01 - ON COURAGE

Welcome to the first episode of my podcast - Resident on Earth. I am very exited to share this with you.
I have been thinking about this for a while and I have finally found the courage (pun intended) to do it.

Welcome to Resident on Earth. The podcast for curious being, who wants to learn and grow.
I’m Joana Zokos certified life coach, yoga instructor, nature lover, living a slow life in the English countryside.
In this podcast I want to bring in reflections, lessons and tools, that have supported me and still do, to help you live a courageous, authentic and fulfilled life. My hope is to plant tiny seeds of awareness so that we all might grow and evolve collectively.
Thank you so much for being here with me, let’s get started!

Hey, guys, welcome to my first episode. Thank you for being here. Welcome to my podcast. This is something very exciting for me, I am feeling so thrilled and also quite nervous at the same time, I must say. The podcast format is something quite new for me. But I decided that I wanted to do it and allow myself to learn along the way to get better episode by episode. And after thinking about this for a long time, I am finally doing it. I've set some very healthy expectations for myself. I tried to lower down the volume of my inner perfectionist, and here I am getting started with this.

So before I start, I want to take a moment to thank you for being here. Thank you for pressing play. And thank you for allowing me to be there with you. Wherever you are so big thank you all the way to you.

All right, so for this very first episode, I want to spend some time talking about courage. So I want to dedicate this first episode to courage because courage is what led me here led me to press record. And I want to talk about what it means, how to nurture it, and also where to find it when we need it.

Also, courage is my word of the year. So back in January, I picked a word for the year. Or to be more specific, I picked an emotion and that is courageous. And I do this usually at the beginning of the year, I've been doing this like for the last couple of years. And knowing that there is a theme, that there is an emotion that I want to experience the most during the year in this case courageous, feeling courageous allows me to take some steps and some actions that I wouldn't dare to take otherwise, that I wouldn't take if I didn't feel courageous. So let's say if I felt comfortable and safe.
There are definitely some actions that I wouldn't dare to take like recording this podcast. So by doing this by taking myself out of the comfort zone, allowing myself to experience some sort of discomfort I let myself experience fear, and also excitement at the same time.

First, I want to invite you to think about what does courage mean to you? What's your definition of the word courage? If you need some time, if you need to press pause, please go ahead.

I'm going to share with you the definition by the Cambridge dictionary, which says: "courage is the ability to control fear and to be willing to do with something that is dangerous, difficult or unpleasant".
Okay, how does this definition land with you? To meet this feels more like something heroic or extraordinary. When I read this definition, what comes up straight to my eyes is the image of a hero or a warrior. But courage is not only something related to a hero is not only a hero's quality or a warrior's quality, it's something that we all have and feeling courageous is something that we all experience and this can be something of the ordinary life doesn't necessarily to be connected to a particular event in our lives like or just few events in in our lifetime.

So for this reason, I want to quote Brenè Brown, who says: "Heroics is often about putting our life on the line. Ordinary courage is about putting our vulnerability on the line. In today's world. That's pretty extraordinary."

Beautiful, beautiful. I love how Brenè Brown writes about this, how does this land with you? Every time I tap into my courage, I remind myself that I'm willing to feel uncomfortable and to feel vulnerable. And I want my heart to guide me. And I allow myself to trust my inner wisdom, my capabilities, and my ability to learn and to figure things out along the way.

I also want to mention the root of the word courage, and it does make so much sense. Courage comes from the Latin word cor. And cor in Latin means heart. So courage originally meant speaking one's mind by telling one's heart. And I am loving this. Courage is about speaking honestly, about who we are, about our experiences, about what we are feeling, opening up to other people facing all the challenges that show up in life, being creative, and sharing it with the world, and so on. These are just few examples. How good is this?

And I want to share my experience with you. Getting started with this podcast has been in my mind for quite a while I felt excited by the idea. But at the same time, I was holding myself back. My thoughts weren't supporting me. I was thinking things like you've never done this. You didn't even know from where to start. You're not good at this. What are you going to talk about? What if you run out of topics to talk about? This is going to be so hard, people might not like it, people will judge you and much more. And guess how I felt? I felt helpless. I felt sad and disappointed. And this wasn't supporting me in any way. So I decided to stop for a moment, I decided to press pause. And I reminded myself that not every thought that I think equals truth. That I don't have to believe everything I think, this is quite liberating.

And I invite you to reflect on that. Not everything we think it's worth believing. And definitely not everything we think corresponds to reality or to facts or truth. And this is also when I remind myself of the feeling I wanted to experience the most this year, which is courageous.
And I asked myself: how would I think if I felt courageous? What would I do?
And my brain came up with some different answers.
Things like: I would go for it without thinking much and we'll see what happens. I would let others listen to me. I would learn what I need to learn. And I would acknowledge my fears and do it anyway. And this sounds very different than before. Right? And thanks to this, I am here.

And so I take the opportunity to ask you what would you do if you felt courageous? What would you think if you felt courageous? What's that thing in your life that needs you to be courageous.

Next, I also want to share my three pillars to live life with an open heart.

Okay, so number one, we have vulnerability.
Of course, so vulnerability isn't good or bad. But it's the core of our feelings. So to believe the vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness, and that's not the case. So vulnerability is our birthplace of creativity, love, belonging, joy, empathy, authenticity, and yes, courage. And to mention Brenè Brown again, she defines vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.

So our rejection of vulnerability often stems from associating it with dark emotions like fear, shame, grief, sadness, disappointment, and these are all emotions that we don't want to discuss about and we've been socialised not to give space to ourselves to experience these emotions. We've been socialised to believe that these emotions are weak or a sign of weakness and also the we must avoid them that we shouldn't be feeling them. I would love to say so much more about this but I might dedicate a whole episode to this.

So, vulnerability, and courage aren't always comfortable, but they are never weakness. I want to share some examples of my life of when I feel vulnerable in the past, and nowadays: asking for help, starting my own business, allow myself to be a beginner at anything new, dealing with a medical diagnosis, listening to a friend who's having a hard time and feeling for them, changing my mind, acknowledging my fears, and even when I feel joy, I feel vulnerable. Yeah.

What are some examples of vulnerability in your life? When do you feel vulnerable? And here, I want to leave with this question.
How are we going to respond when we are confronted with uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure?

Number two, we have self trust, a very important point. And we can develop this and grow self trust within us. So I want to say straightaway, that self trust is not about knowing that you will all always do the right thing, nor it is believing that you won't make mistakes that you know all the answers. But it's about trusting that whatever happens, you will be kind to yourself. And always find out what your next step is.

So self trust allows you to trust your choices, allows you to learn from your experiences, both successes and failures. And it's basically knowing that you've got your own back. So imagine walking life and knowing that you've got your own back there, whatever happens, you're going to be kind to yourself, and you're simply going to trust that you will find out what the next step is, what the next best thing you can do is. And so this allows you to take risks to get out of the comfort zone and also to be open to new experiences.

Some ways of growing self trust is by starting with keeping small promises to ourselves. And this can be as small as promising to drink a glass of water every morning upon waking up, and then we build up from there. Also, we can grow self trust by speaking kindly to ourselves. Our inner dialogue is very, very important.

And if you like I have an exercise for you, if you have some time, and you can grab a piece of paper, write down all the things that you like about yourself, and see what comes up.

So when you're facing a new challenge ask yourself: how does it look like to trust that I will be able to figure this out, regardless of what happens?

And then number three, last but not least, we have action. Oh, yes, so absolutely necessary. Courage is fueled by action. And even here, we can start very small we begin we can begin by where we are. And yes, it's definitely going to feel uncomfortable.

Our brain is designed to keep us alive and save energy. So doing something new is energy consuming and experienced as life threatening. But by taking small steps, we show evidence that we are able to respond to the discomfort that growth requires. If you allow yourself to experience discomfort, your brain will also support you with that. And the more we take the uncomfortable step, the more we experience comfort within the discomfort. We get comfortable with this.

What helps me is to imagine a huge container that holds my discomfort. So the bigger the container, the more discomfort I allow myself to experience. For what I've personally seen as well this container increases in size every time I decide to take an action to the point that there is going to be space for excitement too.

So every time I catch myself, holding myself back, listening to my fears doubting myself, I remember there is space for this in my container of discomfort? Okay, I am fine with this. I allow myself to experience it, I am actually willing to experience this, for sake for the sake of growth, because I know it won't last forever.

And I know that taking actions will feel uncomfortable in the immediate future, but very fulfilling in the long run. And the opposite of not taking action, it will feel good in the moment, comforting, safe, warm, by the same time in the long run, these might make us also feel stuck, and stagnant.
What are the thoughts that would support me in taking this next action?
And if spotting your thoughts is difficult, you can even ask yourself, what is a feeling that would allow me to take the next action.
And once you spot the feeling that resonates with you, can you allow yourself to experience it to feel it in the body? Our brain is able to produce emotions and feelings on demand. And this is something else I would like I have so many things I want to talk about in the future. This is just the beginning.

These are my three pillars of courage: vulnerability, self trust, and action. And I want to remind you that courage is available to you at any time. This is something that belongs to us and comes with the full package of being human.

And yes, so this is all for today.

Thank you guys for being here. I am feeling very grateful. And I'm very excited for what's ahead.
I hope you found this helpful. And if you've enjoyed this, please help me grow the podcast and share it with a friend who might like it too.

Also I would absolutely love to hear from you. So if you want to share your thoughts or have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me at hello@joanazokos.com. And also the full transcript is available on my website www.joanazokos.com. All right.

So have a good week everyone.
And remember to trust yourself. love yourself and speak kindly to yourself.