Courage Building Resources

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We cannot govern what we can’t see, which is why the work to observe ourselves is the first step in learning to be self-ruling – Guy Finley

There is a ton of stuff available online to help you learn to be self-ruling, find the courage to get new projects off the ground, or to make shifts in your life, much of it free.


Want to write a book? I hired Cynthia Morris of Original Impulse in 2014 as, after years in the corporate world, I was looking for someone to find my inner creative and help me establish my business Capital Conversations (where I do my corporate work). The experience was transformative as she connected me to my writing – I’d kind of forgotten that I’d studied English Lit at Uni (doh).

Cynthia got me to write 500 words on a topic of my choice every day for two weeks – bless her, she read them all and I got the bug.  Writing about what I knew, I started writing about my own experience of making a lifeshift from the corporate world to trying to do something meaningful.  Journalist Heidi Scrimgeour who was then at Lifeshifter and I connected via Twitter and writing weekly for Jana Hlistova’s inspiring initiative gave me the self-belief that I had something to say that resonated. Courage Matters is an evolution of this.

Cynthia has been teaching her online course “Free Write Fling” since 2007, a method which has seen literally hundreds of writers get their words onto the page.

Want to find your inner artist? Whether you paint, glue, mould or yarn, Cynthia will take you on a creative adventure at her biannual “Capture the Wow” workshops in Paris.  Inspired by Cynthia’s own art, I now paint and draw a little bit and have enjoyed creating Sketchnotes to bring my ideas to life in personal and corporate projects.

Want to get better at pitching? If you’re already writing, Heidi runs online training – Bitchin’ Pitching – to up your pitching game and kick ass as a freelance features writer.

Want to create space in your work life for courageous projects? Access quality flexible work opportunities at Lifeshifter. Find work that utilises your considerable experience without compromising on pay or the type of work, blend work life with other priorities or keep things fresh working on multiple projects with a variety of clients. Oh, and there’s some good writing there too.

Want to understand your virtues better? Kristoffer “KC” Carter’s This Epic Life manifesto is a free dowload – it’ll help you establish what your virtues are and develop your “lens statement” – the unique way you will bring yourself to the world. KC also offers a free video course to kickstart your meditation practice.

Want to understand your personality better? The Enneagram is a model of human personality dating back to the 4thC. The Riso Hudson test is a scientifically validated one, and costs only £10 to take (a free sample test is also available). If you are familiar with tests such as Myers Briggs, the Enneagram is richer and offers deeper insight into why we behave as we do, and what might influence us in adverse or relaxed situations. Compliment your results with Beatrice Chestnut’s excellent book on your type’s path to growth.  I’m a 7 with an 8 wing – the rather delicious Robert Downey Jr is a 7 too – knew I must be connected to him somehow:0)

Want to understand how you can use your strengths to find happiness in your work? Marcus Buckingham (along with educational psychologist, the late Donald O Clifton) is a pioneer in employee engagement and the power of utilising talents and taking a strengths-based approach to work.  People who use their strengths are 6 times more likely to be engaged in their work and  more than 14 million people have taken Gallup’s online strengths finder survey.  This article is a brilliant case study of how focusing on your strengths has the power to transform your life.

Want to understand how your birth-chart and the planets affects you? Karen Wynn of  Blossom Astrology is a truly amazing interpreter of astrological charts and has a wonderful, bubbly enthusiasm for her craft.

The richness of an individual astrology chart takes into consideration a wide range of areas including your general approach to life, how you relate to others, family life, your career, where you may feel restricted or limited, your coping strategies, plus your potentials, passions, natural abilities and talents. The tendencies and themes highlighted within your personal astrology chart can be insightful, revealing and extremely helpful, particularly if you’re experiencing a difficult period in your life.

Want spiritual healing? James Phillip  founder of Celestial Earth Institute is a deeply impactful spiritual channel, contemporary shaman, teacher and healer.  A session with James is a truly transformational experience which will give you a greatly expanded sense of possibility about yourself.  Find him for 1-1s and running workshops and retreats in London, The Omega Institute, Rhinebeck New York, or at The Findhorn Foundation, Scotland.

Want spiritual healing with more swearing? John Parkin and Gaia Pollini are the original fuckiteers, having said f**k it to careers in advertising and London life in 2002, to set up their award-winning retreat The Hill That Breathes in Umbria, Italy. One sell-out book later (describing a refreshingly irreverent approach to spirituality – the latest one’s called F**k It – Do What You Love) they said f***k it to running a hotel and launch F**k It Retreats in 2 beautiful venues in Urbino and Stromboli.

It was at The Estate and Spa Urbino that I learnt to say f**k it in 2012. I was looking for “facilitated thinking space” after an bruising break-up with my employer concurrent with my Mum’s cancer diagnosis.  A life-changing week with 2 very special teachers and not an uber-sorted, mung-bean munching, moon-chanter in sight. There were even blokes there.

Want to better understand your values? The Barrett Values Centre offers a free Personal Values Assessment. Who you are, what you hold dear, what upsets you, and what underlies your decisions, are all connected to your personal values. Your values reflect what is important to you – they are a shorthand way of describing your motivations. Together with your beliefs, they are the causal factors that drive your decision-making. Most of us have a very superficial understanding of our values – investing some energy in understanding them better can be life-changing.

Want a bit of mental stimulation? Brain Picking’s Maria Popova is your woman. Writing on a whole range of eclectic topics, including art, science, literature, culture, philosophy, technology and psychology, Bulgarian Popova is a curator of the best content on the web and beyond. Her website is a treasure trove for mind, body and soul – subscribe for only $7 a month.

Want a daily reminder of your own power? Mike Dooley’s TUT: Notes From the Universe are wonderful reminders that we’re all part of something bigger and that our dreams are always being realised.

Want to hear it from someone who changed his entire life? Listen to James Altucher’s brilliant podcasts (and read his book Choose Yourself). The story of how Altucher created his life from losing everything and depression in 2002, through reading books is remarkable. Needless to say his book recommendations are bob-on.

Want to be inspired by people who have created a deeply meaningful life for themselves? Jonathan Field’s Good Life Project explores how to live a life of deep meaning, joy and connection with wonderfully inspiring individuals in conversation weekly. My favourite stories are Nancy Duarte’s, Rachel Shechtman’s and Simon Sinek. If you’re seeking to create a movement, his Art of Revolution: Don’t Just Build a Business Start a Revolution framework is brilliant (free download). Finding the Good Life Project in 2012 changed my life.

Want to change your mindset? Colin Hiles, the “Mindset Guy” is a highly-recommended (by a good friend) executive coach with an enviable corporate client list (and home in Spain close to the surf). However, check out his You Tube channel and find a wealth of free life changing videos focused on changing your mindset – the key to shifting everything, since your mindset is responsible for creating your life experience.  Looking to bring more focus on the goals I want to achieve, I found the process described in his How to Set Goals video very simple but massively helpful.

Want to identify and question the thoughts that cause you suffering? Byron Katie’s The Work is a powerful process of self inquiry and a way to understand what it is that’s hurting you and address the cause of your problems with clarity.  Watch Byron Katie here for powerful examples of her guiding individuals through The Work.

Katie’s work is in the same field as Michael Neill’s.  In his TEDx talk “Why Aren’t we Awesomer”  he describes the moment when, as a student, he experienced a “psychotic break from reality” and called the suicide helpline.  Getting the engaged tone, and finding that funny, was enough to “pop his mind” out of his suicidal thoughts. This moment marked the start of a life-long enquiry into the human potential building on the work of Syd Banks, who suggests that the three principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought explain the entire range of human behaviour and states of feeling.

Want to feel more awe? Feeling awe (an emotion which combines terror, euphoria and a feeling of smallness in the face of vastness – seeking awe is an act of courage) has been linked to health and happiness as Oliver Burkeman writes here. If you can’t get out into nature, subscribe to “Performance Philosopher” Jason Silva’s YouTube channel Shots of Awe for a regular injection. Existential Bummer’s my favourite.

The Courage Matters colour scheme is inspired by Scotland’s awe-inspiring landscape – watch Danny MacKaskill’s terrifying cycle along a knife-edge ridge on Skye’s Cuillin mountains here (the music accompanying the film is Blackbird, by one of Scotland’s most innovative and courageous artists Martyn Bennett)