Interview with Authors, Megan Raphael and Jennifer Byron

Q. What's The Courage Code About?

A. The Courage Code is about women's everyday acts of courage, though unacknowledged or honored, that are changing the world.

Throughout the world there is a traditional definition for courage - a Courage Code. This old Code defines courage in a singular way, as big, bold, acts of valor and bravery. This definition of courage doesn't acknowledge or honor other, seemingly quiet, acts of courage women express every day.

Certainly women are courageous in the traditional sense; they go to war, climb mountains, and rescue people from burning buildings. Women, however, are courageous in other ways, too - in ways that are desperately needed in the world today. Women's abilities to courageously collaborate, speak from the heart, look at the long term impact of our actions, and use intuition for decision-making are the force we need to rebalance the world.

The Courage Code challenges old definitions of self-determination, power, courage and changing the world. It speaks the truth about the importance of creating a new Code - for women and men. It is based on interviews with ordinary, though accomplished, women throughout the country, and presents an entirely new way of looking at power and courage.

Q. What's The Message You Want the Reader To Go Away With?

A. For the individual woman, our message is: You are courageous! Acting from your heart and expressing yourself fully and authentically are acts of courage - and we want you to understand, recognize and honor those acts. Never doubt that when you make the fundamental decision that It's My Life!, and you own your power that comes from your authentic Self, and you then express that with courage, you change the world.

We want all women to understand the current definitions of courage do not fit our feminine faces and that by breaking this Code, we are free to create our own new Courage Code - A Code that fully expresses who we are and what we care about.

We also want readers to truly understand that while the problems in the world seem hopeless, there is reason for great hope. Women are and will continue to be a force for positive social change through our ability to collaborate, share wisdom and intuition, lift up, encourage, understand, resolve, and speak from the heart.

This is a completely unique point in history - never seen before - where women, with their tremendous financial clout, confidence, truly knowing how to make a difference, and unwillingness to take a back seat any longer, are a force to be reckoned with. This force is bringing greater balance to the world and will serve to bring about desperately needed wisdom to the problems we all face.

Q. Why Is There A Need To Redefine Courage? What's Wrong With The Current Definition?

A. The problem is that currently we only look at courage one way; as big, bold, acts of valor, usually related to a physical challenge such as leaping into the Potomac River to rescue survivors of a crashed plane, or climbing Mt. Everest. This definition is limiting, and devalues other, equally courageous acts.

The current Code, with its more masculine definition, is light years away from the French root word for courage: "corage", meaning of heart and spirit. As a result, we don't even recognize, much less honor, women's everyday acts of courage that spring from their heart and spirit. We diminish the courage of a woman directly confronting an important issue, advocating for collaboration not competition, or changing her career in the face of opposition. Our current definition doesn't support the woman who lives her life as she chooses, allowing and teaching others to express themselves fully also.

Frankly, the old definitions aren't working any longer when it comes to solving the world's perplexing problems of poverty, violence, war, and environmental degradation. The world is out of balance, and we desperately need women's understanding, ability to cut the crux of what's important, intuition, and willingness to collaborate.

Q. Why Did You Write This Book?

A. There are actually two reasons:

1. Both of us have spent years working with women as consultants, instructors, trainers, life coaches, and administrators. We've had the opportunity to see countless women whom we knew were leading amazing lives. We could see they were self-determined, powerful and courageous women.

We discovered that most of these women didn't see themselves as we saw them; they didn't see their lives as particularly amazing. So we started asking ourselves and each other, "Why don't these women recognize and honor their own power or courage?

We decided to explore this question further with women from around the country. We did in-depth interviews with women from different geographical areas and with different ethnic backgrounds, ages and sexual orientations. Despite these differences, we heard amazingly similar themes and stories of how these women are creating new Codes for living their lives fully and courageously.

We are passionate about women seeing themselves as strong and courageous, and believing in their own power. We want all women in to make the fundamental choice, It's My Life! and courageously create the life of they want. We care deeply that women understand, deep in their bones, how valuable they are, exactly as they are, and how much the world needs them to just be who they are.

2. The second reason is that we are deeply concerned about what's going on in the world right now. We look about us and see issues of poverty, environmental degradation, violence towards women and children, and war - long-standing problems that need dramatic new approaches.

The old ways of control, 'power-over', manipulation, aggression are no longer working. The world needs greater balance. The world urgently needs collaboration, understanding, reflection, listening, reaching needs a good dose of heartfelt wisdom to resolve our complex problems.

While women are certainly not the sole keepers of intuition and bridge-building - there are many evolved men in the world who are speaking out for new ways and solutions. However, it IS our belief that women are more readily able to tap into their intuition, are more attuned to deeply listening to others, and have spent a lifetime honing relationship-building skills.

We are deeply committed to helping women truly understand what a force they are for positive social change and transformation. Our hope is that through The Courage Code new awareness of and appreciation for women's everyday acts of courage will grow and spread throughout the world. We wrote the book to spread a message of inspiration and hope, and create a path for bringing greater balance to the world.

Q. Why Is This Subject Timely?

A. There is a growing awareness that feminine principles of collaboration, relationship building, intuition, wisdom, and spirituality are needed to lead the way to global transformation. Women in all facets of life are introducing innovative approaches, unwilling to accept old definitions and limitations.

In order to be the "Evolutionary Pioneers" they need to be, women must be courageous in expressing what they stand for and care about. Yet, all too often, because of old messages, women see their feminine faces and approaches devalued. They diminish their own worth and do not express themselves fully. The world loses out.

The subject is also timely because a new interest in the role of women has emerged recently. As evidenced by the upsurge in the numbers of articles in today's newspapers and publications, new questions are being raised about the value of the feminine face of power. Clearly, the time is ripe for a book to acknowledge and honor the feminine face of power and courage, and to explore how women can and do change the world everyday.

Q. What Do You Tell A Woman Who Wants To Be More Courageous?

A. One of the most important things for women to realize is that they are already couragous, and to know that courage is always expanding.. The more we find it, own it, use it, and share it, the more we have of it. Once we realize how truly courageous we are in our daily lives, the easier it becomes to dig deep and find even greater courage when it's needed.

So, the first thing we tell a woman is to understand, then challenge the current Code. Breaking the Code allows a woman to break through to a new way of living. We encourage women to look at areas of their lives where they are courageous, and build on that to strengthen their "courage" muscle.

There are four great ways for a woman to become more courageous: She can start by asking questions that help her identify her beliefs about herself and her courage, and when she has acted with courage before in her life. Looking at the patterns in her life will reveal where she is getting in her own way which will allow her to break free of limiting behaviors and habits, and create new visions for how she wants to be.

Committing to ourselves takes courage, yet if a woman wants to be more courageous she must first make the choice to be courageous. Lastly, recognizing and honoring herself and other women when she sees everyday acts of courage supports the growth of even more courage.

Q. How is this topic pertinent for a man?

A. When women are courageous in speaking up and advocating for something they believe in, everyone benefits - our self, other women, and men as well. When a woman, for example, guided by her desire for greater balance between work and parenting, requests a more flexible work schedule, this change also benefits other women and men who want greater balance in their life, too. Women are in a much better position to bring about change in our organizations and businesses because they have much less to lose. They've been under the radar for so long and have been far less involved in creating the current systems so women are not as invested in them. Many men are as frustrated as women with how problems and issues are being address, and with the structures that do not support individuals, families or communities, so women changing the world benefit us all.

There are ever increasing numbers of men who recognize they do not fit and are in fact, constrained by the traditional mold for courage and power. They, too, are questioning old definitions and approaches and will find The Courage Code very pertinent. These evolved men are supporting authentic expression of power and courage no matter the person's gender, and believe strongly in the value of the feminine principles for transforming our world. They want to live a life of fulfillment and meaning, and are partnering with the women in their lives - colleagues, spouses, significant others, daughters, etc. - to create this. The Courage Code, by revealing and challenging the old Code, and providing guidance for creating a new Code, offers direction and inspiration to men and women.












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