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Many believe that courage and confidence are interchangeable, but they are indeed different. Remember the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz? In the movie, he does many courageous things yet lacks the confidence inCourage to move forward himself to believe that he possesses courage. Like the actions of the cowardly lion, I believe that courage comes before confidence.

Years ago, I went to visit a friend who generously hosted me at his shore house for the weekend. On the way down the shore (that’s Northeast speak for “going to the beach”), my friend asked me what I wanted to do. He offered almost every non-motorized water sport possible as a suggestion. I let him know that while his ideas sounded great, I did not know how to swim. Given my reputation as a smart ass, I imagine he thought I was making a joke and chose not to believe me.

When I got there, he once again suggested the same water activities. My friend’s house is right on the bay; in fact, I can sit on his deck and my feet are in the water during high tide! Given the location, I see why he is so passionate about water activities, but the bay is 27 feet deep which is a little over my head 😊. Once more I reminded him that I cannot swim. When my friend finally realized I wasn’t joking, he suggested using a life vest. I asked him if it would teach me to swim (I’m a smart ass, remember?), and his response was a “no”, peppered with a few choice expletives. Though the vest wouldn’t magically make me an Olympic swimmer, he reassured me that it would prevent me from drowning. My friend used to be a lifeguard, so I was confident that between him and the life preserver I would be safe. I decided to put on the vest and went stand up paddle boarding, for the first time ever.

Although I was not confident that I would not fall in the bay (I wobbled a bit), I had the courage to try it out. Despite the shaky start and maybe a couple of nerves, I began to get the hang of it and had a great time! Imagine if I was too afraid to take a chance? Years later this same friend also encouraged me to snorkel. While I still didn’t know how to swim, I am glad I gathered up enough courage to take the first step and try something new and was confident that it would be OK.

Courage and confidence are two terms many of us use interchangeably, though they’re far from the same thing. Despite the differences between the two, I do believe that one needs courage to take the first step and confidence to complete the journey. 😊

“Courage is the secret sauce that allows you to act despite your fears.” – Narayan Kamath

What have you been putting off starting or doing because you don’t believe you can? Let me know!!

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