I am writing about Courage today because it is one of the values I have chosen to guide and define my business. Helping business owners and managers to step into leadership that is brave enough to build cohesive teams and healthy organizations is the core of my mission.
My inspiration for this post came from the books “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” by E. Favilli and F. Cavallo. They are one of my kids’ favourites bedtime reads.
Values guide our behaviors in personal and professional lives. No one questions the need of having a set of values in our personal lives. But, if you ever wondered why any business should define them for their operations, have a look at on of my blog posts.
Now back to Courage.
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues becauseMAYA ANGELOU
withoutcourage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”
Courage can demonstrate itself in many different ways.
And below, you will find five inspiring stories of women that defined courage with their lives.
1. Courage is Being Afraid but Acting Anyway
The Mirabal Sisters, also know as “Las Mariposas” were freedom fighters in the Dominican Republic. They were opposing the regime of dictator Raphael Trujillo. The sisters organized and participated in multiple protests and movements against the dictatorship. Together with their husbands, they were jailed multiple times. On November 25, 1960, the Mirabal Sisters were murdered by the regime. Their leadership and courage became the inspiration to Dominicans to continue opposing Trujillo’s dictatorship. It eventually was abolished.
November 25th is now recognized as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Click here for the source article by Victoria Sanchez.
2. Courage is Following Your Heart
Maria Curie-Sklodowska was a Noble Prize-winning scientist. Together with her husband Pierre Curie she discovered radioactive elements: polonium and radium. Marie was born in Poland in 1867, at the time when the country was part of the Russian Empire. Since women were not allowed to attend university, she attended a secret Flying University in Warsaw. Marie Curie moved to Paris and joined Sorbonne, the university that accepted women students.
Throughout her life, to be able to follow her passion for science and research, Marie had to overcome many barriers. Marie Curie was the first woman to win the Noble Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice. She was also the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences (physics and chemistry).
Marie and her husband refused to receive monetary awards and medals and they have given away most of their first Noble prize money. Curie has also intentionally refrained from patenting her discoveries so that scientific community could continue the research.
Click here for the source and more detailed information on Marie Curie-Sklodowska.
3. Courage is Keep on-going Aginst Hardships
Frida Kahlo, one of the most famous painters of the 20th century, suffered unimaginable pain all her life. As a child, she suffered from polio. In her student years, she had seriously injured her spine in a tragic bus accident. Frida started painting when she returned home from the hospital to alleviate her pain and kill time. In the self-portraits, Kahlo was expressing her physical suffering. Despite her multiple surgeries and deteriorating health Frida continued painting and being active in the Marxism inspired political movement.
In of her famous quotes, Frida says: “At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.”
Click here for more details on Frida Kahlo’s life.
4. Courage is Standing up for What’s Right
Viola Desmond (née Davis) was a Canadian businesswoman and civil rights activist. Born in 1914 in Halifax, she built her career and business as a beautician. Through her Desmond School of Beauty Culture, Viola was an inspiration and mentor to young Black women in Nova Scotia. In 1946, Viola Desmond stood up for equality of rights. She challenged racial discrimination when she refused to leave the segregated Whites-only section of a theater. For her act of courage, she was arrested, jailed overnight and convicted without legal representation for a “tax offense”. Viola was not able to receive a pardon despite the efforts of The Nova Scotia Black Community trying to assist her.
Desmond’s brave refusal to accept an act of racial discrimination provided inspiration to other Black P
5. Courage Is Being D
ifferent and Expanding Your Ways
Zaha Hadid was an Iraqi-British architect and the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, in 2004. She became famous for her bold building designs with many sweeping lines. The Guardian called her the Queen of the Curve. She designed the aquatic center for the London Olympic Games 2012 (UK), Michigan State University’s Broad Art Museum (US), the Guangzhou Opera House, and Beijing Daxing International Airport (both in China). Zaha was not afraid of being different. The Metropolitan Museum in New York talked about her buildings as “unconventional that seem to defy the logic of construction”.
With her drive to cross boundaries, Zaha designed buildings that everyone else thought impossible.
To read more about Zaha Hadid’s work, click here.
Courage is not an easy value to live by but we all have it inside. We show it in small and big actions, in many different ways every day. Courage gives us the freedom to do what’s right and be ourselves.
“There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater.
But sometimes it doesn’t.
Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through
pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life.
VERONICA ROTH, Allegiant
That is the sort of bravery I must have now. “