I already know what it feels like to let my doubts keep me small; I’d like to see what happens when I lead with my heart anyway, doubts and all. That’s what these courage quotes are for: to carry you forward into something new, and maybe better.
“Courage, dear heart.” — C.S. Lewis, from an excerpt from Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chronicles of Narnia series
The other week during my monthly high-performance coaching session, my new friend Jen and I talked about courage. We dug deeper into what it means to be courageous, to take “action into the unknown” as she put it (I loved that; she’s amazing, by the way). That call still has me thinking.
We discussed how courage takes us further even when our fears tell us to stay back. How easy is it to stay small? That’s the thing too, though, that even though it’s easier to refrain from taking a leap into the unknown, it’s soul-crushing not to risk becoming who you might be.
To be and own who you are when nothing is a guarantee is an act of courage; it’s a continuous decision to show up anyway. To follow what you’re naturally drawn to when there are no promises of success is definitely courage in action.
Mostly, courage is an action. Yet it can also be a gentle switch from self-doubt to self-worth. It’s an underlying factor in all kinds of growth, in healing any kind of wound, in expressing our truth, in staying receptive to opposing views, in expressing compassion for those who struggle, in surprising ourselves with a new perspective.
And to observe our faults with a kind awareness? Whew. That’s bravery. Nevermind the resolution to mend them.
I think courage starts in the heart.
We fall. Courage decides that we get up. We doubt, fear, struggle, break. Courage says, “Continue, come what may.”
Gentleness is born of strength. Compassion is born of courage. It takes real strength to forgive someone, especially if it’s ourselves. And so often, courage comes from the suffering we’ve known, the losses we’ve survived or the battles we still fight.
There’s something incredibly awe-inspiring about someone who takes fear and uses it as a guide to something greater.
I hope these courage quotes get you thinking about what it means to take a step into the unknown, to answer the call that’s in your heart, or to show up for yourself or someone else no matter what you think is true. Just like a thought can be changed, courage can be grown. Actually, it’s kind of how you grow too.
20 Courage Quotes to Inspire You to Lead with Your Heart, into the Dark
1. “With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity.” — Keshavan Nair
2. “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than one’s fear. The timid presume it is lack of fear that allows the brave to act when the timid do not. But to take action when one is not afraid is easy. To refrain when afraid is also easy. To take action regardless of fear is brave.” — Ambrose Redmoon
3. “If you have been brutally broken but still have the courage to be gentle to others then you deserve a love deeper than the ocean itself.” — Nikita Gill
4. “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means, at the point of highest reality.” — C.S. Lewis
5. “You can’t get courage without walking through vulnerability.” - Brene Brown
6. “You can’t test courage cautiously…” — Annie Dillard
7. “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’” — Mary Anne Radmacher
8. “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
9. “Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow talent to the dark place where it leads.” — Erica Jong
10. “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” — Anais Nin
11. “Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.” — Raymond Lindquist
12. “It’s amazing that even surrender can be a show of courage.” — Jennifer Williamson
13. “The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.” — Robert Green Ingersoll
14. “The best weapons against the infamies of life are courage, willfulness and patience. Courage strengthens, willfulness is fun and patience provides tranquility.” — Hermann Hesse
15. “Happiness is a form of courage.” — Holbrook Jackson
16. “There is nothing in the world so much admired as a man who knows how to bear unhappiness with courage.” — Luscius Annaeus Seneca
17. “It takes courage to live through suffering; and it takes honesty to observe it.” — C.S. Lewis
18. “Being deeply loved gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” — Lao Tzu
19. “Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.” — Rikki Rogers
20. “I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. it is there all the time.” – Anna Freud
. . .
What does courage mean to you? Where in your life could you begin to grow more courage?
Tell me in the comments. I read every single one, and I’d love to know!
P.S. Get this handwritten poetry print for courage you can hold. When you don't feel strong, all you have to do is read it to remember again.