Magazine article Black Enterprise

Brave Heart! Four Strategies for Living Courageously

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Brave Heart! Four Strategies for Living Courageously

Article excerpt

While living in Japan, Antoinette Jackson got a divorce and had to find her way back to the United States with her two young children, Ky'a, 9, and Michael, 6. Once back in the U.S., Jackson struggled to work several jobs, pay bills, and take care of her family. Unfortunately, within the next five years, she lost the house, and the family became homeless.

Luckily, a relative with children of her own took in the Jacksons, but space was tight. As humiliating as the experience was, Jackson pressed on, encouraging her children and assuring them that things would get better. But her life took a turn for the worse when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1984, a debilitating disease that took her eyesight and confined her to a wheelchair. Despite the challenges,Jackson maintains her independence and remains active in her community.

"God blesses me to find the courage I need to do what I have to do," says Jackson, 55, who now resides in a nursing facility in Pennsylvania.

Life coach and author Sophfronia Scott (www.creativecoachingplans.com) says we can all be courageous. "Taking courage is about doing what you need or want to be done, despite how fearful you are of doing it," she says. Scott explains that while fear can be paralyzing, it's important to identify ways to manage your fear--whether that involves closing your eyes, taking deep breaths, saying a prayer, or getting support from a confidante.

In her book Stand up For Your Life: Develop the Courage, Confidence and Character to Fulfill Your Greatest Potential (Simon & Schuster; $13), author Cheryl Richardson says facing fears builds the confidence and emotional strength needed to make a positive difference. Whether ending an unhealthy relationship, fighting a life-threatening disease, pursuing a dream to start a business, or standing up for heartfelt convictions, Scott says that the everyday opportunities to take courage are endless. …

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