How to Catch a Little Courage
By Sandra Ford Walston, The Courage Expert
Sold your soul (again!)? Call it what you want, but you know the feeling. You’ve been at your job for over five years and you’re stuck. It’s all you talk about—how you’re uninspired, how your talents aren’t appreciated, how you feel invisible …. But talk is cheap, and if you don’t step up and do something about it (updating your resume, finding a career coach or learning new skills) you will stay stuck for a long time.
When you find yourself stuck in an unrewarding job doing thankless work, how do you move forward? Can you identify the obstacles that keep you stuck, things like intimidation, apathy, manipulation or self-neglect? Once you see the obstacles holding you back, do you have the courage to overcome them?
Denverite Sandra Ford Walston, banking vice president turned “Courage Expert,” first published COURAGE ( 2001) to help women identify and incorporate the feminine behaviors of courage in their personal lives. Walston’s second book, STUCK: 12 Steps Up the Leadership Ladder helps the reader live a more fulfilling life (rather than a half-lived life) by recognizing the 12 obstacles that keep us stuck at work. Regardless of title, credentials, age or intellectual prowess we all get stuck. There is no “one size fits all” formula for overcoming obstacles at work. The size and importance of them change as does our capacity to deal with them. For each workplace obstacle, Walston identifies a “courage action” that empowers the reader to overcome that obstacle.
If you feel like someone has clipped your wings, if you live with a sense of regret, if you live in blame, or if you have a hard time making positive career transitions, you may wish to implement these simple Dos and Don’ts:
1. DON’T stay stuck in conformity (a courage killer). Take the steps to eliminate apathy.
DO focus on instilling self-discipline and maintain a tough measure of accountability. Self-discipline thwarts any mediocrity that might keep you stuck in regret.
2. DON’T allow self-neglect to undercut your self-esteem during demanding.
DO declare your courageous intentions so you learn to motivate yourself from within. Hard decisions come alive in the questions, not the answers. Questions inspire actions. See events as opportunities rather than sources of apprehension.
3. DON’T allow yourself to remain invisible under the false pretense that blending in or staying neutral keeps you safe.
DO determine how courage can self-differentiate you and showcase your talents. The driver behind courage is the meaningfulness of your life. Finding what you love will be your brand trademark. This trademark communicates your spirit’s purpose as well as your convictions.
4. DON’T let denial cause your career to stagnate. Staying stuck hinders courage consciousness.
DO remember this ancient Chinese proverb: “He who hesitates before each step spends his life on one leg.” Stepping up reinforces your reservoir of courage, which sustains you until you are ready to take the next exciting step. Living in courage is economical—it cuts out a myriad of missteps.
5. DON’T linger in inertia. Inertia keeps us stuck in unfulfilling jobs and creates a false sense of safety.
DO rely on your courage to embrace change. Courage promotes the self-empowerment to rise above a “stuck” mindset. A courage mindset allows you to embrace the opportunities you face on your journey. Are you willing to give yourself permission to claim your courage?
6. DON’T stay stuck in blame.
DO work without regrets. Regrets are lost courage. Ask yourself: “Is some aspect of my personality constantly tripping me up, repeatedly causing regret and then placing the blame elsewhere?” Begin to notice your emotional triggers, the people or circumstances that set you off.
Sandra Ford Walston, The Courage Expert, innovator of STUCKThinking™, is an organizational effectiveness/learning consultant, speaker, corporate trainer and courage coach. Specializing in understanding courage behaviors, individual personalities and leadership styles that focus on the tricks and traps of the human condition, the author/trainer facilitates individuals and groups in discovering their hidden talents. She is the internationally published author of bestseller, Courage: The Heart and Spirit of Every Woman/Reclaiming the Forgotten Virtue (Greece and Brazil). Her second book is currently agent represented. She is qualified to administer and interpret the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and is a certified Enneagram teacher.
Sandra provides skill-based programs for public and private businesses, including Caterpillar, Inc., Auburn University, Procter & Gamble, Wyoming Department of Health Public Nurses, Farmers Insurance, Wide Open West and Hitachi Consulting. With over eleven years of experience with finance professionals, she instructs for the University of Denver Graduate Tax Program Continuing Professional Education courses and she formerly taught for the Colorado Society of CPAs.
To learn more about how Sandra can help your business cultivate success or to purchase a copy of her first book, visit www.sandrawalston.com.
©2010 by Sandra Ford Walston, The Courage Expert. For permission to make copies or reprints, please contact the author.