Advocates of the Past

I have written about many courageous leaders throughout history in STUCK and FACE!IT who displayED a high, integral level of courage consciousness such as Frida Kahlo who married Diego Rivera in 1929. Obsessed with fame, Diego would become her advocate and art teacher (but also her abuser).

Alec (Alexander) Fleming thought maybe it was time to retire when no one seemed to have an interest in his “mold juice” (the Penicillium mold). But then he met Oxford University pathologist Sir Howard W. Florey and biochemist Ernst B. Chain, who were also investigating ways to fight bacteria. They had been studying Alec’s findings on the enzyme lysozymes and his original report on penicillin. They valued Alec’s findings and became his advocates in promoting the “miracle mold.” These two examples encouraged others to claim their courage and your ability to overcome obstacles can encourage the people around you. Advocates have played a critical role with historical people and everyday people.

Therapist Shane Holst believes this type of encouragement is invaluable in helping people claim their courage and overcome inertia (another major obstacle to courage). “I believe that, when I encourage another, I wish to fill the other with courage, and my courage is demonstrated. Even though I encourage another who may outshine me, I still persist and commit altruistically to the other. Indeed, I celebrate the achievements of another regardless of me, my ego, my needs—that is deep courage, deep integrity, deep truth and bona fide humility and wisdom.” Simply by giving ourselves permission to claim our personal courage, we encourage those around us, making courage contagious and transforming the workplace.


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