I remember watching the movie “We Bought a Zoo” and falling in love with the part where the dad, played by Matt Damon, teaches his son this concept of having “20 seconds of insane courage.”

The boy is afraid to tell a girl how he feels about her. Later, when he does go talk to her, he repeats “20 seconds of courage” to himself first. And it does take him only about that long to tell her something that utterly changes their relationship.

This same idea holds true across many different situations.  Maybe there’s someone you want to ask out on a date.  Maybe you’ve wanted to apologize to someone for many years but just haven’t brought yourself to do it yet.  If you work in sales, you might be thinking of that golden prospect who’s been on your call list for months—and whom you haven’t called. You only need to find that 20 seconds of courage and dive in with both feet. 

Many of our most defining moments come when we find this insane courage.  One of my favorite examples happened when I was 24 years old.  I had been dating Andrea for some time, and I knew she was the one I wanted to marry, but I was scared. I had all kinds of crazy thoughts running through my head. What if her parents didn’t accept me? What if she said no?

After many restless nights, I finally found my 20 seconds—and now we’re celebrating our 15th anniversary this June!

On an almost a daily basis, I see financial planners and other sales professionals mustering up their own 20 seconds of insane courage to ask for an appointment with a potential prospect.  They have all experienced the sting of rejection, so I admire their perseverance in an industry where rejection is so commonplace. 

When you just aren’t sure if you have it in you to tackle that important conversation, remember that sometimes all it takes is 20 seconds of insane courage. 




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