I am sitting on my couch in my cozy living room today, looking out at the beautiful sunshiny day and thinking about…courage.
We’ve all had moments in our lives where we just need a little courage to get through the moment. I was recently reminded of a moment like that.
In 2015 I would be coaching my very first five-day Masters Laser racing clinic at Laser Training Cabarete. For those who aren’t familiar with my history, besides being an artist and designer I am also a competitive sailor and coach. In 2015, Ari Barshi, the owner of LTC offered me the gig of my dreams coaching Laser sailors in Cabarete for the winter. After about 10 minutes of thinking I said YES!
Anyway back to the courage part. I’d been in Cabarete a couple of weeks doing private coaching and getting ready for my first big racing clinic, a group of 15 sailors from all over the world. To put it mildly I was terrified! Awful thoughts of self-doubt invaded my brain; “You don’t know enough. You’ll make a fool of yourself. Someone will call you out as a fraud.” And although I had gone over my curriculum 100 times I was still scared.
The first day of the clinic came. As I set up the classroom, stomach in knots and dreading the moments to come, a women I’d been private coaching came up and said, “You’ve got this. Just get through that first bit. Pretend confidence if you have too. If they see you are in control they will buy in and you’ll be golden. Soon after that the group assembled. 15 faces looking up at me. BTW – all men! All looking to me, the sailing coach, for the knowledge they signed up for.
I remember taking a deep breath and launching in. After that the day passed quickly. We talked. We sailed. We laughed! As the sailors packed up their gear I saw many happy and very tired faces. My friend came up to me and said, “You nailed it.” Since then I have spent so many satisfying hours coaching sailors making great lifelong friends and most importantly being able to contribute to a sport I love. Oh and don’t forget the adventure part! None of this would have ever happened without courage.
You are probably asking yourself what does all this have to do with art. Art, like any endeavor that is important to us takes courage. Putting down that first pencil mark, marketing myself as an “real” artist and putting my work out there for people to judge. It has all taken courage. And nowadays I think everyone of us is confronting new ways to show courage while appreciating that real people like healthcare workers and the cashier at the market and all those invisible people who are “essential workers” who are redefining what it means to have courage.
Bonnie Christine, a designer I greatly revere, says, “For so many things in your life, all you need is 10 seconds of courage.” I love these words. They ring so true. 10 seconds for the market. 10 seconds for reaching out to a new business partner. 10 seconds for standing up to speak in front of a group.
Or for the times we live in, 10 seconds to get up in the morning. So have courage for the big and little things in life.
Always making joyful marks.