Volume 132, March 2014: Courage

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

This is a monthly electronic magazine for anyone who wants to be a better leader, coach, facilitator, or simply, to tune up their people skills. It is a complimentary publication, devoted to the next evolution of Quality Thinking.

Publisher: © Key Associates, 2014 ISSN # 1545-8873

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face … You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Courage (with synonyms of bravery, boldness, fearlessness, mettle, fortitude, or intrepidity) is defined as the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. “Physical courage” is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, death, or threat of death, while “moral courage” is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal or discouragement.

Sometimes all it takes to demonstrate courage is to take a stand. Feelings of fear are a natural response to perceived danger; insecurity is when you doubt your ability to handle the source of the fear. Many of these fears are figments of the mind and have no basis in reality; others are well-grounded in experience (e.g., don't aggravate a rattlesnake). When you set your mind that you can do something, you can use the energy of the fear to propel you into action.

Susan Jeffers in Feel the Fear … and Do It Anyway (1988) first gave me the idea that one can feel fear and push through it. Dr. Jeffers showed me how to become powerful in the face of fears, move from victim to creator, shut up the chatterbox in my mind, and enjoy the elation of living a creative, joyous, loving life.

A few years ago, I had a shift of mind (or really, metanoia – a transformative change of heart). It went like this: “Never assume someone else will handle it.” I now find myself taking responsibility for activities like stopping at the scene of accidents, letting homeless in out of the rain, calling out someone on an unethical act, and giving the shirt on my back to someone who needs it more than I do – activities I often presumed others would handle.

Learn to walk in courage and gratitude, say Perkins and Lappe, in You Have the Power: Choosing Courage in a Culture of Fear (2005) – these are incompatible with fear. Put courage and grace in your heart, and do what you believe is the right thing. Sometimes taking a stand may mean you will lose friends or possessions, but you will save your convictions. Have you really lost anything worth having? The brave act decisively each day and have few, if any, regrets in that area of their lives. “A coward dies a thousand deaths, a soldier dies but once.” This adage rings as true today as it did thousands of years ago.

Practice Point

Lean into your fears. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Unleash your power to walk into the unknown and create a more fulfilling, authentic life.


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