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Finding Inspiration During Change

Lesson from the book 'Courage' by Bernard Waber

By Judey Kalchik Published 2 months ago Updated about a month ago 3 min read
Top Story - April 2024
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Finding Inspiration During Change
Photo by Veronica Reverse on Unsplash

Inspiration is all around us. Sometimes it comes in an email labeled 'TYWK' or 'For You'. Sometimes it's a meme posted on social media. Other times it's more subtle.

  • A song playing that reminds you of a more hopeful time.
  • A letter of encouragement tucked into a notepad that reappears when you most need a kind word.
  • A phone call from a former coworker that buoys you with encouragement.
  • Solving a difficult problem that reminds you of your knowledge and skills.

In times of change moments of inspiration can feel especially significant and being mindfully open to it helps keep a person focused and purposeful.

One such source is a simple book for young children: Courage, by Bernard Waber. It explores both the large and small ways that people are courageous. It can be as small as eating a new food and as BIG as being a firefighter. The storyline takes children through the initial fear and hesitation when facing a new situation (change) and taking action (courage) even if they are fearful.

Book cover, image from author

I've given this book to graduates, to people starting over after divorce, to new parents. The significance of this simple book for me is the final page that takes it from a gentle reminder to a lasting purpose.

"Courage is what we give to each other."

There have been mentors and leaders in my professional life that have either inspired me to be like them or made me determined not to emulate their ways. Either way they have helped shape my leadership style.

The most memorable are those that encouraged me. Some, although we haven't worked together in years, still take the time to reach out, to listen, to let me know they believe in me. And isn't that giving courage to each other?

A goal for me is to take inspiration from their actions and seek ways to encourage others, and then following through. It's tempting to stay in the moment of analysis paralysis, but don't.

Show personal courage and push through the hesitation to take action.

Taking Action

One of the best ways I've learned to get me through the hesitation and into action came from watching a commissioned furniture salesperson work with a customer.

After several minutes of trying to understand the personal need that compelled them to visit the store, the salesperson rephrased the response they had heard and then asked an important question. It went like this:

"I'm hearing that you aren't sure what you'd like to see today. I think that browsing is certainly your best option. In order for me to do my job and point you in a good direction, I'm wondering: If you DID know what you were looking for, what would it be?"

If you did know... what would it be? WOW.

I've used that to break me out of my own analysis paralysis in my work life. It's also useful to help me move into action when faced with a difficult decision that has been complicated by personal mourning.

That internal dialog sounds something like this:

"I feel so stuck. I don't know what to do. But; if I did know what to do, what's the first step towards doing it?" And then take that step.

Sometimes the first step is:

  • Getting a good night sleep.
  • Calling someone for their input.
  • Throwing something away.
  • Taking a shower.
  • Having a cup of tea.
  • Brushing my hair.
  • Deleting an email.
  • Closing my eyes for a count to 10 with some deep breaths.
  • Finding something that has gone right and expressing gratitude.
  • Using the 10-10-10 rule before taking action: Will it matter in 10 minutes? 10 Days? 10 years?

Whatever works for you: time is all we really have, and it's one thing we can't precisely count on always being available. Break through the initial fear and take action. Have COURAGE.

~~~

Your local bookstore may carry COURAGE, but if not: here's a link to the book on bookshop.org. Bookshop.org gives a portion of all sales to the independent bookstores in the United States, which keeps our neighbors employed and our communities vibrant. It is a great alternative to Am@$0n.

Comments welcomed: let me know who had encouraged you!

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About the Creator

Judey Kalchik

It's my time to find and use my voice.

Poetry, short stories, memories, and a lot of things I think and wish I'd known a long time ago.

You can also find me on Medium

And please follow me on Threads, too!

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Comments (16)

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  • Esala Gunathilake14 days ago

    Congratulations on your top story.

  • Anna 29 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Ameer Bibiabout a month ago

    So courage is what we are giving to each other is one of the most powerful strengths we have. I will try my best to encourage others. And about your question who encouraged you more; first of all it was my father and mother.

  • Gabriela Trofin-Tatárabout a month ago

    Yes!! Congrats on top story 👋

  • Gabriela Trofin-Tatárabout a month ago

    So powerful and inspiring ! 🥰this is my favourite line “Show personal courage and push through the hesitation to take action.”

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • D. D. Leeabout a month ago

    I’ll be sure to purchase this book. Thank you for this Judey. Congrats on T.S.

  • JBazabout a month ago

    So many good tips that we really should know but fail to follow through. This is a great reminder. As always you manage to teach without preaching. Great work and congratulations

  • The Dani Writer2 months ago

    Aww Judey, this was SWEET! Sometimes, it can be the smallest things that are hugely significant. For me today, it was seeing a bird of prey in glorious flight on my way to and from work.

  • My first step is to always sleep. That helps me so much!

  • Babs Iverson2 months ago

    Absolutely wonderful book review and advice!!! Loved it!!!💕❤️❤️

  • Ameer Bibi2 months ago

    I will definitely recommend it to my daughter. By the way for me tasting a new food is big courage. So I live in opposite directions. About who had encouraged you ; first of all he was my father and then mother. No doubt teachers always encouraged me to excel and explore myself.

  • Sounds like another great children's book for adults. Thanks for the recommendation, Judey!

  • Mariann Carroll2 months ago

    Love the story. This is one book I would by a child 🥰Great advices as well

  • ROCK 2 months ago

    I have this book ( I collect children's books) and I have to find it NOW. Yes, change can reset our minds and souls. Great piece today!

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