Everyone can learn to practice courage regardless of career or position. It does not matter if you are a sales associate, graphic designer, project manager, photographer, accountant, administrative assistant, CEO, entrepreneur, journalist, construction worker, electrician, mechanic or stockbroker, you can learn to manifest courage in your work.
Courage comes from the French word corage, meaning “heart and spirit,” which tells us that acting with courage is really about acting from your heart and spirit—from the center of your being. In Being, you identify with your deeper Self and claim the courage that empowers you to confront others’ limiting perceptions; ironically, it also allows you to let go of your attachment to those perceptions and move on. Once you begin exhibiting courage at work, you will discover a direct correlation between your courage quotient and your success quotient.
Researching courage behaviors in individuals and organizational components for over thirteen years, I discovered that there were twelve cousins to courage:
Is it difficult for you to risk your security? Too worried that a risk might backfire, most people wait and wait, caught up in self-intimidating scripts that prevent them from mustering the courage to take the plunge. It is your courage that supports your ability to let go of deadly attitudes, change the way you organize your time, change your relationships and change who and what you are. Risk-taking in motion is not about the situation you are facing, such as taking on the tough project or starting your own business, but about the internal process you use to examine the risk at hand. Review your thoughts and dreams, study the behavioral patterns that keep you stuck, and uncover your voice as it relates to risk-taking, spontaneity and making mistakes. Risk-taking includes making mistakes, but your courage allows you to recover from your mistakes and step up. That’s a part of self-realization! Eventually, composure merges as a cousin to courage because your self-knowledge has stepped up to a higher level of courage consciousness.
2. CARRYING ON:
Oprah understands how to take her courage to heart. During an important career transition, she clearly recalls her fears. In her magazine she writes, “Almost everyone around me doubted whether I had the stuff to handle a talk show in a tough market like Chicago, where Phil Donahue was king—but I took the step anyway.… What that move and many others since have taught me is that the true meaning of courage is to be afraid and, then, with your knees knocking and your heart racing, to step out anyway.… If you allow it to, fear will completely immobilize you.… What I know for sure is this: Whatever you fear most has no power—it is your fear that has the power.”
This is why your intentions are pivotal in launching or changing your path—declaring an intention to do only work that brings you joy. Former PINK magazine had as their motto: “Courage is doing what you love.” You keep carrying on until you find your passion. Carrying on is a cousin to courage.
“Faith is the quiet cousin of Courage. Faith is willing to put its foot out when there is no guarantee that there will be a step to support it,” writes Judith Lasater in Living Your Yoga. Uncertainly lives in this unseen step. We question it, we doubt ourselves, and we stay stuck! Uncertainty is the obstacle that gnaws and manipulates us, many times without our conscious knowing. This unknowing creates a spiraling of unnecessary suffering—suffering that could have been prevented if there had been no attachments to the outcome but rather an appreciation for the present. Besides, every day is a day of uncertainty. Only the ego mistakenly believes that you have a schedule set in stone when you walk out the door to go to work. Why is it that way? The ego strives for certainty.
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Sandra Ford Walston is known as The Courage Expert and innovator of StuckThinking™. Her second book, STUCK: 12 Steps Up the Leadership Ladder, is now available. She is an organizational effectiveness consultant, speaker, internationally published author of bestseller COURAGE, trainer and courage coach. She is certified in the Enneagram and MBTI®.
Please visit www.sandrawalston.com.
Sandra Ford Walston, The Courage Expert
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