In today’s business world, the importance of everyday courage cannot be over-emphasized, especially for those of us who must balance the demands of family and career. Consider these very real situations.
• Behind closed doors, a manager bullies and denigrates an employee.
• The best-qualified person is passed over for a promotion (again).
• An employee realizes that he has made an error in a corporate proposal.
• A happily married woman hits a career roadblock when her employer assumes that motherhood will interfere with her job performance.
• An engineer is reluctant about taking time off to have surgery on his painful knee when his co-workers are being laid off right and left.
These examples characterize significant obstacles faced by workers on a regular basis. If we follow our natural thought patterns and behavioral tendencies, we remain stuck in these kinds of situations, but responding with courage activates a valuable personal energy source. You will come to recognize this energy (the word virtue in Latin, virs means “energy”) if you choose to give yourself permission to claim this forgotten virtue. The etymology of the word courage is Old French corage, meaning “heart and spirit.” The examples above reveal the behavior patterns of a dispirited organization—the opposite of courageous leadership. In choosing to draw from innate courage an employee finds their true Self. But, what is the true Self and how does it impact the importance of courage at work?
The journey to the true Self comes in many packages and perspectives. Herb Rubenstein, President of Sustainable Business Growth believes human beings create their external identities, such as a smoker who wishes to quit because his health insurance plan where he works will improve. Herb shared, “Ask a person if they smoke. If they say, ‘I am quitting’ they will return to smoking because they have not created the new identity for themselves as a non-smoker. If the person says, ‘No, I don’t smoke’ even though they had a cigarette yesterday and decided to quit this morning, they have this new identity, a ‘beingness’ ingrained in them, and they, by transforming their being, their identity, have overcome the greatest hurdle to quit smoking. Being is a function and when well constructed is a form of know thyself. This can be generated by the contemplative path (looking within) or it can be created by a declaration that one feels is binding, such as ‘I am not a smoker’. That declaration comes from our ability as human beings to ‘create’ ourselves as we wish to create ourselves.”
Whatever path you choose, experiencing a rewarding work life does not depend on what you do but on how you approach what you do.
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