In this episode of the blue pea leader podcast, I’m going to talk about the importance of developing your courage muscles.
We often dismiss our level of courage or at times feel overwhelmed and wonder if there is any point continuing with a goal. Especially now, with waves of lockdown being projected and more uncertainty for Businesses.
The thing to remember is that whilst people do follow great visions, they also follow people who are courageous.
And right now we may not be able to articulate the great vision, things maybe in too much flux.
And yet every day we can and do need to tap into our courage
- to seek out the truth even when we know it’s going to be painful
- or to embrace change when it’s easier to remain within our comfort zone
- or speak our mind kindly, even though others may disagree with us
When I’m running workshops on vulnerability, then courage is often mentioned because it this we need to tap into so that we can learn and grow when we know we’re going to be displaying or discovering our weaknesses.
So how do we develop or draw upon our courage muscles?
Knowing what’s clearly important to you, then you know what you’re in the game for, you know what you’re fighting for, you have a decision making compass.
To quote Roy Disney, “Once you know what your values are, it’s easy to make your decisions.”
Which is true and that doesn’t stop us sabotaging ourselves
It’s easy to take the short cut, to look for the hack, the easy route. And if this doesn’t take you forward to your goal then you’re playing on the sidelines, looking for the magic pill, the comfortable.
Which means as a leader you’re teaching / role modeling this approach or attitude to others.
Courage is contagious.
And never underestimate the power of small.
There was a song by chumbawamba called tubthumping – one of the lines is “I get knocked down but I get up again, you’re never going to keep me down”
Busting Some Myths
Now in workshops or when I’m coaching clients, and we discuss courage, there are a few myths that can show up and like balloons at a party, they are just asking to be popped.
The first is courage is when you face something big… and big is also what others would define it as too.
Yet as I said don’t underestimate the small stuff.
I wonder if you relate to any of these:-
- Courage is applying for a job and not being 100% sure you’re a fit – but you’re excited by it.
- Courage is sharing a story and not fully knowing how the other will receive it.
- Courage can be saying hello to a stranger or asking someone for a dance.
These aren’t big things, and no not everyone would agree they require courage, but if it’s outside your normal or comfort zone, then yes it does.
There is also the myth that if you’re courageous, you have a handle on fear. Like you probably don’t feel it. Or can dismiss it.
When in fact your knees can be knocking, (which is interesting when you’re dancing), and you still do it anyway.
In any moment we get to choose what we pay most attention to… our sense of fear, and what we make it mean – whether it’s that we’ll look daft, appear stupid, or of screwing up or making a mistake.
Or do we focus on what we value and our goals and draw upon our courage.
The courage to step out, to step up, being ok with the fact that there might be a moment of looking daft or getting it wrong.
Everything that you can do easily and effortlessly now at some point you were clunky with. And yet you wanted it enough to keep going. You drew upon your courage whether you remember that now or not.
And frequently that’s an important reminder- we can sometimes forget what courage it’s taken in the past.
When I’m standing in front of 12 people training them in presentation skills with not a PowerPoint slide in sight, a comment I frequently get is I make it look so easy, and I don’t understand how nervous they are.
And I chuckle and share with them how my first presentation went – short answer, very bad.
And so I say that if I can go from being that bad to what they see today, then they can too, and in a lot less time.
I also let them into another little secret that I also still feel nervous before presenting or training – it’s just I’ve learned to harness this rather than feeding it.
The third thing I want to share with you is based on a quote from Anais Nin “life shrinks or expands in proportion to your courage”.
It relates to the statement, everything that you want, but don’t yet have is outside of your comfort zone. And courage is the vehicle that gets us out of the comfort zone.
Who knows what the rest of 2020 has in store for us or even next year. And there is one thing we can focus on that will help us and our team enormously- our courage muscles. Any time of uncertainty, chaos or crisis causes us, and calls us, to be courageous in who we are and in what we do.
And that allows us to shine our light into the world.
Until next time on the blue pea leader, have the courage to keep on keeping on.
P.S Courage and Resilience work together. Download our free report on how you can increase your resilience – both personal and organisational.