Courage- the word I didn’t want as my word for 2020

Prefer audio? Listen to this post on

Do you choose a word for your year? I have for the past several years. Some years I keep that word in front of me and lean into it fully. Other years I have to keep finding where I originally wrote it down because I cannot even remember what I chose. Some years it has played a significant part in my growth and other years it hasn’t made a dent. I keep going back to this strategy and have included my word, ‘courage’, in my 2020 manifesto.

2020 manifesto- courage

Towards the end of last year, I was turning my mind ahead to 2020 and searching for what that word would be. ‘Courage’ kept coming up and I kept rejecting it. Honestly, I was searching for something I felt was more encouraging, lighter and ‘fluffier’. This year is not a light, fluffy year though and ‘courage’ IS the word I really need to dive deep into for this season.

You can choose courage or you can choose comfort. But you cannot have both.

Brene Brown

What is courage?

Courage is feeling scared and pushing forward anyway. It is choosing growth over comfort and the path of least resistance. To live courageously I need to show up fully as myself– vulnerable, flawed and who I am. Doesn’t that all make you want to embrace courage?

This year is one of huge growth with the stretching, pain and failure that comes with it. It is a time of learning how to work harder than I ever have before while drawing deeply from rest and rhythms of renewal too. What makes courage worth all of this discomfort? The fruit on the other side. I know that if I live truly courageously I will look back in a year and be more fully who I am created to be. The impact that my words and my work have had will be evident. I will be able to stand strong when I encourage my daughter to be courageous knowing that I am living out what I say.

Feathers- my symbol of courage

If you ever come to my house and especially my office, you will see feathers featured in artwork, on cushions and on notebooks. Feathers appear in my jewellery and clothing. Why do I mention feathers? They are a symbol of courage to me. They remind me of my favourite verses in the Bible that give foundation to my courage:

my foundation for courage

Feathers also remind me of the courage of birds learning to fly. I can relate to that baby bird bumbling around, feeling unsure but drawn to spread to their wings.

As you contemplate what courage might look like for you and consider if it is even worth it, I leave you with this thought:

What if I fall?

Oh, but my darling,

what if you fly?

Erin Hanson

If you are in Perth and want to dive a little deeper into the practical application of this concept of courage, I am speaking at Opportunity International’s Inspired Speaker Series on 12th February. I’d love to see you there.