In the first episode, I interview Vita Unwin, a courageous young lady I met in Seville, Spain. Vita believes that courage comes in the form of taking small steps and pushing ourselves to do something different in our daily lives. Vita has chosen to spend her summer holidays in an alternative manner - applying and going for a summer job in the country she has always wanted to live in even though it was only for 2 months, while the rest of her peers chose to stay behind in England. It might not sound like a big deal to others, but to Vita, it's about doing something out of her own comfort zone that inspires her to take the next step towards her next courageous venture. Her willingness to think different and the bravery she has to take small, continuous steps towards the dreams she has inspire me.
Listen to this episode to learn Vita's view on:
- How courage means surpassing your own expectations on a daily basis (1:20 min)
- How courage is about the little things and taking small steps rather than big leaps (1:30 min)
- Challenging yourself in small ways even though it may sound impossible to achieve (2;45 min)
- That one courageous thing you do today will lead you to doing the next bigger challenge (4:00 min)
- The practice of achieving small challenges brings opportunities for the bigger things to come (4:35 min)
- Courage and believing there are no limits are contagious (5;25 min)
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18 July 2016
Interviewee : Vita Unwin (VU)
Interviewer : Jane Tan (JT)
JT : Hi everyone and welcome to another first podcast. This first podcast today is about sharing stories of courage, another project I’ve started doing because I’ve realised that there are a lot of people out there with courageous stories to share! And why not get to know them and why not get to hear them so that we can also inspire ourselves to do great things moving forward. So today, I have Vita with me, and Vita is from the UK who is spending two months here in Seville, Spain. The reason why I am interviewing her today is because I think she is a wonderful, great woman, full of empathy, but at the same time she has this great blend of strength and courage, that I am really inspired and in awe by. So without further ado, let me introduce Vita to everyone.
VU : Hello! Well, the first question that Jane asked me today was what does courage mean to you. And to be honest, it something I hadn’t thought very much about. Everyone knows what courage is. It’s not something that we feel like we have to learn. And when I first thought about courage, I thought of war veterans and suffragettes, people who lived really heroic lives. But then I started thinking more about what courage really meant to me in my daily life. Actually, courage really means surpassing your own expectations of yourself, and it’s about the little things, the things that matter to you. And it’s far more personal than you really would have expected. It’s not actually about these big tales and these big successes, it’s really about the little times where you have really pushed yourself and it’s actually really made you feel really great.
JT : I really like what you’ve mentioned because a lot of times when you think about courage, we think we have to have the big special contribution to make us different, but it doesn’t really mean that because a lot of times, it just resonates with our lives, because, what am I courageous doing in my life and how am I impacting my own life by being this courageous person? And more importantly, how does this get passed on to the other people in our lives? So, I totally agree with what you’ve mentioned and I really like that. The next question I really want to ask you based on what you’ve just mentioned is, what is your recent story of courage that you can share with us at this point in time?
VU : Well, it’s definitely not a kind of a story about war veterans or suffragettes, that’s for sure. It basically came from…when I finished my last exams at uni, I was kind of relaxing and I was enjoying it, spending time with my friends, and I suddenly thought, you know what, I’ve actually got two months ahead of me and I could spend those two months doing what I thought I would be doing, which is kind of working in a bar, earning some money, spending time with my friends. But then I actually thought, maybe I could do something more, something a bit bigger, something that really challenge me in more ways. So I decided just to start looking on the internet and to apply for a couple of jobs in Spain; I’ve always felt drawn to Spain. And I suddenly thought, why not – I might not get these jobs, it doesn’t matter if I don’t…you know I’m just gonna go for it and I would have never ever thought that I would actually end up here, sitting on this sofa in Seville, working my summer job, for two months and getting to know this city, so that was kind of a story of courage I guess even though it might not initially have sounded like one.
JT : You could have gone for the norm, just doing what everyone is doing for two months like working in a bar and just staying in the city, but you’ve taken the first active step which is unconventional to yourself and people around you by just applying for jobs. That itself is a step in courage because you are facing possible rejection but you’re doing it because you just want to do it. And I think that’s really incredible and admirable. I’m just wondering like, by doing that, how did it make you feel? Like how do you feel about your decision now and like, how do you think it will impact you in your decisions and choice making moving forward of what you want to do?
VU : Well it’s funny because it’s all relative really. So if you challenge yourself and you kind of have an idea of something that seems a bit unreasonable to you and kind of unlikely, and you go for it and you try it, and it pays off, then suddenly the flood gates open and you start thinking, here I am in Seville, I am doing this summer job… what next? What’s the next unreasonable challenge I can set myself and try to achieve and actually…it’s…what’s really more important than holding up the trophy at the end of the day, the same steps that go towards building the courage to actually take on the challenges that lead to these achievements. So I think that ultimately it kind of…it gives you more courage to keep making these small unreasonable kind of challenges and setting the bar high for yourself. And it kind of, open the flood gates and who knows what will come next.
JT : And I really like that because I think what you’ve mentioned is really about…everyone has a different definition of what they want out of their lives and we should just be courageous to go for what we want. And I do have a last question for you. I’ve been really curious about this question – why did you agree to be the first interviewee for this programme and what made you want to come on this programme?
VU : Well I am kind of asking myself that as we sit here with our sangria (JT : it’s probably the sangria!) on a Tuesday night! And actually you know what, the thing about courage and feeling positive and feeling like there are no limits in life is that it is contagious, and I’ve definitely caught it from Jane. I think that, you know what, actually sometimes you need that little extra lift? I mean sometimes it’s quite hard for us to make these changes by ourselves. And by sharing stories of courage by hearing other people’s stories of courage because Jane’s definitely got one of her own…actually it’s really contagious. You realise that it can definitely be applied and it resonates with everybody and it resonates on a really personal level and I think that it’s basically contagious. I mean I would have never thought that I would be speaking into this microphone on a Tuesday night but here I am and it’s all because of Jane.
JT : I’m really really thankful and grateful that you are here on this programme and Vita has inspired me to come up with this new programme because she was the one who gave me the idea that everyone has stories to share, and perhaps I can come up with this programme about stories of courage. And I really like this idea because I think what’s important is for us to realise that we are not alone in this journey and everyone’s looking to do that little something different that redefines their lives and give them more joy, so that everyone can live their lives with no regrets.
VU : And I really hope that this is the first of many stories and I know it will be and I can’t wait to hear the next.
JT : Great! So thank you Vita once again for being here with me, thank you for being my first interviewee.. I really appreciate it. Thank you to everyone for listening in. Till the next time I speak to everyone, continue thinking, what is thing you’ll do today that will give you courage and just give you the little bit of push to go for what you want in life. Chau!