Flex Your Courage Muscle

January 25, 2012

According to Ira Chalef, courage is the ability to step forward through fear. One of the manifestations of courage is pushing beyond your comfort zone.

I require every student in my social business and personal branding courses at The University of Nevada to make a brief “about me” video to post on their blog at the end of the semester. Considering how little guidance I give them, some of my students have produced impressive videos. Kendra Wilson’s video busting the myths about snowskating is the best one I’ve seen so far.

But my favorite video was made by Caitlin Durkin. Before I even hit the “play” button, I knew it must have taken tremendous courage for Caitlin to make this video. She pushed WAY outside of her comfort zone to do this, and I admire and respect that kind of courage.

Sure, it’s just a video, and not a perfect one at that. But I think it demonstrates that Caitlin understands that if she wants to have courage in the “big” things in her life and career, she has to find courage in the small, seemingly insignificant details of routine assignments. Caitlin could have sat at her kitchen table in front of a laptop and recorded a video that was “good enough.” Instead, she took a one hour drive to the shores of Lake Tahoe and spent considerable time recording this video while strangers wandered by and stopped to watch what she was doing.

Caitlin flexed her courage muscle and gave herself permission to shoot for excellence. I am very, very proud of her. As you watch the video, please feel free to shout out loud “hell yes!”

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Comments (9)

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  1. Hi Bret!
    Thank you for your flattering comments about my video! I’ve been in a few classes with Caitlin, and I really respect the direction she’s taking with her brand! Go Girl!

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Welcome, Kendra! Both your video and blog are truly impressive. I hope people will take the time to click through to your site and check out the amazing work you do there. I’m very, very grateful you took my class! Thanks, Bret

    Caitlin Durkin Reply:

    Thanks, Kendra! I too admire your passion for your snow skating and think you’ve created an awesome blog. Take care!

  2. Hi Bret!

    It’s really flattering see my name in someone elses blog–and about my video too!

    Yes, many things in life require courage, which is something I have to remind myself of every now and then. And way to often people let fear scare them off, but then they miss out on cool opportunities that they can learn and grow from. I have even learned that I want to do more videos in the future, and get better at them.

    Thanks for the awesome compliments, and I think everyone should get out their and “Flex their courage muscle.”

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Welcome, Caitlin! We all love pingbacks. I hope folks take the time to watch the video and check out your blog. Don’t stop! Thanks, Bret

  3. Greg Blencoe says:


    I really enjoyed watching both videos! You’ve obviously got some very talented people in your classes.

    I like associating the process of building courage with the process of building muscle, because in both cases you just have to really push through to get to the next level.

    As I look back on overcoming some of my fears, I now realize that a lot of the fear was created in my mind. I had to push through to get to the next level, but then I realized after the fact “That wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”

    One thing that has really helped me with fear is to care a lot less about what other people think. I realized that we give away a lot of our power by worrying too much about how others will respond to us.

    That doesn’t mean it’s OK to not be respectful or not treat others well. I just think people should care more about being their true selves regardless if certain people have a problem with it. Let that be their problem, not yours.

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    thanks for taking the time to watch the videos, Greg! Love your point about not caring about what others think. I like to say I always care what people think, but that does not mean it always matter. Thanks! Bret

  4. davidburkus says:

    Great stuff. I love what you’ve done with this course. Now excuse me while I go steal it. ; )

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Steal away, David. Keep me posted on what you guys are doing. Thanks! Bret