Now that I shared my rookie story in my previous blog posting about confronting Mr. Big Shot, what is the key ingredient to my life lesson? Courage! Don’t ever consider selling your soul or swallowing your voice for a piece of business, even if it looks like “the big one!” The key to securing the right type of business is to understand the kind of courage that supports effective leadership. I don’t mean bravado or physical courage but the kind of day-to-day courage that invaluable business leaders employ consistently—everything from speaking up during a company meeting to overcoming an obstacle that hinders professional advancement. These small instances often create the defining moments of a person’s career.
Most people mistakenly believe that courage is only relevant during particularly perilous times. As a result, they don’t perceive the courageous nature of exploring new ideas, confronting gossip, transitioning to a new career, transcending rejection or taking the initiative to spearhead change. In reality, each person has the capacity to be a courageous leader regardless of his or her position! Whether you’re a graphic designer, sales executive, dental assistant or the CEO, how you confront workday issues and contribute to your own professional advancement speak volumes about your personal courage and set a leadership example others can follow.
So what makes the difference? The difference lies in understanding the deeper meaning of courage, which comes from the French word corage, meaning “heart and spirit.” In other words, acting with courage is really about acting from your heart and spirit—from the center of your being. By identifying with your true heart-and-spirit Self, you claim the courage that empowers you to overcome personal limitations—the kind of limitations that prevent us all from providing effective business leadership. Since our limitations vary widely, each of us must reflect on our own life lessons in order to recognize the misperceptions and attachments that keep us stuck in our false identities and counterproductive patterns.
So what happened to my career at this bank? I kept my job. In fact, I quickly learned banking processes and regulations and advanced to assistant vice president. Eventually, I became vice president of private banking, and throughout it all, I never regretted a single courage-based decision that I made.
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®. Please visit www.sandrawalston.com.
Sandra Ford Walston, The Courage Expert
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