A Little Courage Goes a Long Way

by Zehorit Heilicher, Tastemaker in Residence

 “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently.”

 Maya Angelou

The tables were turned on me this past week. I was hired to teach a culinary class, to share my passion for life and flavor and my kitchen expertise. I was to inspire and empower the group to reengage in providing food for themselves and their families. Surrounded by more than fifty women attending the evening, beautifully planned by Leap Events, I mentally prepared myself. The order of the evening, the information I decided to share and more, were laid out in an orderly fashion in my head as I prepped. All under control, right?

But then Judy Victor (Leap Events founder) opened the evening and respectfully requested the attendees to introduce themselves by sharing what or who inspires them. The transformation in the crowd was miraculous. Women of all ages gave credit to their mothers, siblings, spouses, children, co-workers and friends, citing courage, wonder and perseverance as the most admired characteristics. The progression of genuine admiration and love (sorry, no other word for it!) was inspiring and humbling. The role models were not celebrities or distant intellectuals – they were people present in our lives that are showing up in theirs – to courageously face our everyday challenges. These women opened up, speaking of their trials and their inspiration and I found my self in turn – inspired by them.

So, indulge me for a minute (here I go on my little soap box). Women around the world are judged and found lacking daily; their attire, speech, behavior and life opportunities stifled and determined by others. When we connect and support, inspire and show up – the network grows and enriches all it touches. All it takes is a little courage…