25 Aug The Leader’s Voice: Insights from PRIDE’s Leadership – Courage
Cultivating Personal Courage
Anyone who is evolved enough to inquire about strategies for developing personal courage is really asking two questions:
- How can I be bigger than I am right now… in some real significant way?
- How do I tap into what’s special about me?
Personal courage defined:
- The strength to do what’s right, to adhere to a higher standard of personal conduct
- An inner strength to confront wrongdoing, take risks and live life to the fullest
- Not fearlessness, but a willingness to act when fear is present
Developing personal courage is not just about confronting the external threats relative to what others think of us, how we might decline in status or how our reputation might be damaged. It’s more about confronting what have been sacred cows in our lives and how we’ve limited or excused ourselves by offering conventional explanations. For example, women are often accused of being afraid of speaking up in business settings. Justifications include: “that’s just not me” or “I didn’t think it was appropriate.” When the truth is: “I was scared to death.”
From very early on our lives, we’ve put ourselves into boxes much more than any society, group or organization. We’ve also trained ourselves to push through discomfort. However, I believe that it’s important that we confront the taboos of our lives and break out of the containers we have constructed. Left unexamined, these ideals become concretized as fabrics of our whole being.
Although, external factors can aid us in tapping into our personal courage, the truth is: Courage does not come from outside of us, it comes from within.
We are all familiar with the aspirations of the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of OZ. The Wizard did not actually grant any of their wishes. Instead, he pointed out that what they were seeking was within them. How did these special talents emerge? Through learning! Through experience! The Tin Woodsman found his heart by allowing himself to love in a situation that required his compassion. By responding with quick thinking, the Scarecrow recognized his brain. Protecting his friends from danger allowed the Cowardly Lion to find his courage. Like the lion, we all have courage within us that manifests when we are sufficiently motivated.
Tips To Help Strengthen Your Personal Courage Muscles
- Be willing to step out of ‘your place.’ Whenever being in ‘your place’ contradicts or goes against your values, moral fiber, or your sense of who you are, it’s time to step out of your place.
- Be committed to something greater than yourself. Develop a bigger YES inside. Choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.
- Embark on the journey of self-discovery. Confront what comes to you as personal judgment and criticism. Ask yourself: Why am I having this reaction to this situation?
- Embrace new ways of knowing. Expand your perspective about what you believe (or have been told is true about yourself). Ask yourself: How did I come to know this? Is it still true for me?
Live Truth Moment by Moment!
About the Author:
Tiffany is an author, speaker, coach and leadership scholar/practitioner with over 18 years of experience helping individuals from the C-suite to the Frontline improve their leadership skills, re connect to their greatness and find fulfillment in their lives. She has held leadership roles at Pfizer, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife, CVS/Caremark and United Airlines. She currently holds the position of Chief Learning Officer at Pride Global.
Tiffany is certified to administer several leadership, behavioral and motivational assessments and a myriad of global leadership development programs. She coaches leaders at all levels and is in great demand for helping senior leaders build high performing teams. Tiffany holds both Masters and Doctorate degrees in Adult Learning and Leadership from Columbia University.