It's little good watering last years crop. - English Proverb

The Courage to Let Go

Dusty Staub Courage to Let Go 0 Comments

Stepping Into the New Year, part two

by Robert “Dusty” Staub

Transformation versus Transaction

In the first part of this New Year series of articles, we looked at the importance of letting go, and the creative power that is unleashed as a result.  In fact, there is no true capacity to move forward until we let go of our attachment to what was and to where we are standing in the moment.

"To see the world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wildflower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour." - quote by William Blake

Blake’s short poem on expanded awareness is predicated on opening what he labeled the “doors of perception” in order to see more possibilities.  This requires letting go of the old definitions, of an identity that no longer fits, and of well-worn and threadbare ways of thinking and perceiving.

We stand with a foot in two very different worlds.

One is the familiar everyday world of transactions; of give and take; of contracts, rules and laws. This is also the realm of time lines and getting things done, of having and of doing.  It is, of course, literally true that nothing happens until it moves into the transactional space, for this is where ideas, concepts, feelings and awareness get traction through discrete, concrete actions.

The power of this transactional realm is that “success” is measurable and quantifiable: for instance, by the amount of money and status we have, the list of things we have accomplished, or the skills we have acquired.  The danger of this world, however, is that it is very compelling, even hypnotic in its ability to pull our attention and lock us into narrowed thinking.

For those who spend a lot of time in the world of transaction, two bumper stickers come to mind: “He who dies with the most toys wins,” and “Shit happens.”

The other realm is that of transformation.

This is the domain of wholeness, of being, purpose, significance, love and deep meaning, of spirit and possibility.  It reflects a way of moving with life that uses, in the words of the poet Blake, “divine imagination.” From this perspective, we relate and connect in a way that generates a sense of self-worth, dignity and appreciation.

Value is not found in a padded bank account, fame or social privilege, but in how fully we are living, how deeply we are loving, and how completely we can let go of measuring others and ourselves.

The bumper sticker here might read, “Shift Happens.”  After all, he who dies with the most toys still dies.

But if a person can compost the shit to shift, rich new growth is possible.

From the perspective of transformation, the better questions are: Do peace and joy abide with you now? And what is the legacy that will be left for the benefit of future generations?

At this point in time there is a critical need for more transformational leadership by those with the capacity to make “shift happen.” With all of the many challenges we face in our transactional world, we need a wiser perspective and way of moving past the modern, soul-deadening, fear-based approach to life.  Media coverage gives us ample stories of what to expect when the ego mind and the transactional rules without benefit of heart.

What is needed now more than ever is courage.

There are many different Acts of Courage we can muster. Let us hold leaders in government and business accountable and expect them to have the Courage to be Confronted and to make it safe for others to tell truth to power. Let us support those who show the Courage to Confront, and help them to move beyond years of living in pain and shame, diminishment and invisibility.

Let us celebrate the Courage to Learn and Grow, and also the Courage to Let Go, so that positive change initiatives can take root and deliver fully.  And let us harness the Courage to be Vulnerable and open ourselves to move toward our highest dreams, roller-coaster emotional ride that it may sometimes seem.

It is time to heal the deep melancholy and sense of alienation that exists in our society.

As we look toward a fresh tomorrow, let us remember that transformational thinking helps to ensure that powerful, effective growth and development is taking place through a more heart-centered engagement with self and others. This is enlivening and enriching for all.

Holding onto what was but no longer fits is very much like the proverb of watering last year’s garden.

It will keep you from taking care of the seeds for this year’s crop, of recognizing the wonderful new opportunities in front of you.  Where does the courage to let go and to dream anew, to be vulnerable, to learn and grow, to confront and be confronted, come from?  There are many sources.  The main ones I have identified are:

  1. Service – to something greater than the fear of the moment
  2. Personal Purpose – a deeper sense of meaning than “ego” or personality
  3. Anger – at injustice; taking action in spite of fear and social condemnation
  4. Inspiration – seeing others who are showing courage in the face of needed change
  5. Camaraderie – and an unwillingness to let others down
  6. Love – the greatest motivator of all

Where others are seeing limitation and dead end signs, transformational leaders identify growth opportunities and new pathways forward.  This is making “shift happen.”  Every effective leader that I have studied or that I have worked with has been effective at doing this.

So how about you?

Are you stepping up to what is possible by cultivating the courage to let go of the old identity or ways of thinking that no longer serve you?

Are you a transformational presence or leader for your self, family, team, department or organization?

Are you effective both personally and professionally through your ability and willingness to shift your perspective – and way of thinking, working, engaging and behaving – as called for in the moment?  (Where you lack this ability, there is a great danger of becoming stuck in a well-worn, even a velvet-lined “rut.”  As my old boss and mentor Dr. James Noble Farr expressed it, “There is an endemic and epidemic disease impacting many people: ‘hardening of the categories.’”)

When you get stuck and feel there is no way forward, when the framework and situation around seems hopeless, then it is a sign of the failure to make a critical shift in your way of thinking and perceiving.  You may very well be suffering from “hardening of the categories,” that then leads to a failure of imagination.

I invite you to cultivate your creativity in order to shift to a broader, more innovative way of thinking. In the next (and final) blog in this series, I’ll dive into fun and powerful ways to foster this transformational capacity.

Quote from a Conversation with Dmitriy Kozlov about living with purpose and passion.

Purpose, Power, and Living from Your Heart

Dusty Staub Courage to Act, Courage to be Vulnerable and To Love, Courage to Confront, Courage to Let Go 0 Comments

A Conversation with Dmitriy Kozlov, Serial Entrepreneur, Artist, and Poet

Last week, Dusty Staub, best selling author of The 7 Acts of Courage, spoke with Dmitriy Kozlov about the courage to align with your heart and live with Purpose.

This is their conversation…

Dusty: Thank you so much for talking with me today Dmitriy. Could you tell our readers a bit about you, your work, and service in the world?

Dmitriy: I am a serial entrepreneurial-artist.  Creating new companies and doing it as an artist in both what and how I do it.  What I actually do at the moment is a creative design business that generates the back end for many growing companies.  We also build personal brand sites to drive an entrepreneur’s business while also expressing who they are in the world.

In addition to this I cofounded a group called Maverick X.  It is an organization helping those who have accomplished something already, created a business, to step up to a higher level of contribution in the world.  Finally, but not last, I am a poet creating most of it on FB or on my personal website.

Dusty: What is your relationship with Courage and why does it matter in your life and work?

Dmitriy: Your book, The 7 Acts of Courage really inspired me when I was 20.  In fact, as we are talking I am looking at a beautiful piece of art in front of me.  It appears to be a dragon at first glance, but as you look closer you see that the dragon is all made out of Monarch butterflies.

Dmitriy KozlovThis is a powerful image and insight.  All of my biggest, darkest fears are made out of butterflies, like those in my stomach when I am facing my fear.  Seeing the fear not as a dragon but a collection of butterflies helps me to step into greater grace and power in life.

In my life and work I like to explore the greatest depths of what is needed in order to be in alignment with my Purpose in living.

That means having the Courage to Learn and Grow, of being willing to step into the unknown.  I believe it takes courage for any of us to really claim, discover and share our gifts with the world.  The fuel to take those steps is courage.

Whether in relationships to tell the uncomfortable but authentic truth or in business to take a strategic risk, courage becomes the fuel, the key to all gifts that lay on the other side of that apparent dragon blocking the path.

Dusty: Where have you most needed to develop Courage in your life and in your work?

Dmitriy: There is a distinction between the two, and yet as my life is integrated, one flows into the other in many ways.  I mostly needed to develop courage in using my voice–speaking my truth when it doesn’t feel comfortable or I know it is the right thing to do even when it does not match the pulse of the environment.

It goes into my business: challenging the status quo, the business frame, stepping up and out.  Another major area where I have most needed to develop courage has been in the journey of decision-making.  Many times choices have been made from my head (logical process short term, weighing pros and cons).

Those do not require courage as it is just the game of the mind making choices.  When it comes to stepping into what my heart wants me to do, then it doesn’t always match what my head has come up with.  Making those choices has required the most courage in my life and my work.

An example of this:  This past year I went to Burning Man for the first time.  This was right after launching a new major product and service.  I was also moving from one place to another.  My mind was saying, “You need to stay home and handle everything.”

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He who binds himself to joy, does the winged life destroy.

The Courage to Let Go

Dusty Staub Courage to Let Go 0 Comments

Stepping Into the New Year

by Robert “Dusty” Staub

For over forty years it has been my life work to help people claim their purpose, passion, power and true presence in this world.  I have had the honor and privilege of working with individuals, families, teams, organizations and communities in actualizing this guiding purpose.  Let me share, briefly, what I have seen and why the Courage to Let Go matters so much.

When the root is deep, there is no need to fear the wind. - Chinese Proverb

When I was in private practice as a licensed marital and family therapist, I saw many people who were holding on to old grievances, wounds, resentments, anger and fear.  They had coalesced their identities around these past pains to such a degree that it sucked up much of their life force, keeping them stuck in well-worn ruts of sub-optimal patterns of reacting, responding, perceiving and thinking.

Whether it was a man holding on to the memory of a woman who had divorced him ten years earlier, entangled in the pain, the resentment, the longing or whether it was a woman holding on to an old relationship and unwilling to move on, it caused a relentless sense of loss, pain, grief and diminishment.

When I worked in Mental Health System inpatient wards and outpatient clinics, as well as in Drug and Alcohol treatment centers, I saw the same thing repeated over and over.  People were clinging to old definitions of self, to old hurts, sorrows and losses.

Subsequently they stayed stuck in patterns that brought only pain for themselves, their families and those around them.  People were attached to the “stories” of their life. These were stories that did not lead to release and freedom, but instead justified staying stuck and even righteous about patterns of limitation.  As the old saying goes…

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Be Your Best Self During the Holidays

Be Your Best Self During the Holidays

Dusty Staub Courage to Act, Courage to be Confronted, Courage to Confront, Courage to Learn and Grow, Courage to See Current Reality 0 Comments

by Wayne Scott Gerber, MSPH, President of Sungate Advisors, and Robert “Dusty” Staub, CEO of Staub Leadership and co-Founder, The Acts of Courage.

In theory, holidays are a time when we are exempt from the daily grind.

A time to replace the habitual stresses of living and relax with our family and friends.

In reality, our “holiday spirit” experience is often disturbed by a different stress, the one that can come from being in extended proximity with family. Many of us expect or believe that our “best self” needs to be on display, yet this is challenging because our “best self” co-habitates in our mind with our “normal self.”

There is often a struggle as to which “self” gets to make an appearance.  After all, it takes courage to see the true Current Reality as well as the Courage to Learn and Grow and the Courage to Act on insights to do our best.

Be Your Best Self During the Holidays

And the expectation that our best self be in charge is all too often sabotaged by some unconscious “spells.”  As explained in our book Dynamic Focus: Creating Significance and Breaking the Spells of Limitation, there is a “spell” when any unconscious mental habit of thinking and perceiving takes control of our mind and subverts our best intentions through subtle thoughts, beliefs and assumptions.

When this happens we feel we have either lost control, or we end up acting and relating with those around us in a way contrary to the intention of our “best self.”

One particularly powerful spell that we see is that of “Confirmation Bias.”

This is when we see what we expect to see by organizing information to fit a pre-conceived assumption. This includes cherry picking the information that fits our assumptions and expectations, while excluding that which does not. Challenges show up in numerous ways.

One of these is when families get together and there is unresolved tension between any of the members. Everyone tries to make nice and to bring his or her best self forward, but when one thing is said or done that confirms the source of tension, holiday togetherness can become hell on earth.

It does not always require someone else to trigger the “anti-holiday spirit” spell.

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The courage to live with fire. | theactsofcourage.com

The Courage to Live with Fire

Christine Staub Courage to be Vulnerable and To Love 0 Comments

A Conversation with best-selling author HeatherAsh Amara.

HeatherAsh Amara

Last week, we sat down with HeatherAsh Amara, best-selling author, speaker, and Warrior Goddess, about what it means to connect with your inner fire and courageously live an authentic life of your own creation. This is our conversation…

 

AOC: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today. Awaken Your Inner Fire is a remarkable book. Could you start by explaining what you mean by “inner fire”, and why connecting with your inner fire is so vital to living an authentic life of purpose and passion?

HeatherAsh: Your inner fire is your passion and your creativity. It’s your life force energy. I like to think about it this way: Let’s say you have a computer that’s made from the most up-to-date hardware and loaded with the best software. It’s an amazing computer, but if it’s not plugged into an energy source, nothing’s going to happen. Our inner fire is our energy source. The more power we have running through our system, and the more we’re plugged into our potential and our creativity, the more we’re going to be able to manifest to our world.

The message in Awaken Your Fire is really around bringing your attention back inside to listen for thoughts and actions that are dampening your fire, and the thoughts and actions that will ignite your fire and make you brighter. Coming back into relationship with this vital power source can help guide us in knowing what actions to take to create a life that will serve us the most.

Your inner fire is your passion and creativity. It's your life fore energy. - HeatherAsh Amara

AOC: In the book, you speak a lot about creativity. What would you say to those people who believe that they simply aren’t creative?

HeatherAsh: I believe we are all creative people. When you begin working with your inner fire, you start to recognize that every action you take is creative. The more that you come into alignment with what your truth is – with what’s authentic for YOU – the more creative you are able to be. This is especially true in how we respond to obstacles.

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Awaken Your Inner Fire Book Giveaway | theactsofcourage.com

Win a Copy of Awaken Your Inner Fire

Christine Staub Giveaways 1 Comment

Ignite Your Passion, Find Your Purpose, and Create the Life That You Love

by HeatherAsh Amara

Awaken Your Inner Fire

HeatherAsh Amara is a best selling author, speaker, and Warrior Goddess, who travels the world working with groups of women to integrate the feminine wisdom of the ancients into their modern lives.

Awaken Your Inner Fire will show you how to connect with the vital energy within you, the unseen force that gives life to your being. Perhaps because this energy can’t be measured in a lab, many people live without any idea of its existence, or the importance of tending to it.

In this groundbreaking book, best-selling author HeatherAsh Amara introduces you to the fundamentals of your Inner Fire, and explains how the four major aspects of your being – the mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical – all interact with this powerful energy.

Amara teaches that when you view these four aspects through the lens of your Inner Fire, you can radically change how you think, feel, and live in the world. In this audiobook, you’ll find practices, meditations, and explorations to put the concepts to work in your life.

HeatherAsh AmaraBy tending to your Inner Fire, you will learn how to:

  • Find your true work in the world, regardless of any job you do or role you play.
  • Use your Inner Fire as your own personal North Star, allowing it to guide you when making important decisions.
  • Move beyond busyness, stress, and overwhelm and live in joyous creation
  • Implement a new daily practice to live in balance no matter what life brings.

Learning how to tend your Inner Fire in a world that is constantly trying to hook your attention is a challenge – but this book invites you to take new perspective on who you are and how you relate to the world.

Here’s how to win a copy of Awaken Your Inner Fire by HeatherAsh Amara:

Log in to the little widget below (which will ensure that we can contact you if you win). You will be prompted to:

  • Subscribe to The Acts of Courage email Newsletter. The newsletter is a brief inspirational email sent to you once a week. Once subscribed, come back here and click “Enter” in the little entry widget.
  • After subscribing to the Newsletter, you will be given several options for extra entries. Complete as many as you like. Each one will earn you one more entry.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open until Friday, December 18th, 2017 at 12:00AM MST.  The Winner will be chosen randomly. We will email the winner and if the winner doesn’t respond in 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

This giveaway is featured on Julie’s Freebies and on The Blog Giveaway Directory.

The Acts of Courage Movie Club - Christmas Movies

The Acts of Courage Movie Club – Christmas Movies!

Dusty Staub The Acts of Courage Movie Club 0 Comments

“It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol”

About the Acts of Courage Movie Club: Movies  have the ability to transplant us into someone else’s story so that we might see the world as they do. This not only helps us relate to  people of all ages, backgrounds, cultures, and circumstances, but helps us understand ourselves better. Great movies connect us with the truth of who we are and the world in which we live, while simultaneously awakening our imagination to new possibilities.

The Acts of Courage Movie Club is a collection of movies we found to be particularly insightful in how we act – and don’t act – with courage. Just like a good book club, we’ve compiled a list of thought provoking questions designed to fuel conversation and further your own introspection.

So grab the remote and a bucket of popcorn and join us as we explore the ways courage permeates our world through the artistry of a really good flick.

Transformational Moments: Birthing Joy

The Acts of Courage Movie Club | It's a Wonderful Life

Stories – good ones – are powerful, living entities that engage the heart and mind by inspiring, uplifting, stoking courage, evoking awe, offering insights and guidance. As human beings we are shaped by the stories we are told as well as the stories that we tell.

For thousands of years our ancestors sat in the dark of nights in a world that was lit only by fire. It was around those fires that meals were cooked and stories were told. It has been said that stories, just like fire, are part and parcel of the human DNA.

In the past century, movies have become a powerful new way of telling stories to encourage the heart and inspire more authentic, joyful ways of living. Through recorded images, music and words, stories can be repeated exactly every time they are told.

Yet according to the age, life experience and momentary circumstance of the viewer, movies are never quite received as the same story, even when seen more than once. As with all stories, movies can uplift or bore, frighten or inspire us. They can inform us of what it means to be a whole human being or present a cautionary message about what happens when we lose our way.

In this holiday season of celebrations and reunions, which may include remembering and grieving lost loved ones as well as reconnecting and healing important family ties, movies can be an especially potent way of moving deeper into more meaningful living.

In fact…

The right movies can help to transform our way of thinking, perceiving and being in the world.

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The courage to choose happiness and see the good. | theactsofcourage.com

The Courage to Choose Happiness

Dusty Staub Courage to be Vulnerable and To Love, Courage to See Current Reality 1 Comment

A Conversation About Courage, Happiness, and Seeing the Good

Last week, Dusty Staub, best selling author of The 7 Acts of Courage, spoke with Leeza Carlone Steindorf about what it means to know the goodness of who you are, and see the good inherent in others, and in the world.

Leeza is an Executive Coach, Strategic Planning Facilitator, Organizational and Personal Transformation Specialist, and the Award-Wining Author of Connected Parent Empowered Child: Five Key to Raising Happy, Confident, Responsible Kids.

This is their conversation…

Dusty: Thank you so much for talking with me today, Leeza. Would you tell our readers a bit about you and your work? 

Leeza: I am a tour guide for my clients.  I help them claim an outstanding life, both personally and professionally.  In my work, I help people open their eyes to who they are and what they are capable of being and doing.

I coach, facilitate groups, offer trainings and strategic planning in corporations, and work with parents and educational institutions.  In the process of doing this, I help people to get clear.  A client called me a “laser beam”: I am able to bring great focus, clarity and illumination to a person, situation or organization.

Similar to what Theresa Nicassio illustrated with her story of the Golden Buddha when you interviewed her a few weeks ago, my work unearths the hidden treasures that have been buried, not only in an individual but also at the organizational level.  Personally, I delight in life. I have a tremendous sense of awe and a way of being that proceeds from this and that underlines all I do.

Dusty: What is your relationship to Courage?

Leeza: I am someone who has had the courage to reinvent myself, more than once. I grew up in a violent home environment and so I created a defensive structure to survive. Later I found that the angry and unhappy patterns that I had learned to move with did not work out in the world.

They simply did not work for the life I wanted for myself.  As a result of that awareness, I had to reinvent myself in order to be more effective.  Then in my family life, when my marriage ended, I had to do similar inner work to recast myself.

Next, when I experienced challenges in business, reinvention was required yet again.

The courage to choose happiness and see the good. | theactsofcourage.com

I can tell you from my personal experience that happiness is a choice.  By “happiness” I mean a deeply rooted sense of ease and comfort in myself.  This is not based on circumstances; it is how you run your mind and orient your perceptions.

It is possible to be happy anywhere.  When you make it dependent upon circumstances or on the behavior of others, your happiness is always at risk.  The way you look at things, the meaning you give to things, determines your experiences, perceptions and, indeed the worldview you have.  Happiness is possible anywhere and under any circumstances. 

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Financial Well-being for the family | Interview with Gary Stone | theactsofcourage.com

Financial Well-Being and the Family

Dusty Staub Courage to Learn and Grow, Courage to See Current Reality 2 Comments

A Conversation About Financial Well-Being and the Future of Your Family.

Gary Stone | Financial Freedom for Families | theactsofcourage.com

Last week, Dusty Staub, best selling author of The 7 Acts of Courage, spoke with Gary Stone to talk about what it means to create financial well-being as a family.

Gary is a Researcher, Investor, Best Selling Author of Blueprint to Wealth: Financial Freedom in 15 Minutes a Week, and Founder of fixmynestegg.com.

This is their conversation…

Dusty: Thank you so much for talking with me today Gary. Before we get started, would you tell our readers a bit about you and what you do for a living? 

Gary: I am a husband and father with three children, as well as a long-distance runner and a low single figure golfer. What I do for a living is to help individuals and family create wealth.

I am a businessman and run a financial services company. For more than 22 years, I have helped people create financial freedom.

Dusty: How is What You Do Different from Other Financial Advisors?

Gary: We are called a ‘financial advising’ company but we are very different to what most would think of when they hear the term “financial advisor” or “financial planner”. The chief difference is that we help people be directly engaged in the stock market with a process and set of tools that help them experience success.

We help people develop an effective plan using a structured process and then teach them how to manage it in a rigorous manner that takes only fifteen minutes of attention each week, once the plan is completed.

Most financial advisors look at your entire financial situation and then on the management needs of your debts, credit cards, insurance policies, qualified retirement plans, asset allocation, etc. The asset classes that they would have you invest in would be stocks, mutual funds, target date funds, bonds, real estate, cash or other such investments.

Instead of all of that, we focus specifically on the stock market. When people realize their investments are not up to snuff then we show them how to grow their wealth by being the key decision makers on what to buy, when to be out or in the market and how much to invest in exchange traded funds, stocks and/or cash. It is a self-directed process and the person as an investor is making the decision.

Dusty: What is your experience working with families? Where does the conflict over finances come and where do they most need courage?

Gary: In my experience over the years, many families live beyond their means; there is more going out than is coming in each month and this leaves no room to make the investments for future well-being, for building wealth.

This is a place of great conflict within the families that I have worked with. It is a dimension of family life that generates misunderstanding, great anxiety, and needless pain. Part of the process of minimizing this conflict is learning to have the Courage to Face the Current Reality, to notice key imbalances in the family’s financial life, and then address these through a thoughtful, organized, and agreed-upon systematic process.

This means having the courage to engage in the difficult conversations about how to manage money in a way that takes care of today AND also addresses generating well-being and freedom for the future. This is essential.

Families creating future wealth | interview with Gary Stone | theactsofcourage.com

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How to deal with family conflict during the holidays

Courage Does Not Take a Holiday

Dusty Staub Courage to be Confronted, Courage to be Vulnerable and To Love, Courage to Learn and Grow 6 Comments

A Conflict Survival Guide for Families During the Holidays

by Robert “Dusty” Staub

The holidays are rapidly approaching.  For many, this is a time for celebration, connection with family and friends, and expressions of love and gratitude. Paradoxically, during the holidays we also see increased depression, anxiety, tension and conflict.

What is going on?  What is behind this paradox?

Having  been trained as a Marital and Family Therapist, I have had the opportunity to observe these dynamics in depth with my clients, as well as to explore them first hand with my own family. Old wounds, unresolved jealousies, frozen perceptions, and unrealistic expectations – these are part of a recipe for disappointment, hurt and unnecessary pain.

Ironically, conflict can happen even when, deep down, family members truly care for each other. Often there is an attempt to suppress what we are really thinking or feeling because we don’t want to threaten family ties. But invariably we show our true colors, and by then it doesn’t always come out diplomatically!

A “survival guide” for dealing with family dynamics during the holidays.

Later in this post, I’ll share a useful conflict survival guide that can help you successfully navigate difficult family situations – especially during the holidays. This guide can also serve as a roadmap for greater happiness in key relationships year-round. In my personal experience, courage is especially important when we move into the holiday season and are going to be spending extended time with family members.

First, there is the Courage to be Open and Vulnerable

Not as a victim, but as someone who loves and is willing to seek to understand versus to defend.

The courage to be open and vulnerable

In fact, the biggest mistake most family members make when they hear something they don’t like, or feel offended or hurt by, is to become defensive.  The instant you start to defend yourself against what someone has said, you have already lost.

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