Music as a Courage Ritual to Overcome Fear in Networking, Connecting with a Mentor Network Group, and Doing Other Hard Stuff

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mentor network a Courage Ritual Ellen Ensher
Every semester in Management Skills I teach my students about success strategies in mentoring, give career tips and advice, and networking. In my Tedx talk on how to get a mentor network started. I shared my private courage ritual which was singing “If I were Brave” by Jana Stanfield in front of a live audience so I think that opened the door for my students to share. Or they just figured that since I was so pathetic anything that they shared could only be better! A courage ritual is something personal to you that pumps you up and makes you feel brave before you have to do something scary. It is a good idea to do your courage ritual prior to a networking event, meeting a mentor network, going on an interview or just before you do anything that you feel like is hard or uncomfortable.
This semester my students shared their courage rituals and many of them were so inspiring I just had to share them in a series of blog posts. I noticed that courage rituals fell into a few main categories: Music, Poetry, Quotes, Prayer, Visualizations, Reaching out (usually to mom) or physical rituals. I noticed that music was a big courage ritual for many of my students. It seems that many of us have a few “theme songs” we play before we do something scary or hard. Here are some of the lyrics and songs that give my business students courage.

– Listen to “Hero” by Mariah Carey with these very inspiring lyrics:
There’s a hero
If you look inside your heart
You don’t have to be afraid
Of what you are
There’s an answer
If you reach into your soul
And the sorrow that you _________
Will melt away

-Listen to the song “I will make a Man out of you” from the Disney movie, Mulan

-Songs by Kanye West received several mentions such as Spaceship, Good Friday, Can’t Tell me Nothing and Touch the Sky with chorus of “Before the day I die, I’m gonna touch the sky”

– Listen to Beggin for Thread by the singer, Banks

– Listen to Tupac Shakur’s music such as the song Dear Mama

– Listen to “The Champ” by Nelly
with lyrics like:
Cause today is the day
Is the day I have always dreamed of forever
When you call me, you call me champ of the world
I can raise my hands
I can scream I’m the best in the world
Whole world all my blood, sweat and grind
Was for all this time

In conclusion, I will share one more courage ritual that touched my heart profoundly. About six months ago, I was facing my last chemotherapy session as I fought against breast cancer and by that time was I feeling pretty low. I told my then 11-year old son, Mark, that I was really afraid of going to chemo. In response he sang to me an acapella version of the lyrics from Eminem’s “Not Afraid.”

I’m not afraid
To take a stand
Everybody (mom) come take my hand
We’ll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just letting you know you’re not alone
I’m not afraid.

What do you listen to when you need to be brave? May you find a song that speaks to your heart and helps you to have courage before anything difficult life requires of you personally or professionally.

Visit this link to learn more about how to get a mentor network.