On Being has an interesting personal story in response to the question, “When you think of fearlessness or courage, what person or story or idea comes to mind?”
The speaker was diagnosed with cancer and had to see a series of specialists before seeing an oncologist. Along the way she met with a pulmonary technician . . .
I remember him giving me this tough love and sort of giving me this sense of courage and instilling in me like, ‘You sort of have to step up and deal with this and own it, and it’s a really crappy situation, but you need to know as much about it as you can to figure out what you’re going to do.’ And he kind of sat me down when I was crying and was just like, ‘You need to know exactly what you have. You need to have all the answers when the doctors are asking you what kind of tumor it is.’ Or what have you. The fact that he was kind of hard on me but very kind of compassionate and sympathetic at the same time… his words echo my mind a lot, especially today because it’s the anniversary of it and he’s just someone that kind of stuck in mind. I’m sure in his position it’s not easy to tell someone who’s twenty-six and really sick to kind of ‘buck-up’ but I’m pretty grateful for it.
A good combination of empowerment, hope, challenging and responsibility balanced with compassion.