I’ve often wondered whether the name Courage Copse had anything to do with why we eventually brought the woodland. People often say ‘wow it’s such a brave thing you are doing’ or ‘blimey I’d love to do what you are doing but I don’t have the courage to give up my job/ give up my lifestyle’. And it’s easy to be dismissive of what are essentially compliments but I think that is mainly because we misunderstand what having courage or being brave is. It is often thought of as being fearless but being brave is acknowledging you are feeling scared but doing whatever it is anyway because you know it is the right thing to do.
We brought Courage Copse 6 months before my 40th birthday. I don’t remember thinking shit I ‘d better get on with it,however, I do remember wanting to prove to myself that I still had the energy and drive to achieve my dreams. I did have a crazy notion of wanting to climb Everest mind you. However, it took us four years, interestingly 6 months before Vincent’s 40th, to give up our jobs, move to the woods and set up Courage Copse Creatives.
It has been a massive learning curve. And no now we are living our dream it isn’t all sweet and rosy. It is REALLY hard work. If I knew then what I know now would I do it again? No probably not. It is said hindsight is a great thing but not knowing the future is also a blessing. And now we need the courage to carry on, to continue with what we started. I don’t doubt for a moment that what we are doing here in the woodland is of great benefit to the land itself and to us personally. I just wish it was a little easier and my legs, back and shoulders didn’t ache so much! It feels a privilegde to be connected to and part of a small piece of Devon, and I certainly agree with Sarah Maitland who in her book ‘Gossip from the Forest’ argues there is a symbiotic relationship between forests and people. She backs this accertion up with evidence she traces back to the end of the last ice age.
Sometimes being brave is doing something simple or small, I’m not suggesting we all run off and take on the management of a woodland, but all to often we settle for what we know and snuggle down into our comfort zone. However, if we only try what we know our lives become restricted and our comfort zone gets increasingly smaller. Lidl has a campaign at the moment ‘try something you can’t pronounce’ so simple but so liberating too. You may love it, you may not but the point is you won’t know unless you try.
We find this when taking our products to a new retailer. The retailer has to ask themselves will their customers be willing to pay a little extra for quality local produce? Do they want to take the risk? Are they brave enough to give it a try? Glad to say that the retailers courage is repaid by having satisfied customers who return to buy more. Apparently our eggs are the best they have tasted, our BBQ charcoal lights easily and heats up quickly, customers resolve never to use the imported rubbish again. Now with our online shop you can also buy direct from us.
So step out of your comfort zone, even in small ways, because it’s generally a rewarding and confidence boosting experience!