Words of Courage from Brett Trapp


One of my greatest joys in leading Plywood is to see friends overcome fear and bring dreams to life. This is what I get to do everyday. Some dreams impact me forever. I remember sitting at a coffee shop about 5 years ago and talking with @BrettTrapp about his story for the first time. He vulnerably entrusted me with something very personal. Brett will be a teacher to thousands on being true to your story. He courage has forever imprinted me and I hope his courage empowers you. You should read his entire story bluebabiespink.com and take what he says as a vulnerable journey of tension and hope. – Jeff Shinabarger

Growing up, I had one fear that ruled them all…

One fear that loomed large—like a pissed off gorilla hiding in my closet.

One fear, coiling its tentacles around my throat each day.

My fear was that people would find out that this preacher’s kid from Alabama…was gay.I’d committed to stay single and celibate. But I created a life of distraction to keep people off the trail. I bought a big black SUV, traveled a lot, and worked myself to death so I didn’t have to talk about it.

But over time, I learned that dating fear every day is exhausting.

Years passed. I allowed a few friends in. I let myself talk about it. My heart got healthier. Eventually, I began to despise the fear I’d loved for so long.

Sometimes in life, we have to decide to step out from our hiding place and start shouting. So I decided to shout the thing I feared most…I decided to just tell the world.

I came out on Facebook on a Tuesday morning in late 2016 and followed that post with a 44-episode memoir called Blue Babies Pink. I knew some wouldn’t get it. I knew some would call me a narcissist. And I didn’t care (or…I just decided not to care, rather).

I’d lowered the drawbridge to my greatest fear, and about 50,000 people flooded in via the Internet. It was glorious. For eight weeks I wrote, and we all feasted on my fear together. It was healing for me and helpful for lots of others too.

It’s a long road from obsessively hiding your pet fear behind thick castle walls to blasting it from a megaphone so the whole kingdom hears. The fear that keeps people in the closet is the same fear that keeps people from chasing their dreams. Many of life’s struggles begin with fear as the ailment. And courage is always the cure.

Throughout Blue Babies Pink, there were three truths that caused my courage to soar…

Reminder #1 — Fear is fake.
It’s true: Fear doesn’t exist. It’s not a thing. It’s not a substance. It’s not an element with atomic particles. We can’t observe it, extract it, or measure it. Fear is simply a feeling produced by a mushy part of your brain called the amygdala. People with defective amygdalae don’t actually experience fear which is proof that it’s a fairy tale—no more real than flying carpets or mermaids or giant beanstalks. It’s literally just in your head. And the first step in growing your courage is acknowledging that fear. is. fake.
Reminder #2 — People don’t think about you all that much.
It’s true: People aren’t thinking about you. Being scared of what others think can be the the biggest obstacle to starting. The reality is, most people just don’t care that much. They’re too self-focused to be worried about you. And if they do care, they’re probably in bed with fear themselves and won’t be a champion of your vision anyway. When you realize you aren’t being watched all that much, you can reinvest that emotional energy into your craft, your passion, or your project.


Reminder #3 — You’re dead in 100 years! Yay! 
It’s true: Even with a daily diet of kale, grilled chicken, and Crossfit, you’ll still be dead 100 years from today. That may seem dark, but it’s actually quite freeing. You were issued exactly one bumping/thumping/functioning heart and once it gives out, you’re done. In that moment, all your fears will cease to exist. All your imagined doomsday scenarios will die as they lived—as pointless cerebral machinations. What will remain are the echoes of the actual work you did. So if you’re reading this, that means your heart is still thumping. It means you still have time—time to hurl yourself into the unknown, time to go mend some broken fragment of the universe, and time to be the bearer of great COURAGE.

Brett Trapp, Creator of Blue Babies Pink

Courage from a CEO


Courage is “”the quiet voice at the end of the day telling you to try again tomorrow”", it’s resilience, it’s running after your big scary dreams when you don’t have it quite figured out yet, it’s traveling to foreign countries-solo, it’s quitting your job and taking leaps of faith in the unknown.

Courage is any moment you feel empowered to overcome fear, destroy obstacles or dare to be bold.

I’ve learned to find my courage from my support system of friends and family that cheer me on in all my crazy adventures and ideas, but also allow me to fail and love me all the same. The past 4 months courage has had to be my MO as I moved around the world, bought a business and became a first time mother (which in itself has brought on a whole new level of courage as I navigate life with a newborn while leading a rockstar team!) With the impact my support system has made on me and all the types of courage they’ve given me in my life, I hope to rally others to take the leap as well, life is just way more fun and rewarding when you do!

-@Jenniferlynmc, CEO of The Big Fake Wedding

Desktop Downloads: Courage

© 2013 | Haley Sheffield | www.haleysheffield.com

There are two definitions of COURAGE: A) The ability to do something that frightens one, and B) Strength in the face of pain or grief. While both are inevitable and admirable, Type B totally fascinates me. I first experienced this kind of courage when I was 23. My life was turned upside down with the presence of death, depression, a collision with a drunk driver and divorce. I realized I had a choice: I could let it crush me, or I could choose Courage.

For me, Courage was continuing to walk the path in front of me in faith when I couldn’t see more than a step ahead. Courage was speaking truth in the face of opposition. Courage was clinging to light and having hope in the depths of despair. It took immense effort to choose this path, as I had let fear and people-pleasing rule me and destroy my purpose and my voice for a very long time. It was only through the unimaginable and overwhelming love of a few close friends, my faith, and a trillion tiny acts of Type A Courage every single day that I made it through that season.

Courage is contagious. Nothing is more inspiring than seeing someone rise from the ashes, defy all odds, stare fear in the face, or simply continue to show up, day in and day out, despite despair.

There’s always ways we could use more courage. Currently, I’m deeply concerned with the state of our nation and I’m praying for courage (and discernment) to use my voice as an advocate for change. I’m praying for courage to stand alongside the marginalized, and be a voice of love, hope, peace and justice. I’m praying for courage to show others the outrageous, radical love that changed and saved me.

Ali Nelson, Creator of Ali Makes Things

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Crazy Stupid Courage


Fear is my Number One Nemesis. But when I tell you this story, you might not believe me.

I founded a non-profit that hires and trains resettled refugees using a couple of bright red coffee trucks and an old gas station we’ve converted into a coffee shop. Customers order up at the truck and drink their lattes (or chai or hot chocolate) inside. Right now, we have a refugee and immigrant staff of six that run both the shop and our catering business.

One day during a meeting at our shop, I looked outside and saw a guy get out of his car and saunter over to the truck. I’m ashamed to admit I profiled him right away. He was old, maybe even older than me. He looked vaguely redneck-ish. And he had a very visible holster with a very visible gun strapped to his waist.

Because we champion the rights of refugees, we get flack from time to time, mostly from people who look like this guy. Nothing major, just questions about whether refugees are legal (they are) or whether they are stealing jobs Americans want (they aren’t).

I was on high alert. I said, “Excuse me. I need to check on something,” and walked outside. I stood there, arms folded, right next to our truck window and just watched. That night, my husband asked me what exactly I thought I was going to do.

“Good question,” I said, “I honestly thought that if he pulled out the gun, I’d yell, ‘Hey! If you’re gonna shoot my people, you’re gonna have to shoot me first!’”

Doesn’t sound like the actions of a fearful person, does it? The thing is, knee jerk reactions just look courageous when, really, they are just stupid. The truth is, I am mostly sane and yet mostly terrified. We hire and train refugees, and I often feel responsible for making this whole experiment work. I am ultimately responsible for paying salaries. For ensuring that our trainees make meaningful transitions when they leave us. For maintaining our mission and culture. It doesn’t keep me up at night—I love sleep—but it does make me second guess a lot.

So why would a woman who is a certified chicken do something stupid like standing up to a skinny, redneck gunman? The reason, I’ve come to believe, is the only answer to fear. Not the solution to fear, but rather the way to make your fear count. Because if you start anything worth starting, you will be afraid.

The only answer when fear calls your name is love.

What if the fierceness of my love for others somehow exceeded the fierceness of my fear? Every mother knows all about that. We Mama Bears are scared to death, and that is exactly why we run into burning buildings or jump into the deep end with our clothes on. In that moment, we are more scared for someone than we are scared of something.  (Oh, by the way, the guy just ordered coffee and left. Whew.)

Still, less dramatic, more fearful situations abound. The other day I had to have a tough conversation. I hate tough conversations, as in I’m deathly afraid of them. But this particular conversation absolutely had to take place if we were going to do right by all our refugee employees. My love for them overrode my fear of the tough conversation. And by “overrode,” I mean love made diving headlong into my fear a foregone conclusion. It didn’t get rid of the feelings, but it made them worth it.

My husband often says, “Life is overwhelming. So be sure you’re overwhelmed with the right stuff.”

I think he’s right, and I think this applies to fear as well. You are going to be afraid. Fear is a natural defense mechanism, after all. Just be sure you’re afraid of the right stuff for the right reasons. That—not fearlessness—is real courage.

How will you choose courage over fear today?

Kitti Murray, Founder of Refuge Coffee

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