Aristotle called courage the first virtue.
There are lots of you being courageous at the moment. Whether you are taking a risk on a new product, going beyond your normal boundaries to keep people in their jobs or overcoming your fears of the unknown. All this takes courage.
I’ve never really been very brave, I wish I had more courage. You see, I am great at installing it in others; being encouraging/inspiring – this is one of my strengthens as a leader. Its one of the great leadership skills – we all need to encourage others more. I’m just never been so great at being courageous myself.
This all started to change around 10 years ago when a personal matter, drove me to “Go Ape”. For those of you who know me, know how petrified of heights I am. (I can’t help it my knees go, I feel dizzy and often fall over.) At that time, I needed to get used to facing my fears on a daily basis, so I decided that courage was my friend and I was going to get used to that scared feeling. Now I practice being courageous as much as I can. (Yesterday, I went out down a bike dirt track for my first experience of ‘Trail Biking’ – scary stuff for me and I’m happy to report no scratches or brakes on me or the bike.)
Entrepreneurs' Organisation say there are 3 forms of courage:
Try – The courage of initiative and action. Pioneering efforts.
Trust – The courage of confidence in others. Being open and letting go of control.
Tell – The courage of voice. Challenging conversations.
I’m never going to be a pioneer (too much of a good girl, I like following the rules.) but I’m great at the challenging conversations and I’m trying to get better at the letting go of control. What are you good at? Where is your natural courage?
“courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
The good news is you can learn to be more courageous – it’s a skill which can be developed. This Harvard Business Review article describes the 6 discrete processes that make up the courageous calculation. (Set the goal, figure out the importance, tip the balance in your favour, risk reward balance, timing, contingency planning.)
“Courage is the willingness to completely change our perception of how the world works.”
This quote is important now more than ever. You know what you need to do, I’m here to remind you all to be brave, calculated and confident in your own abilities. I’m not saying take unnecessary risks, I am saying have the courage to do the right thing everyone!