Dig deep and find your courage

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Silva collects coffee cherries. From the Long Miles Coffee Project Blog.

No matter where you look on the internet, there are tales of triumph and glory from the underdog coming up from nothing and succeeding. It’s a story we all cheer for, and we just can’t get enough of it. They make us feel good inside as we cheer on the underdog, but it also makes us wish we could have our own success story and dream life.

Jeff Goins notes in Art of Work that many people find that while searching for their vocation, they often find stumbling blocks that make them want to give up. But, they push past it. My favourite stories in Goins’ book are the Carlson family and Ginny Phang.

The Carlsons are a traditional American family that loved coffee and wanted to make a difference to the world of coffee growers. They knew they were restless and it was time for a change. They made a series of choices that eventually led them to South Africa, then onto Burundi in East Africa. This is where they live now, sometimes for days at a time without electricity, raising a family and running a small business that connects the stories of the coffee roasters and the growers in a meaningful way.

Their purpose? To bring the wonders of Burundi coffee to the world, and in turn help the Burundi coffee community thrive.

Ginny, on the other hand, had a different experience. She was young, pregnant, and outcast in her society. Something in her nagged at her not to have an abortion despite everyone else demanding it of her. One helping hand shot out of the dark, and gave Ginny hope. Then, though a series of haphazard events this young lady was able to bring brought hope, comfort, and love to other young mothers during their childbirthing process.

But, here, let her tell you with her own words in this TEDx talk.

Both of these stories have a thread of hope and courage running through them. They¬†show that succeeding in life and doing something you love isn’t a series of well laid and executed plans. Instead, it’s half plans, a willingness to be flexible and take opportunities as they come, and ultimately have the courage to act on those opportunities.