Our annual Altitude Day roadshow cultivates a space for courage in action, providing the platform for guest speakers to share their story, passions, life, and leadership tips with over 2,000 young people across Australia. Stepping out in courage is no small feat, it is an individual experience, unique to each person.
So we asked Dr Trudy Lin, Adelaide Altitude Day guest speaker, and Special Needs Dentistry Specialist, what it takes for her to step out in courage, and the impact these acts of courage have in her world. This is what she had to share:
What is your definition of courage? What does courage look like to you?
I believe that courage is any action that leads you to stepping outside your comfort zone. Whenever you are outside your comfort zone there is always risk with being in that uncertain place. Courage is about intentionally making the decision to lean into feeling uncomfortable feelings then acting through that. As a result, you evolve and grow as a person, which will bring you closer to reaching your full potential.
What are three steps you take and/or how do you prepare yourself to step out in courage?
You do need to prepare to step out in courage and there are three things I do internally to put myself in the right mindset:
Step 1 – Know my why, the reason behind the decisions and actions. My motivations should resonate with me and what I want to achieve.
Step 2 – Consciously accept that doubt and fear may come but remember that you will grow from this experience. When you reach your full potential, you then inspire others to do the same.
Step 3 – Choose to trust in yourself, that trust is built on a belief that you can handle anything that comes your way. Keep an evolution journal and record decisions, actions, and the result of what happened on the other side. Then when feelings of fear come up read this journal and remind yourself that you have been on this journey before.
What is one courageous act you have done this year? Please describe the impact on yourself and/or others.
Continuing to speak up and advocate for the patients I look after and talking openly about people living with disabilities and their inclusion in broader society, specifically related to oral health care. A courageous step for me is venturing outside of their oral health care needs, and speaking up against discrimination and prejudice through the concept of ableism and being a voice for those who can’t speak up for themselves because I am on a mission to build a more inclusive society that recognises the intrinsic worth of each person, and the right for each person to live life to their full potential regardless of their age, race, gender or disability. It took courage to step out of my area of expertise and not just talk about oral health care but talk about the broader perspective that I have. The impact that I noticed on others is that the most powerful way to influence people is to lead by example. By me stepping out in courage and leading by example I have noticed that it has caused others to then speak up and join a revolution for inclusion.
”Courage is about intentionally making the decision to lean into feeling uncomfortable feelings then acting through that.
What is one piece of advice you would give to a young person that wants to step out, but feels as though they are lacking the courage to do so?
It is important to remember that you are completely worthy of your goals and your dreams and being who you are as a person. It can be hard because there are times when we feel like we are not worthy because we don’t meet the expectations of what the people around us are telling us or the media or the expectations we hold on ourselves. But I strongly believe that the fact that you are a human being, who has the spark of life within you, means you have worth, and nothing can take that away from you, it can never be created or destroyed, it can only be remembered or forgotten or recognised or not recognised. Remember you are worthy, and who you are matters. What you say matters, what you do matters and what you give to the world is completely unique and is necessary because there is no one on the planet with the exact same lived experience as you – so lead the way courageously with your unique experience and perspective and speak up, don’t be afraid to be visible, uncomfortable, or different or change direction. Take your own steps, not someone else’s and make sure you celebrate it every time you do step out in courage.
You are never alone when you step out in courage (although sometimes it can feel like you are), we know that a support structure is important through these times. Who and/or what is involved in your support structure?
When people think of support structure the most common people that come to mind are family and friends and the people who are physically there for you and with you, but I think that support structures can be so much more robust than just that. I like to think of it as having two branches, internal and external sources; and within these sources there are physical and non-physical supports. For external physical supports that includes people that you know like family and friends, and people who are on the same mission. Support can also be in the form of people you have not met, such as leaders and people who have come before you, people you have heard or read about who have inspired you through their stories, or people who are no longer with you that still provide that support. For me it would be my grandma, even though she has passed away and she is no longer physically here, she still supports and inspires me, through remembering her courage and strength that she had through her cancer journey. I think it is also important to form strong internal support structures too, this comes back to having clarity around your why, and your reasons for taking action, really knowing your values, having a clear vision for who you want to be, and the type of value and impact you want to create.