From Twinkle to Beethoven: Moving Ahead with Courage

Courage determines our potential. It is the dial of success.

My two oldest kids are taking piano lessons this year. Some pieces they learn are instant hits: learned quickly and played daily, they become the family anthem for a short while.

Then, there’s those other songs: Way too hard, Dad! I can’t do it! I won’t do it! This is so stupid! (…stomping away, slamming the door…).

Mom convinces them to come back, be brave, believe they can do it, work through the hard parts, practice makes perfect, over and over… it may be painful. For them… and for us having to listen to the groans and voiced frustrations.  Then, the light at the end of the tunnel! It’s come together! It’s mastered!

Then, guess what? Those are the best pieces of all. Those are the ones of which they are most proud. Those become the new family anthems.

It is then that they believe that one day they will move past Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and learn Beethoven.

Courage determines potential. It is the dial of success.

Here’s a good memory. When I was 18 years old, I fell for a girl. It was a major crush. She made my palms sweat. She made me giggle (like a girl). We worked together. When I went on vacation for a week, it was painful to be away from her. I combed the beach for her and brought back the nicest shells.

She still has those shells today. They are housed in an Altoid box tucked in her dresser drawer, right above mine.

Oh, that day I called her for the first time. Man, that took courage. I couldn’t imagine what she saw in me. How I could possibly be good enough for her?  I was petrified of being denied. A date? With you? I think it’s best if we just stay friends…. Then, what would I do?

If it wasn’t for my cheerleader, my big brother Joe, it would have taken much longer to muster up the courage to do it….

But, I did it.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Courage determines potential. It is the dial of success.” quote=”Courage determines potential. It is the dial of success.”]

I’d say, my wife and I, our life together, our kids–all five of ’em–we’re pretty successful in love.

Fast forward to today. At this point of my life, I’d say courage–more than ever–is manifesting itself in me. When your every step in life affects not only you but those who count on you–and I have a lot who count on me–it takes courage to throw caution to the wind.

At the same time, you have more to lose when you don’t.

I think there are many people who fall short of the vision they have of themselves because they fear the unknown.

Have you ever thought about this? What is the vision you have of yourself? Does the person you are now fall short of the person you’d like to be? What steps do you need to take to get where do you want to go?

Do these steps take courage? Sure, they do. Biggest question of all: Are you up for it?

This is the really cool thing about the fear you must face and tackle in order to reach your goals: the fear is good because courage can’t exist without fear.

And here’s my inspiring quote for the day:

Without winter, there can be no spring. Without mistakes, there can be no learning. Without doubts, there can be no faith. Without fears, there can be no courage. My mistakes, my fears and my doubts are my path to wisdom. ~Unknown

Right now, take a minute and think about where you want to go, who you want to become. Do the everyday habits you have to develop to make this a reality cause you to take a deep, fearful breath?

Are you saying, Is this possible? Can I really do it?

Believe you can. Because if you don’t, you may find yourself, years from now, stuck playing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star when, with courage and determination, you could be playing Beethoven.

You’ll find yourself on this path often. You’ll continually find a space in your life that equates to playing Twinkle, Twinkle. The more honest you are with yourself, the more you’ll discover greater potential. For me, in so many ways, I’m playing that nursery rhyme over and over again. Great: it’s another way to grow! Another place of discovery through courage!

Here are five great questions that I ask myself when I discover an area of needed improvement and growth. Go head, use these for yourself. Ask questions – QUESTIONS OPEN DOORS!

questions open doors

  • The Past: Am I prohibited from moving forward because of my past? Yesterday ended last night. Whose fault is it? Make amends and move on. Forgive and forget.
  • Defects: Do I feel imprisoned by what I consider to be personality defects? We all have weak gaps – so begin filling yours (this takes effort, but is well worth it!) and work and live in your strength areas.
  • Habits: What are the negative habits getting in the way? Don’t let bad habits squeeze goodness form your life.
  • Outlook: Do I have a negative outlook on life? Attitude is the difference maker.
  • Dreams: Are there any dreams or goals never attained? Thomas Jefferson said: “I like the dreams of the future better than the memories of the past.” Use these dreams to propel you from Twinkle to Beethoven!

dial of success

 Go and Grow as an E5 Leader!

About E5 Leader

For the past 30 years, we’ve been teaching CEOs, leaders of teams, and stakeholders in a variety of industries how to achieve excellence and peace in equal measure. At E5 Leader, we believe that having all of the money and success in the world doesn’t matter if your relationships are falling apart or your health is failing. We believe there's no title on a page that can hold more sway than going to sleep at night knowing you’re in sync with those you love the most. At the end of the day, you’ll never be the leader out in the world you’re capable of being if you don’t know how to lead first from within.