The Courage to Create a Life That Works

It takes courage to look at our lives like a blank canvas, to imagine possibilities, and persist through life’s ups and downs until we get to a life that works.

The word courage comes from the French word coeur, meaning heart.  There is a sacred exchange that occurs when we give from the heart.   The courage to create is a mystical alchemy that moves us from one moment to the next.

The woman who works with her hands only is a laborer; the woman who works with her hands and her head is a craftswoman; the woman who works with her hands, her head, and her heart is an artist.

After having my third child, I was still working in a high travel job.  It was a great job.  I loved my role, and I was well regarded.  But I was burnt out and deeply missed time with my children.  Following several unmet requests to come off the road, I found another job.  When I resigned my boss offered a salary increase and even a larger office if I would stay. 

What I wanted to create in my life could only be accomplished by having a job with a more regular schedule and a shorter commute (oh, how I wish WFM was a thing when my kids were small!)  So, when I followed up with, “but can you get me off the road?”, and the answer was still no, creative courage became my companion to walk away and begin something new.

It takes creative courage to see the potential for your life as a canvas.  

Even when the outcomes were risky, the courage to create was a catalyst that carried and comforted me.

While, there have been times in my life where I wished I had had more courage, each time I have chosen to create something new in my life, courage has befriended me.

Above all, these moments with courage have taught me to trust myself and to lean into my inner knowing.  The American poet Karle Wilson Baker wrote in 1921, “Courage is Fear that has said its prayers.”

Perhaps you are not ready to make the grand leap yet or, your life’s circumstances have you staring at the blank canvas of your life.  What we can do is build up a little at a time.

Here are 10 easy, yet effective, practices to help you create towards a life that works:

  1. Center yourself before you begin each day.
  2. Show up moment-to-moment.
  3. Express gratitude.
  4. Stay open to what you are learning and resist the urge to judge yourself.
  5. Surrender to the mystery.
  6. Create something:  write, photgraph, perform, bake, cook, sew, scuplt, knit, act, inspire, sing, move, paint, draw, journal.
  7. Reduce clutter.
  8. Offer love to the person awaiting your attention.
  9. In all you do, do it with intention.
  10. Get support.


What have been the moments of creative courage in your life?  How has creative courage helped you to create a life that works?

Share your insights in the comments below.

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