Have Courage and be Kind

Lessons we can learn from Disney and how we can apply them to our business lives

What is better than cuddling up with your daughter, watching a Disney movie on a rainy Saturday afternoon? A few years ago, I had the pleasure of watching Disney’s Cinderella in such circumstances.

One thing puzzled me during that movie. Why did Ella’s (Cinderella’s) mom wait until she was on her deathbed before she shared her wisdom?

“a great secret that will see you through all the trials life has to offer… have courage and be kind”

In this modern-day Cinderella remake, the message is so different from previous versions, that is what makes this one so refreshing and relevant. Today’s version is more of a young woman whose naiveté is far sweeter when accompanied by her steely resolve to achieve success no matter what.

After her dear mother dies, Ella is courageous and she is kind to everyone, including her cruel and twisted stepmother and stepsisters who continually bully and belittle her.

Sure, Cinderella looks stunning but it’s more her inner beauty that captures attention – her courage and her kindness. Everyone has inner beauty, and it’s not only the stuff of fairy tales.

Since that day, the last thing I say to my daughter as I tuck her into bed each night is “have courage and be kind”. What better motto for a child growing up? One day she may be a businesswoman, a leader in the community, and hopefully she will carry this motto with her and apply it to everyday situations.

Kindness: “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.”

Courage: “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, or pain without fear.” I explain courage to my daughter as “doing something even when you’re scared to do it”

At first it might seem odd to merge kindness and courage together as core values but if you stop and think about it those two characteristics, when blended together they can help you get through most life situations. Kindness helps you appreciate others, even when they may not act in a way that appears to deserve that tolerance. Courage helps you live with integrity, even when you are fearful of the consequences.

We need to have courage and kindness in our lives and often we need them both in the same moment – for example, at times in our lives it will take great courage to treat someone well. It will also take great courage to know when to walk away from situations or people that aren’t good for you.  Ultimately it will take kindness to forgive and walk away without feelings of malice or anger. Courage is what helps you to continue moving forward with your life.

How can we have courage when others mistreat us? Why should we be kind to those who are cruel?

Let’s face it, life isn’t a fairy-tale. People will mistreat you, sometimes for no good reason besides to see you fall. Cinderella chose to act bravely and kind because she was a princess – not by blood, but a true princess at heart.

Sometimes, the life you live becomes your downfall. Your daily life can become so rough that you begin to lose sight of your personal values. Increasing stress and demands threaten to rob you of your passion for achieving your happiness.

Some people come into your life and you want them to stick around forever, but they don’t. Pressures start out small, but they build continuously. It is important not to lose sight of what makes you special and what got you where you are.

You have a choice to make in the face of corporate bullying. Do you choose to continue to allow yourself to be broken down and destroyed? Or will you rise above it, making use of your core values and beliefs?

So, when you encounter bullies at school, home or at work, remember this: Cinderella rose above, remaining hopeful and kind until things finally worked out in her favour. She is not weak; she is resilient and strong.

Kindness is not weakness – it is strength

Have the courage to remain kind. Stand proud when life begins to pull you down. Try not to become bitter; that is letting the bad guys win. Stay humble in the face of the too-proud.

This is not to say you should become a doormat. Stand up for yourself and for what is right in the face of so much wrong. Just do it in a way that maintains your values. Two wrongs never make a right.

Choose to be happy. Have courage and be kind.

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