Courage : Day 1

This year, I am dedicating each of the first 12 days of January to a quality I am working on developing in myself in 2011.

I've been thinking a lot about courage lately. The word stems from the Latin "cor" meaning "heart," and my feeling is that having real courage is often about following your heart and going after what is really important to you in life.

Sometimes I think that I have played things too safe in life, that I've often chosen the more reliable, secure way, the comfy Plan B - instead of being daring enough to pursue Plan A. I'll be turning 40 this year, and this reminds me in a rather shocking way that I need to be spending the next 40 years doing exactly I most want to do, clarifying my dreams and goals, and putting them into action. It reminds me that I need to weed out the distractions, focus on my true vision, and go full speed ahead with a courageous heart. 

Especially as women, we are often trained to think that being courageous and pursuing our dreams is equal to being selfish. I would argue that we are responsible for taking care of ourselves, creating our own happiness, and only when we feel happy and fulfilled can we be of service to anyone else. Yes, I want to take care of my family and I will be there do that. But I also know that part of being a good role model for my daughters means showing enough courage to go after my personal creative dreams. 

What qualities do you want to develop in yourself this year? Could you use an extra dose of courage? Here's to more encouragement in 2011 - for all of us! And a bowl of black-eyed peas for good luck too :)