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  • Valerie Hope

Ep. 7 - Time To Come Alive: "Courage Is The Road To Confidence"

NQS | Courage

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Time To Come Alive: "Courage Is The Road To Confidence"


I am excited to have you all here. It's an opportunity for us to build community and find ways to continue to peel off any layers that are keeping us back from love. I welcome all of you to the session. I'm called to help people become more conscious of themselves, more connected with others, and more creative in how they contribute to the world. That's the purpose of having calls like this because it gives me an opportunity to connect with all of you.

What I'd like to do is start with mindfulness. What that means is an opportunity to connect with yourself. If you participated in our session, we had a special guest who talked about self-connection and how that leads to nonviolent communication, meaning that we tend to be more present and connected to ourselves. Therefore, it is easier not to get triggered by other people. I'd like to honor the self-connection exercise that we did by pulling that up.

I want you all to sit up wherever you're sitting, or if you're standing or doing some other activity, pause for a couple of moments. What we'll do is have you relax. In some cases, you might be able to close your eyes. If it is not safe for you to do so, not but you might close your eyes or soften your gaze. Relax your eyelids, jaw, shoulders, arms, and hands. Make sure that there's no tension. You can scan your body from the top of your head all the way through your shoulders and torso. Feel a wave of relaxation moving down through your hips, legs, and feet.

Whatever adjustments you need to make will allow you to be more comfortable. Take a deep breath in, exhale, another deep breath in, and exhale. As you're continuing to breathe in deeply and exhale fully, I want you to reflect for a moment and think, “What am I feeling?” What are you feeling at this moment? Are you feeling irritated or excited? Are you feeling happy? Are you feeling grateful? Are you feeling frustrated? Are you feeling sad? Whatever feeling comes up, be with it. No judgment.

Keep breathing in and out. You can identify any other feelings that have come up. As you notice the feeling you're experiencing, ask yourself, “What am I needing? Do you need a connection, patience, rest, excitement, understanding, compassion, and effectiveness? Identify what it is that you need. Breathe. I want to conclude our self-connection by taking another deep cleansing breath, exhaling, and coming back into the space you're in. Whatever room, office, or car, be back and be present there.

I appreciate that exercise because although we don't necessarily talk in depth about what the feeling and the need are and if they're related, I find that getting present and connected to what we're feeling gives us an opportunity to express and articulate what our needs are. When we're able to articulate our needs and feelings to other people, the strategy, the way in which we fulfill that need or address that feeling, is more aligned.

We sometimes tend to be judgmental of our feelings or needs. When we have judgment, it prevents us from not only connecting to ourselves but also pushing other people away or having people interact with a part of us that is not authentic. That exercise gives us an opportunity to be our most authentic self to ourselves first. That allows us to express ourselves authentically to another person. That's the point of the exercise. Continue to do that as you feel needed throughout the day. Connecting to your body, breath, feelings, and needs is something that you could use at every single moment, not necessarily at the beginning and the end of your day.

Thank you for indulging in that mindful moment. This is an opportunity for us to come together to connect but more importantly, for you to invest time in yourself. The purpose of coming alive is to feel what it is that you need, fulfill that need, and contribute once you get centered and stable. I understand what you're requiring and what you need to be fulfilled. You can be there for other people and contribute in more meaningful ways.

I have a quiz that I put together. Some of you have used this quiz already. It's called the Bring Joy to Life Quiz. It is an opportunity for you to get clear about where you are on your path of bringing that, being centered and purposeful. If you'd like to take the free quiz, go to You'll see where you are on your path and what to prioritize to continue to move forward. I would like you to take that assessment. It's free. You get a wonderful opportunity afterward to get your results, even have a conversation with me to debrief your results if you like.

Our topic for this episode is courage and how courage could be the road to confidence. The reason I thought of this topic is because every once in a while, I hear people saying that they want confidence and something that people would like to embody. They want to do something. Something is stopping them. They feel that they're being stopped or stuck in doing and moving forward in any capacity in their life. When we talk about what's missing, confidence is usually the word that comes up.

I thought that was an interesting concept because I don't relate to the word confidence the same way. Confidence is a muscle that's built over time but courage is the starting point of courage. One of the things that I thought would be helpful to talk about was how we might express courage or what holds us back from courage.

I'll give you a brief example. As a child, I remember going to Sunday school. I went to a Christian Church. In Sunday school, we were taught about some of the stories and key characters in the Bible. One of them was King Solomon, who was known as a wise king. In the Bible, there is a story about Solomon making a decision about a baby. There was a dispute between two mothers. One of them claimed she was the mother. Another one said, “No, that was my baby.” He solved that particular challenge by using his intuition and wisdom.

When I heard that story, I felt how someone envisions such a clear and bold decision but with intuition. At that moment, I decided that wisdom was going to be my ultimate goal. It sounds cheesy for a ten-year-old to say that but I remember feeling that this is who I want to be. I want to be wise and not have to make decisions like that for other people about who the baby belongs to. I wanted to have a level of confidence and inner knowing. I'm not sure why that appealed to me so much but that's what was called out to me.

What that did for me was identify one of my core values. What I'm pointing to here is that one of the first steps to identify where to be courageous in life is by knowing your core values because our values drive our behaviors. They dictate where we spend our time and energy. For me, wisdom meant reading, having conversations with strangers, and getting personal sometimes because I also knew that by talking to people, I learned more.

NQS | Courage
Courage: One of the first steps to identifying where to be courageous in life is to know your core values, because our values drive our behaviors.

It had me date men from different cultures and races. It had me travel to places on my own and with others and take a lot of opportunities to experience life fully, personally, because I knew that every single experience that I had would give me some added perspective to challenge my beliefs or my ideas and broaden my world. That's the outset of courage when we identify our values. Based on our values, we begin to align our lives to those values. When we don't identify our values, it is difficult to take the chances that we would sometimes take.

That's the main thought that I wanted to start our conversation with. I want to get into a conversation much faster than usual. I want to focus on what courage means to you. I want you to ask yourself that question. I'm going to open up the line so that you all can start asking or talking about what courage means to you, what it looks like, who you would like to share, what courage is for you, and how it shows up. I start with my buddy Felipe. For those who don't know you, you're such a loyal participant. Tell us where you're calling from.

I'm calling from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Felipe, thank you. What does courage look like for you? What is it for you? How does that look in your life?

A couple of things came to my mind. There are two situations. The first people I thought about were my parents, especially my dad. He went to São Paulo, which is the biggest city in the country, at a very young age. He's from another state but he went there to work and make a life on his own. Whenever we are together and think a bit about his journey, we come back to this point where he left his house and went to this big city where he built everything he has and we have together. A young man going to this huge place without much instruction or resources and seeing where he is makes me proud and think that's an example of courage. That’s my main example of courage in life.

Would you know what your father did that? What was the value that he was expressing by making that type of move?

I'm not sure if it's a value but it's boldness. Different from his other brothers and sisters, he always had this huge sense of responsibility, and he wanted to make his way out. That was decisive in his journey.

It would be interesting if you had the chance to have a conversation about this with your dad to find out what it was about being bold that was important to him. I can imagine that not only did it take something to do what he did but also thought about what was the push that compelled us to act. We sometimes shut it down and dampen it. We have judgment about it like, “That's good. That's bad. Our family or friends wouldn't like it.” Whatever judgment comes up usually has us put it to the side or dim it. It sounds like your father turned his up to take action. I'd be curious to find out what drove him to do that.

I've never thought about it. That's a nice question for him.

It might give you some great insights about it. How are you like your father?

That was the second thing that I thought about because we had an opportunity in the hotel to receive young people from a social program here in the city that we work with. They asked me to share about my professional journey. I was telling them my stories. In the end, one of them came to me and said, “You were very brave in taking a couple of opportunities during this time because you had the opportunity to work for two months at Disney. You made it. You had the opportunity to go to the hotel and work there for a while, and you made it. You had the opportunity to go to Rio, and you took it.”

I had never thought about it but I realized, “I'm brave. I have courage because I wouldn't be able to do that if I was not courageous enough.” It was necessary for another person to tell and acknowledge that. I was able to acknowledge it myself. That was a very interesting point. Whenever someone asks me about one of my characteristics, I mention that because I believe in it.

We take it for granted. We are unconscious and unaware of what characteristics or traits we have, especially those positive ones. We question them because sometimes they become like, “That's what I do. Is that a big deal?” We take it for granted. I'm glad that you were able to accept that acknowledgment from them. Thanks, Felipe. I'm going to ask Kelsey if she would like to share. What does courage mean to you? How does that show up in your life?

NQS | Courage
Courage: We take for granted or are unconscious of the characteristics and traits we have, especially those positive ones.

Mine is a little bit similar to Felipe's. A lot of times, I don't realize that I do things but it's because I have to do those things. I've gone through some things that most people haven't. My son's father died several years ago. I lost a daughter unexpectedly at birth. It’s a couple of things like that that people say, “You're strong. You made it through that.”

I didn't have any other option. You have to get through that. You can't live in that forever. It took a lot of courage to do that. It was something I knew I had to get through it. You have to keep going. You have kids and a family. You've got to keep the house and do all of those things. The only way to do that is to push through it and take the little steps day by day. Hopefully, you'll get to the end.

First of all, sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing that. When you said that we have to and don't have a choice, we do have a choice. I know plenty of people would've been down. Their life would've been turned upside down and not righted again. I want to define courage for you because this is a piece that sometimes we are like, “There's no other choice.”

Courage is the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, and pain without fear. This is what the dictionary says but I'm curious if you, Kelsey, or Felipe, were afraid to move in the direction that you decided. Was there any fear in dealing with the passing of your husband and the challenge you had with losing a child, Kelsey?

It was hard. I wasn't afraid. I don't know which direction to go. I don't know how to do this or how to navigate through it. If I don't take any steps, I'm not going to get there. Even if it's a step in the wrong direction, and I realize that it's more harmful than helpful, let's not do that. Let's go another avenue to see if that's going to help and steer me in the right direction.

If you realize that something is more harmful than helpful, then do not do it. Go to another avenue.

It sounds like not doing anything was worse than doing the wrong thing. I found a quote about courage. You're exemplifying what this quote is saying. Ambrose Redmoon is a pseudonym for a writer. His quote is, “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” I'm going to take that in for a moment because, Kelsey, this is what you expressed. It wasn't like what you said was frantic for you. It could be tied to fear in some way. You thought, “That's great but I need to do something. I cannot do something.” You suspended the judgment about it to take action. Does that resonate with you?

It does. When you were reading the definition from the dictionary, I was thinking, “I don't have courage.” I was afraid. I already had a son that I had to live for, take care of, and provide for. He needs his mom more than ever. I need to be present and be in my right mind because I can't take care of him if I can't take care of myself. He is more important than me. Feeling sorry for myself is not going to fix anything. It's going to make it worse.

There's something more important than feeling fear. That's taking care of your son in this case. What other, Felipe or Kelsey, do you think about other areas of your life? It could be this moment. What other areas of your life do you see require your courage?

For me, it's starting this new career and having the courage to take the steps. I'm holding myself back because I'm scared I'm going to fail but if I continue to do that, I will fail because I'm not making any steps to do that. I’m coming to the realization that I am the roadblock. Get over it and keep going. I've seen it start to work. I get out of my head, be me, not think about what the job has told me, and go on.

How did you get to that point, Kelsey?

Through our last meeting.

That's the other piece. Most of us make huge leaps and transitions in our mindsets, how we process things, and what we do. What most people see is the output. They see the outcome of something we've been working through or working on for days, weeks, months, hours, and years. What I could tease out or contribute to others is what a process is. What does it take for someone to go from doing something one way and seeing that it's not working or seeing that there's a need and changing your mindset to express that in a different way? If you're comfortable, share what did you think through. What was the process for you to get to that point?

I'm in sales but it's not sales-y. You had said that your interpretation is I was thinking too much about what the other person was going to say and having an answer to what I thought they were going to respond with. I got out of that and was like, “Let's say this.” If I didn't take that first step, even if it's a baby step, it's not going to happen because talking with you and in the assessment that I did, I could tell you where I was lacking.

If you don't take that first step, even if it's just a little baby step, it's not going to happen.

I would fill that out and feel ashamed because I'm like, “I need to work on that.” Did I know that? Yes. Was I doing anything about it? No. We all would ask somebody else like, “What are you doing that's working?” When they say it, you're like, “I'm not that type of person. That won't work for me.” You know what would work for you. You know that you should be doing it but you're not because you're scared.

May I offer something, Kelsey?


Rather than say you, you say I. It’s the words that came out of your mouth because you said it beautifully.

I have to take the first step. If I don't take the first step, there is no second step or third step. I'm going to fail. That's okay but I'm going to have success. Another thing was, with sales, you can't get to the yes if you don't have all the nos. I have to get through 20 to 30 noes before I get 1 yes but it's going to pay off for me. It's making a difference for me. It's impacting that person as well and benefiting them. I have to do something.

You can't get to the yes if you don't have all the nos.

It also points to what I said about courage as the beginning of the road to confidence. What you explained is a choice. Felipe, what you did was a choice. Every choice leads us to do something, take another tack and strategy, and do something different. Every choice to do something builds a muscle. That muscle is confidence.

When you can engage your courage, you're like, “There's some fear there but there’s something that's even more important than that. I don't have any judgment about fear. Fear will show up. I will need to take this step. I'm going to take this action.” That is what begins to build your ability to find confidence to engage in whatever activity or say whatever is in your mind or heart with authenticity more often. What do you guys think about that? Felipe, what are your thoughts on that?

One of the things that I enjoy the most about our calls is that I'm miles apart from her but I identify so much with whatever is being said here. Thank you, Kelsey, for sharing. We are all in this together. It's amazing. It gives me the goosebumps. I like this idea of thinking about confidence as a muscle because I truly believe in that. If I think about my experiences and the way things have rolled out, this muscle has been exercised a couple more on one side. I have to exercise it more on other sides. It's like that.

You have to even out. Would you be willing to give an example of something more specific?

It's career-related. People usually notice the outcome. I've been looking for this career change for a while, and it's been a process. It was not easy. I'm sure whenever something different happens, some people will say, “How come?” I've been questioning myself and living this process for a few years. It takes courage. I'm taking my first baby steps to achieve what I want to achieve.

It's more related to my career change and the steps that I need to take to get there. In my case, if I can add something, I have this instability profile. I've been working for the same company for the past several years. Making this change takes courage. I wouldn't say fear. Fear is such a strong word from the definition. I was also listening to that. I was thinking about fear. Insecurities come along. I wouldn't say fear in my case but insecurities.

Fear is the root. We have ways of expressing fear. It might be insecurity and frantic like Kelsey mentioned. It might be doubt and uncertainty. If you peeled all of those words down, fear would be the root cause. The dictionary definition is limited than the quote that I read. All courage we require is going to have to overcome the need or drive to be safe and protected. That's what I want to point to. I'm curious, Felipe. You've been in this process for a few years and are thinking about moving your career in a different direction. If you had to look back, what has been driving you to take the baby steps? What was compelling you to take the baby steps? Can you share that?

NQS | Courage
Courage: Ultimately, courage requires us to overcome the drive to be safe and protected.

It's a willingness to feel butterflies in the stomach. I was choosing my words for 2019. The words that I chose were in Portuguese. It is novidades. That means news.

That was for 2019 but a few years ago, you started this process. What did you begin? What was the push?

It's important to me to feel that I'm giving my 100% and that I am relevant. I started thinking I wanted to give my 100% to another activity or place. It's not here anymore. I do what I do and I'm happy. I have the opportunity to help people and do nice things but my willingness to do it in a different way is bigger.

You start to notice, “I'm more compelled to do this than that.” The pain of not doing something starts to outweigh the inertia. The pain of not moving toward your goal or vision becomes greater than the safety or comfort that you feel from staying put.

It makes you get motion.

Kelsey and Felipe, thank you all so much for sharing openly about what you are working through. Catherine, what are you getting from the conversation?

It sounded like there were some things that were being discussed in terms of conquering some inner fear, insecurities, and other things that are associated with it.

We've been talking about courage, what courage looks like in our lives, and where we see ourselves acting in a courageous way. I'm curious for you, Catherine. What would be something that you define as courageous for you? What would be something that you've done or experienced that you would say, “That took courage?”

In the past, it's been very difficult to be vulnerable. That's within my relationships, including work, personal, and family, because of the role that I play in those things. My mom passed in 2005. Once she passed, it became even more relevant because my dad and brothers had left. At that point in my life, when I look back, courage was not showing my feelings. I didn't even cry at her funeral. That meant that I was strong and courageous. In hindsight, to me, courage is being vulnerable and okay with expressing those feelings. I was so numb to things that were opening me up to feel whatever the emotion was for me. That's what courage is to me.

What an act of courage you took in sharing that. In sharing what you said, you took something. It went against the conditioning that you'd had to not share your feelings or show vulnerability. You did it.

My dad was military. Since I was the only girl in the household, he always felt like I was raised with the mentality of suck it up, get over it, keep it moving, and walk it off. That was what was programmed for me. That was how I was taught and how I learned how to handle situations. I have to take a step back sometimes because he gets emotional. It makes me uncomfortable because I'm not used to it. I get proud of him, the fact that he is learning because he's realized, “I'm not going to hide who I am anymore. This is who I am. I'm going to be vulnerable and tell everyone that I love how I feel.” It's taken a while but he's come around. To me, that's awesome.

You described a little bit of my life. I'm the only daughter. I have three brothers. My father was in the Army. It was like, “Suck it up. Crying is not an option.” For all of us, if you think about the idea of how we judge our feelings and why we judge our processes, I can be grateful for the upbringing that I had to be able to suck it up, move on, overcome, and get in my feelings that I can't function and the journey that I've taken. My divorce was what cracked open that shell of like, “I got to hold it together.”

That journey began with me saying, “Emotions are a wonderful thing to feel, express and embrace.” I don't want us to take for granted what we did to cope at one point in our lives to survive the situation and move forward with whatever tools or resources we have. That's also something to be grateful for because it got us to a certain point. The challenges and strategies of the past don't serve the vision of our future. Those become outdated after a while.

NQS | Courage
Courage: The strategies of the past don't serve the vision of our future.

What you all have been pointing to is the areas of your life that you want to expand, challenge, grow, and experience. That requires a conscious decision. The choice to be courageous, not to diminish the strategies that you had before but they won't work. They won't take you where you want to go, not as far. The whole idea of coming alive to me is not just about excitement and fun. It's about fully being able to explore and express who you are from moment to moment.

It’s the willingness to take whatever baby steps we can to have a conversation that would lead us to something, be curious and ask a question that might gain us information, and share some aspect of your life that will serve other people. It’s huge. Kudos to every single person who made that move. We need to also acknowledge and celebrate it for ourselves. People see the outcome and the outside expression of whatever you're going through.

Some of that stuff takes a lot of soul searching, work, and being courageous within yourself before anything is ever expressed in the three-dimensional world. I'd love to hear what you are getting from this. Kelsey and Catherine, can you share who you are and where you're from? I didn't get a chance to do that. I feel like I know you guys so well that I take it for granted that other people do not.

I'm Catherine Gonzalez. I am in Dallas, Texas.

Kelsey is from Texas. In the last few minutes that we had, what did you guys get out of our conversation? What are some things that you will apply moving forward?

I'm feeling good and better because I like the idea of celebrating being courageous. I want to help my colleagues or closest friends acknowledge their moments of courage and own these moments.

Here's something I would offer you, Felipe, or anyone else who wants to acknowledge moments. Courage looks very different from person to person. The moment that we can release our judgment of what's courageous, some people would say, “What's the big deal? Buy a plane ticket and go somewhere. Go travel.” For some, that could be the absolute, most devastating, or the most fear-inducing thing they could ever do.

Another person is expressing their feelings openly and telling someone they're sad or lonely. Expression could be terrifying. I want to point that out because, as we're encouraging other people to be courageous, what I want you all to be aware of is that what they define as courageous is different. Even in my life, I've noticed that when I've had judgments about like, “It's not a big deal. Go do it,” I have to understand that all of us have our history, background, and perceptions of what's appropriate, what isn't appropriate, and how we were taught.

The main thing is for us to be able to acknowledge and not have any judgment but to encourage whatever behavior. I don't think it's a coincidence that we say encourage to give people that avenue, openness, and support they need to be courageous. Here's my challenge to everyone. I invite you all to do one courageous act every day, whatever is courageous for you.

Kelsey mentioned she's in the sales business so it’s perhaps doing something where she knows, “I might get a no here or I might not but I'm going to go for it anyway.” That could be that courageous act every single day. Catherine, if that means telling your brother something or sharing a feeling with them, that's your courageous act. Every single day, I want to encourage each of us to do something that feels courageous.

I have a Facebook page, Connect to Joy. Like the Facebook page and tell us how your courage building is going. Give us an update every once in a while. What have you done? What have you tried? Where did it work? Where did it not work? Release all judgment of it. That's my call to action. Take an act of courage every single day. If you have more, it’s awesome.

Take an act of courage every single day.

It was so wonderful. What an honor to be with you all. Thank you so much for joining in and sharing from your heart what's been coming alive for you, what you've done to come alive, and what you would like to come alive in other areas. I’m looking forward to talking to every one of you again and also through Facebook. In the next episode, we will recap and see how well things went in your courage-building activity. Thank you for joining, everybody. Have a wonderful rest of your day.

Important Links

Ambrose Redmoon: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”


Our values determine what we do or say. Get clear on what your values are and let them be the fuel for your courage.



  • “Courage is the road to confidence”: Learn the multiple definitions of courage and hear moments that push individuals out of their comfort zones.

  • Discover a deeper understanding of courage and how it is not merely the absence of fear but a conscious choice to prioritize something more significant than fear.

  • The Seven-Day Courage Challenge: Each day, participants are encouraged to step into their courage zones. Join the challenge!

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