Choose Courage Over Comfort

“I cannot teach anybody anything; I can only make them think.” – Socrates

     My good friend Andrew Kline posted a picture yesterday that stated, “Hang out with me for too long and I’ll brainwash you into thinking for yourself.” The quote resonated with me as I have witnessed and experienced organizational thinking and limited critical thinking at the personal level.  I’ve started to see fewer people ask “why?” and just aimlessly DO.

Good leaders will ask great questions, and one of those questions is “why?” When I say leaders, I mean anyone in a profession or role in life where others observe and emulate your behavior and look up to you for advice.  Leaders often fail to realize the impact of their actions.  Leadership is simply influence.  A great leader cannot make anyone do anything they do not want to do, a great leader is simply good at influencing others by what they SAY and DO themselves.


As a female in the Marine Corps I’ve had several “suggestions”from others on how I should act, how I should lead, or even suggestions on major life decisions I should make for myself.  It didn’t take me long to start asking “why” in order to peel back the layers of the onion and get to the root of their intent.  It was often that I found that these suggestions were made based off of what that leader had been told for several years by other senior leaders, yet they had never stopped to ask “why” or form their own opinion.


When I recently asked (40) women to fill out a questionnaire I had them list (3) personal strengths and weaknesses.  Upon reviewing the answers I concluded that, across the board, the most common weakness was mental toughness and self confidence.  What this tells me is that women are already putting more pressure on themselves in addition to selling themselves short before even attempting to go for the gold.  Believing in yourself is something that may take several years to accomplish, but it’s something that we are all capable of doing and it usually starts with finding someone who believes in you more than you believe in yourself.  When it comes to confidence, I believe this may take years as well, but it can start with something as simple as reading a book, doing research, surrounding yourself with innovative people who think outside the box and learning from them.


As I’ve grown to understand how to utilize the combination of my natural born abilities, my personality and my past experiences I’ve come to realize my mission in life.  I understand that I was put on this earth to live out the purpose of influencing young women and inspiring them to reach their full potential, encouraging them to think outside the box.  I understand the pressure that women feel from society and I’ve managed to find myself despite what others say.  There are thousands and thousands of women on this earth who have natural talents, radiating personalities, and unique, often painful experiences that have shaped them to be strong and courageous. These women are lionesses just waiting to be let out of their cage.

I’m currently working with 6 women athletes and of those I have slowly, but surely started to see their mental shift.  Of these women (1) is a deputy Sheriff on a journey to be the first female in her local K-9 Unit, (1) is on a journey to be the first female and only Marine to lead an NCIS operation at her Unit, (1) is a softball player preparing to become a Marine Officer, (1) is preparing for The Basic School, (1) is a fire fighter and in the process of joining the military reserve, and (1) is a new mother who is training for the CrossFit Games.  Of these women I see nothing but potential and limitless capabilities.  They have all had experiences where males have judged them, questioned them, made their lives a little harder due to their gender, but these women aren’t backing down.

My message to the rest of the women who aren’t reaching their full potential, is to start asking “why?” Do not conform to the patterns of this world, yet let your minds be completely renewed and do not let it be shaped by the opinions of small minded individuals.  Form your own pattern of thinking and relentlessly pursue your purpose.  Choose courage over comfort and pave the path for the future generation that is waiting to be lead by your example.

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