20 Seconds of Courage

20 Seconds of Courage

A number of years ago, I watched the movie We Bought a Zoo.  It was really quite good–I found myself laughing and tearing up at the same time.  The biggest takeaway for me, however, was during a poignant moment where Benjamin Mee, played by Matt Damon, offered advice to his on-screen son.   

Here’s a link to that clip:


In case you didn’t catch it, here’s what Mee said, “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”

What’s amazing, is that it is true. 

When I reflect on my life and experiences, I lose count of the times when I agonize over something for hours–days even.  I also cannot recall a single instance when the experience was really as awful as I had played it out to be in my mind. Stepping off the zipline platform, letting go of the ski jump bar, singing eight measures for a musical theater audition… and so many others. 

The 20 seconds of courage mindset works in almost any situation–even when the event isn’t limited to 20 seconds. What I’ve learned is that an initial surge of bravery is often just enough to allow any notions of nerves to fade away. What’s difficult, however, is remembering to use that advice. 

A lot of you reading this are working differently these days.  Working at home certainly has its advantages. However, it also requires learning new skills and changing the method of delivery.  Doubtless, this can be stressful and can cause fear–of failure or of performing less effectively than accustomed to.

So, when you’re faced with that feeling of fear, consider Mee’s advice. Charge forward and be yourself.  Something great will come of it.

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