My research demonstrates that different people define courage differently. Your definition of courage defines who you are! Based on my first five years of courage research, I identified twelve behaviors of courage, including living your convictions, manifesting vision, affirming strength and determination and conquering fear. Now, with almost thirteen years of research I extracted twelve obstacles that impede taking courage to work such as inertia, intimidation, denial and manipulation along with twelve complimentary courage actions to overcome the obstacles such as giving yourself permission to claim your courage, taking on the tough project, exiting bad situations quickly and revealing vulnerability.
Virtues are Abstract
Most people say, “Courage is not even a word I had given much thought to.” Like all virtues, it is abstract. We grow up learning other virtues, such as honesty, integrity or humor, and maybe even the other cardinal virtues—justice, wisdom and moderation, but courage is the forgotten virtue because people do not recognize their everyday actions as significant. Courage is a state of being. Sometimes courage is about making sacrifices for a bigger principle. Acts of personal courage rarely roar! Why? Something called “where courage meets courage” integrates into the persona.
Each day your actions define who you are and reveal your heart. Most people do not perceive themselves as courageous, and only eleven percent of women do. What’s required is a shift in cultural tenets that begins with learning about courage at school, home and work; then, you learn that courage is the mother of all the virtues.
To initiate that change in perspective, answer these four questions:
1. When was the last time you used the word “courage?”
2. Are you willing to invite true “heart and spirit” courage into your life?
3. When your time comes to pass on, will you have been true to your heart and spirit, or will you have regrets that you did not go for what interests you?
4. Do one or more obstacles like inertia, denial, invisibility or apathy have you stuck?
There is an untapped reservoir of courage in us all. Join me next time to learn about courage leadership.
I would love for you to share your courage comments by posting them below.
Sandra Ford Walston is known as The Courage Expert and innovator of StuckThinking™. 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®.
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