As I eased down the 14 flights of stairs in between reps of sprints, I found myself pondering a certain word.
A few days before, a friend told me she noticed discouragement creeping into me and she wanted to help stop that. Her phone call worked – a few minutes after we talked, I felt renewed energy surging through me.
I mulled over the word discouragement as I covered the last few flights of stairs down, before I whipped around to race back up.
Dis-courage. I’ve always liked the definition of courage as plowing through your fear, rather than the absence of fear. And doing so in the face of uncertain results and potential failure.
So, what’s discouragement?
Losing that momentum and breaking your contract with yourself.
The potential reward that inspired your courage, still exists. So are the risks and the ways to fail.
When you chose courage, you accepted those odds and decided to plow forward anyhow.
Discouragement is changing your mind when nothing else has changed except your level of pain.
By digging into the word, I put together the remedy for that state of being.
When you’re feeling discouraged, look at your situation and ask, “What has changed? The reward? The danger? The risk?”
Chances are, it’s none of the above. You’re in the thick of your task and your growth and it hurts. But pausing like this to clarify your perspective can put the pain in its place. Then, you can rekindle the courage you need to keep moving forward.
Funny note to end on: I wrote the first draft for this short article several weeks ago. Since then, the part of my life causing me to feel discouraged, completely turned around. Just as my friend said it would.