You can’t do it all at once, but you can do something more all the time.  Don’t wait for conditions to be perfect before you start.  Today is all we have. The only time to start is now.  The work is a journey and there is no finish line.  So, strap on your boots and go. The first step doesn’t have to be a big step. You just need to choose a starting point and begin. One small but brave action at a time . . .
  2. Keep a sense of humor.   Laugh more.  Smile more.  Stop taking yourself so seriously.  So what if you try something and it completely flops? Have a good chuckle about it a friend. Learn from your experiences and move on. Lighten up.  Enjoy the journey. Just have some fun! Life’s too short for anything less.
  3. Be good to yourself.   Slow down. Eat well. Get plenty of sleep. Listen to your body. Exercise. Give yourself room to make mistakes. Take naps. Think kind and positive thoughts. Let go of guilt. Find time for the things that bring you joy.
  4. Reflect, learn, and adjust.  Reflection, not perfection, is the key to progress. You don’t have to know exactly how to do a thing; you just have to be willing to reflect on what you do, learn from it and adjust accordingly as you go. Forward motion provides opportunity to fine tune your skills for refection. And reflection gives you opportunity to fine tune your motion, learning as you go.
  5. Take charge of your own learning.  You’ve chosen the learning business as your life’s work. So, lead the way by designing a path for your own learning. Read. Write. Research. Reach out to colleagues. Be vulnerable. Ask great questions. Read some more. Don’t wait for others to “give you what you need”. You’re a professional. It is your professional practice! Be intentional about how you care for and nourish it.
  6. Don’t give up when things get tough. Everything worth doing takes time and practice. So, give yourself permission to begin as a beginner. New learning takes time. Hang in there.Stick with it long enough to pass through the awkward and uncertain first steps. Dig deep. Be patient. Be tenacious. Refuse to quit. Soon you’ll be able to look back and see progress. Just don’t turn back. You can do this.
  7. Celebrate along the way.  Develop the habit of recognizing and celebrating even the tiniest bits of progress. Celebration becomes fuel in our tanks; keeping us moving forward and helping us resist the urge to quit (see Courage Rule #6). Keep a list of small successes. Smile. Pat yourself on the back. Do a happy dance. Tell a trusted friend. Tweet your news to the world. Treat yourself to a cappuccino. Do what makes you happy. It doesn’t matter how you celebrate.  What matters is that you do.

That’s it. That’s the recipe for courage. And courage is a key element for success.

So, go ahead. Tuck The Courage Rules in your pocket, post them in your work space, or maybe tattoo them on your forearm. If you want a printable copy you can download it here.