Courage - some thoughts

The ability to do something that frightens you. I like that definition of courage.

I like it because it is your ability, your fear. It is you that is assessing your ability, it is you that has turned to face something. It takes others out of the picture. It is you and yours.

At Affectus, we spend a lot of time asking people to look in the mirror and be bold. Often about personal traits and behaviours; levels of understanding and openness to change.

In fact, as I write this, I know that eighteen courageous individuals are on their way to meet us as part of the National Seafood Industry Leadership Program that we facilitate.

And, again, we will be asking them

  • what do you know about yourself?
  • what are you willing to step into to make the change that is needed?

At no point will we be asking them to measure themselves against one another. They may do this but we are not interested in that.

 What we craft is an environment where people see situations that may be scary. They have a good look at it. And they take a step toward it.

We courage will we see?

We have been specialists in the area of leadership for well over two decades. That means that some of what we see and hear will be familiar to our team because others have trodden similar paths toward their fear. But it will be different and inspiring…I am positive about that. In fact, we often talk about awakening tigers! And that takes courage.

So, what does courage look like?

For one person it could be willing to start a difficult conversation…or any conversation.

For another it could be to address a room full of strangers…or another person.

Or, it could be a young person speaking their mind surrounded by faces with decades of experience.

Perhaps it’s a quieter person chairing a meeting.

Or, an experienced participant sitting and unearthing a deeper, hidden, unexpected wisdom and sharing it with others.

A couple of years ago I was asked to do some work in an unfamiliar setting. I hesitated, I felt my heart lift a few revs and I bit down and stayed quiet.

I found my Third Space, dusted off my courage and agreed. Now as it turned out the dates didn’t match my calendar (mores the pity) but at that moment I realised a couple of things:

  1. It had been long time (2 ½ years) since I had done something way, way out of my comfort zone. I hadn’t had to bite down on my fear for a long time. I realised how inappropriate that was considering nearly every room I walk into that is precisely what I expect others to do. So, I am dusting off my courage more regularly now. When I feel the revs go up a notch or two, I pause and consider more actively; does it connect with my purpose? Yes! Well turn and have a look and move toward it. Step into that new leadership space.
  2. I also realised that courage takes practice. Once you know it there is a familiarity to your responses. However, we can get out of the habit of being courageous.
What about you?

How do you know when you need to be courageous? When was the last time?

I wonder, as I write this out, what percentage of my day/week/year is spent being courageous? And then I wonder about the person sitting next to me on the bench at the gate? Sitting next to me on my previous flight?

And then I pause and consider courage at a more intense level. Fleeing; facing aggression; looking at rage and it takes on a completely different hue.

When will you be courageous? Tomorrow? This week?

How will our amazing eighteen inspire us again as they demonstrate courage and then build deeper self-knowledge?

Don’t let your courage get dusty like mine did.

Have a wonderful courageous day. 

Awaken the tiger.