By Chere Lucett Jackie Robinson stepped onto the baseball field under intense racism and hatred and affected race relations in many meaningful ways. Bethany Hamilton, a professional surfer, headed back into the waves just weeks after losing her arm in a shark attack. And Pat Tillman gave up a career in the NFL to serve his country in the armed forces after the 9/11 attacks.We see and hear these stories of bravery and we wonder if we would be able to do the same thing? Could we be as courageous as these seemingly extraordinary people who challenged their fears and stood up for their beliefs? Yes, because courage isn’t entrusted to the few, it’s inherent in us all.Author Mary Anne Radmacher once wrote that “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says ‘I’ll try again tomorrow.’” Not every act of courage has to be so extraordinary. In fact, we should consider the idea that courage lives on a scale that's dependent on the individual. One person’s courageous action may be another person’s everyday behavior, and it can be as unassuming as summoning the capability to do something, anything, that's outside our comfort zone.Fear is a mirror.When we stand in front of our challenges, we also face our fears – fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, fear of discomfort, fear of success…they are all standing there staring back at us. Whether it is trying out an unfamiliar class, starting out as a new fitness instructor or confronting a gruesome looking workout, the challenges faced may not seem as tremendous as overcoming discrimination or fear, but they are just as significant. What we do when we encounter challenges helps define us. Are we going to walk away from a session because we are scared it’s too hard? Are we going to avoid participating in a class we really want to take because we are afraid we won’t fit in?Fitness is fertile ground for growing courageIn the fitness industry, courage is shown daily. But it doesn’t always show up in a cape and battle villains while being faced with insurmountable odds. It’s often more subdued and humble. For example, courage is a brand new instructor saddling up on an indoor cycling bike positioned in front of the watchful eyes of an experienced class. It may be an overweight person walking into a fitness club filled with fit bodies hoping to transform his or her life, or a person suffering from social anxiety showing up to be a part of a group class. It takes no less courage to be vulnerable than it does to stand up to a bully or to fight for what you believe in. And if you look around your gym or Spinning® class today, you’ll no doubt be a witness to several acts of courage you may have never noticed before. That woman silently pedaling in the back corner of class hoping no one would notice her; it may have taken her several weeks to muster up the courage to try the class. The man swinging his hips in a Zumba® class; he may have loved to dance his whole life and finally decided it was time to face his fear of being made fun of. We may not know for sure the obstacles others face, but we know our own.Digging deep into the suitcase of courage…In sports and fitness, there are several obstacles that challenge our bravery; however the biggest challenges we face are usually those from within. We battle the negative voices that shout “can’t” at us inside our heads. We confront the “quit” that resides inside and tempts us to stop short or asks us to do less than our best. When we are asked to dig deeper, to push harder, to give more when we feel like we have nothing more to give, it’s in those moments we need to muster up the strength to keep going.When we step into the unknown, confront our fears, and do something so far outside our comfort zone it makes us infinitely more aware of our capabilities, it’s because we’ve found our courage. And in return, our courage will help us find ourselves.There is no easy method for summoning up bravery. There are no size requirements for determining whether something is considered brave or not. There are no magic pills that can help anyone take on a challenge. That’s the beauty and the mystique of courage. It isn’t easy or always consistent, but it’s defining and enlightening. We all don’t know just how great we are until we face a challenge, raise our head, square our shoulders and go for it.So go ahead, dig deep and summon up your courage. Meet the incredible, resilient person you are.Want more inspiration to stay motivated? Subscribe to our newsletter!