The gift of courage

Courage is the ability to do something scary. It requires bravery to start a business, ask for a job promotion, travel the world solo, direct a film, rock climb, or make a lifestyle change. It takes courage to pen a memoir, and to share your dreams and innermost fears with the people around you.

It also takes courage to follow your heart.

On my web TV talk show, Extraordinary Women TV with Shannon Skinner, I have had the privilege of interviewing many successful women and unearthing what inspires their hearts, as well as the core of their bravery. These are women from all walks of life who boldly take inspired action, do something beyond the ordinary and, in their own ways, make a difference in the lives of others.

All of these women have a gift to share as a result of their courage. Here are a few of them:

Author Jan Wong is renowned for being one of Canada’s toughest and most courageous journalists. After experiencing workplace depression while working for The Globe and Mail newspaper, she did something extraordinarily brave: she penned her personal story about her depression in the memoir, Out of the Blue: A Memoir of Workplace Depression, Recovery, Redemption and, Yes, Happiness. Today, Wong’s gift is helping raise awareness about depression and the workplace by sharing her journey.

When Marilyn Field worked as a teacher, she discovered that a student’s character could be developed by applying the arts. This put her on an inspired mission. She found the courage within herself to create the not-for-profit organization, DAREarts, which aims to help children at risk develop self-confidence and motivation through the arts, so they can have bright futures. In 2003, as a result of her service, she was awarded the prestigious Canadian Meritorious Service Medal by the Governor General. Today, the lives of many kids – the future generation of Canadians – have been touched, thanks to Field.

In 2008, at the tender age of 24, motivational speaker, Shellyann Siddoo, lost her eyesight and use of both hands, and had much of her body burned, in a laboratory accident. Before the accident, she dreamed of being a neurologist. Today, she has a greater vision: spreading an inspired message of hope and love to people around the world. She now sees the world not through her physical eyes, but rather through her heart. Remarkably, she paints canvases by using her knuckles and visualization from her inner world. As a result of Siddoo’s courage, we now have her gift of β€œin-sight.”

Singer/songwriter and producer, Amy Sky, is making the kind of music that is in her heart to create. She took a risk to make the music she wants, despite once having been at odds with what the industry wants, and has proven that Canadian recording artists can do it and be successful. Now we have the gift of her beautiful music, such as Phenomenal Woman, her musical interpretation of Maya Angelou’s poem, and her latest song, A Mother’s Love from her recently-released CD, Alive & Awake.

All of these women are brave because they took action. They had a dream or desire in their hearts, and they pushed past fear, got over the hurdles and made it happen. If they did not have courage, we would not have their gifts. I invite you to find out more about them and get inspired at

Note: cross-posted at