All You Need is 20 Seconds of Insane Courage

I recently watched the movie, We Bought a Zoo, and in one particular scene, Matt Damon is speaking to his estranged teenage son, encouraging him to reach out to a young girl he befriended:

“Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage – 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery and I promise you, something great will come of it.”

That line has stuck with me, probably because I often find it difficult to take risks in life, especially the variety that are intricately connected to my heart and that involve vulnerability – the kind where you suspend thought and take a daring chance.

As someone who notoriously overthinks everything and who logically and methodically explores all possible options, the idea of spontaneity and creating in the unknown is simply unheard of.

Game plan?


Contingency plan if game plan doesn’t go according to plan?

Double check.

In all ways possible, I like to MacGyver my life.

Being prepared is great, but things in life rarely go according to plan – and, if I’m honest, the greatest – the most transformational – moments of my life were not the planned ones. They were the ones that started with 20 seconds of insane courage:

20 seconds of insane courage was enough for me to start the labor and delivery of my son without the use of an epidural or any pain medications.

20 seconds of insane courage was what I needed to lie down after hearing a loud pop in my neck during a soccer match, a situation where I’d normally get back up and continue to play.

20 seconds of insane courage was enough to decide I would leave my career teaching high school English.

20 seconds of insane courage was what it took to take the leap into teaching fitness full-time.

20 seconds of insane courage was the push I needed to leave a toxic work environment and start rebuilding my classes and community at LifeTime Ardmore.

20 seconds of insane courage was what allowed me to say yes to going on a date with my current boyfriend, something I never say yes to doing (and with a boy no less!)

All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage

I said yes to things I normally say no to. I said no to things I normally say yes to. A few brief moments of courage is all I needed to push outside my comfort zone.

Where fear ends and courage begins is the same place.

We tend to think of fear and courage as opposing ends of the spectrum, but the reality is, fear always precedes courage – it’s the prerequisite to be daring and bold.

When you want to write your novel, your next song, audition for a big role or land the promotion – whatever it is you want – when you go to do “the thing” – fear will stand up to stop you.

It will tell you to sit down, that it won’t work out, to not waste your time on something that will leave you frustrated and disappointed.

It will tell you that you aren’t good enough, talented enough, smart enough and that if you were enough, you’d be doing that thing already.

But, what if fear wasn’t standing up to block you? What if fear was standing up to test you and challenge you? What if, hidden behind the ”sit-down’s” and “not-enough’s” was a question:

Are you serious about your goals and are you ready to fight for them?

If I’m brutally honest, I’m afraid:

  • I’m afraid I’ll never write my book and that my story isn’t worthy of being told
  • I’m afraid I’ll never lead trainings, teach teachers or create content for fitness formats
  • I’m afraid all my life will amount to is going through the motions: eat, sleep, work, repeat.

But, most of all, I’m afraid of selling myself short – of not taking the necessary risks – of playing small.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been recommended for the role of Master Trainer at LifeTime – something I’ve been working toward for pretty much the entire time I’ve worked for this company and something I went for over a year ago…and did not get.

I’ve been filled with a mix of excitement and fear, grappling with old stories and narratives of the past, and ultimately asking myself: how serious are you about your goals? Are you ready to fight for your dreams regardless of the outcome?

When fear makes its move, all you need is to stand your ground and show 20 seconds of insane courage. You must write the email, pen the paragraph, book the audition, ask for the help – whatever “it” is – you must simply start with a brave decision and let momentum carry you from there.

For me, 20 seconds of insane courage was

  • writing an email to ask what I could do to advance the process of becoming a master trainer
  • sharing the news – and my fears – with my classes
  • reaching out to a friend to ask for his help in filming my classes
  • preparing what classes I want to film and when

These might not be earth shattering decisions, but they are game-changing ones, the ones where momentum is built.

Living with my fear has taught me that it is in the exact arenas that fear is crawling that we are most alive and inspired. Our biggest blockers are not designed to meet us at the end of the road, but the middle. They point us toward the things that matter most to us and provide us with a difficult, but direct, path to the very heart of our growth.

It only takes 20 seconds to talk to him/her.

It only takes 20 seconds to hit the send button on the email

It only takes 20 seconds to apply for the job

It only takes 20 seconds of insane courage for your life to begin to change.

What situation in your life do you need to apply 20 seconds of insane courage to? When have you called up 20 seconds of insane courage and how did that transform the situation?

Nothing is better for the soul than a goal that stirs up excitement – and also scares the hell out of you.

This week, be bold and dare greatly…because really, all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage.