I love the factual accounts of courageous American pioneers as they settled and developed western territories. I learn from the brave instruments of social justice throughout history as well as the behind the scenes stories of present-day leaders who actually care for society’s good. No matter what time in history, pioneers face fear’s tyranny; they also embody a determined belief that they can accomplish more while serving humanity in a greater or more significant way.
Even when I was young, my heart longed to be different, but only in order to make a difference. I never wanted to be average, but only to give my life for a higher cause. I didn’t realize that a pioneering spirit dwelled inside of me and that mindset continues to propel me forward. Maybe that is you too. Are you a pioneer willing to blaze a trail for the good of others?
Here are a few attributes of these brave forerunners:
- Courage to step out of self-comfort.
You are willing to pay a higher price, suffer personal loss, and work when others are playing. You’re not angry because of your sacrifice because you know that one day others will benefit.
- Courage to stand to your feet when circumstances knock you down.
We always see ourselves achieving the goal in the future. However, when our journey is riddled with disappointments, failures, and unforeseen setbacks, fear can penetrate our hearts with great forcefulness. This is common to life, but the uncommon pioneer will get back up on their feet. Think about it—you can’t stay down when who you are and what you carry is at risk.
- Courage to be different.
A pioneer is not in competition to be the best but to be individually distinctive. They do not live in comparison but release the gift within themselves to impact the lives of others. They do not need to put another down in order to lift themselves up nor be critical of another to feel better about themselves. They are being true to who they are and to their cause.
- Courage to be criticized.
Theodore Roosevelt said it best, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
- Courage to be misunderstood and alone.
It takes great courage to remain steadfast when no one can see what you see or value what you are doing. Sometimes a pioneer does not have a language to articulate what they know on the inside. Others may never understand the depth of love they carry or the hate of injustice they feel that propels them to action.
As a pioneer, you hold a passion to chart new territory, to take the road less traveled, and to impact your world for good. Don’t give up! Be courageous!
For a full conversation on The Courage to Pioneer, listen to this episode of the Life Exchange podcast here.
Dr. Melodye Hilton is the co-host of the Life Exchange Podcast. Melodye works with individuals and workgroups around the globe as a leadership consultant, behavioral analyst, and executive coach. (www.drmelodye.com) For over 38 years, she and her husband, Steven, have served
as the founders and co-leaders of Giving Light, a local church and global resource center located in the heart of central Pennsylvania. In addition, Dr. Melodye has founded the
#StopDevaluation movement in an effort to see hearts and cultures healed through love and validation.
Life Exchange Podcast
Episode 19: Courage to Pioneer
Remember the days of playing Oregon Trail? Today, we’re talking about pioneering. Maybe not the wild west kind of pioneer, but those who chart new courses and forge new paths. Pioneering can look different for different people but no matter what, it does require some key essentials to keep you moving forward when life gets inevitably tough. Whether you are an entrepreneur starting your own business, a creative innovating something new, or a mom wanting to pave a better path for her kids, we hope this episode speaks courage to your heart to keep going and pioneer for the better future that is to come.