Answering the “Call to Action”: How to Show Up Every Single Day
by Live Better
Today is 9/11. On this day, we observe moments of silence, rejoice in moments for a hopeful (and better) future, and pay tribute to those that paid the ultimate sacrifice on this day. We remember acts of courage, rings of freedom, and having each other’s backs in a time of need. It’s so positive to know what we are capable of, even in times of despair.
Unfortunately, it often takes extreme circumstance to mobilize group action such as this. Responding to the “call to action”, however, can be practiced and applied on a day-to-day basis on the individual level. It is what we do in times of good that disciplines us to handle times of bad.
First, let’s look at the definition of “courage”:
cour·age | \ ˈkər-ij , ˈkə-rij\
: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.
According to this definition, I'd pull out a few keys words, specifically strength, persevere, and fear. In spite of fear, we find the strength to persevere. How do we do this? What, all of a sudden, allows us the capability to move our feet, lend a helping hand, and take on such a positive outlook?
I think true courage is a pretty lofty trait that we don’t have quite a strong of grasp on as we like to think. In theory, of course we’d stand up to ideas we don’t agree with, people that wrong us, and places that need protecting. We like to put on our proverbial superhero cape and walk around with our chest puffed out, talking about what "we would do if”…but it’s hard to really know how you would respond unless it is demanded of you.
"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth" (thanks, Mike Tyson). We all like to think we are the best employee, the best parent, the best friend, the best spouse, etc. We have a plan for how we will raise our kids, get our next promotion, start our next company, start a side hustle, and any other number of plans we make…and then life hits the fan. Something goes wrong, sometimes horribly wrong and out of our control, and we are now at the mercy of our own sense of courage.
We must rely on our discipline and our action. What’s your “why” for getting up each day?
On 9/11/01, America got punched in the mouth; planes crashed into her teeth. Many answered “the call,” whether in the form of civil service, volunteering, helping a neighbor, or saving business. That day, and all days immediately following, are examples that show us we are capable of great action.
On a less grand scale, we are “called to action” every single day. People rely on you, whether be your boss, your spouse, your family, or community. Courage, especially the consequent “action” that follows, takes strength (even in the face of fear). We believe it’s a practiced skill.
Physical strength builds mental fortitude to take on bigger challenges. It gives us the confidence to push further, faster, and stronger. Mental strength provides emotional resiliency for things we don’t plan for, like sickness, illness, injury, or loss. Emotional resiliency allows us to continue on, even in the face of surmounting odds, no matter how grand or how trivial.
9/11 very clearly wasn’t the best day ever; however, it does create a “put your money where your mouth is” situation. What are you going to do to “answer the call”? How can we make the next moment better than the one before it?
What current challenges in your life have you not showed up for? When have you let fear dictate your action?
Ask yourself why. These are teaching moments, not regrets, that make us stronger in Round 2. Put your damn gloves back on and get to work. Do the hard work necessary, despite what you “feel” like, and push forward. Someone is counting on you to do your job. Someone is counting on you to roll out of bed (on time), put your shoes on, and walk out the door in the direction of effort.
We can choose to persevere through danger, fear, and difficulty. Our mental strength dictates the capability of our physical strength. Not all “scenarios” you’re presented with will be easy, so I hope you’ve practiced the difficult ones. I hope you’ve attacked them head on, with a resolve to show up…no matter what.
On this day, we remember action in the face of fear. We remember individuals that acted selflessly with a manner of courage to make someone else’s situation improve at the cost of their own. We remember what strength looks like and feels like.
How can we choose to show up each and every day to "answer the call"? It's the least we can do.