Part II Are You Too Big for Your Britches (Or Are You Just Demonstrating Feminine Courage)?

Being mindful of defining moments
Being passed over for a promotion, not receiving a fair raise, being spoken down to, or having your boss publicly reprimand you are a few examples of career defining moments. Recognizing these workplace incidents is the first step to reclaiming your courage.

Unfortunately, many women misinterpret these moments and respond in defeating ways when the correct choice would be to declare their courage. Preferring to tiptoe through these situations they may believe these types of issues are “part of the job,” or they may feel that in some way they deserved the unfair treatment. They become the martyr in order to keep the peace or maintain the status quo, which ultimately stifles their courage further.

If you have difficulty recognizing the defining moments in your own workday, ask yourself which events make you upset, angry, uncomfortable, embarrassed, or cause you to acquiesce. Chances are those are the times you will want to display your newfound courage.

Facing the ultimate truth
When you determine a defining moment is occurring, you can “step up” and take control. By doing so, you’ll be able to face the truth of the situation and do something about it, whether that means confronting a supervisor or rectifying a situation with a customer. If you don’t take the appropriate actions, you’re holding yourself back from achieving your professional best.

One sure way to take control of your future is to begin searching for a new opportunity especially if your current position doesn’t correspond to your principles. All too often, women assume that finding a new job will be difficult, so they remain complacent, mistakenly believing—or simply hoping—that things will change. Yet, in reality, situations seldom change by themselves. They only change when you take the initiative to make the situation better. To show courage, decide when it’s time to face the truth or prompt a change, and then be eager to discover the next opportunity, and step up.

Holding yourself accountable
Courageous women are 100 percent responsible for how they design their lives. This includes taking credit for accomplishments when merited. When receiving a promotion or a pay raise, women have a tendency to say, “Oh, thank you for this opportunity.” This is not courage. A truly courageous woman responds to the promotion or initiates a pay raise by stating the qualities and strengths they bring to the table and describing how they intend to use those talents to better the company’s results or the project at hand. 
Overcoming limitations by changing your “courageous will”
Finally, women everywhere can foster courage by gaining control over the blueprint that governs their belief system. Being “lady-like” is one societal perception deeply imbedded in the psyche of our culture. The woman is focused on others and is reserved, supportive, considerate, and compliant. Such limited aspirations paralyze women and cause them to flounder about in the traditional deep-rooted definition of courage: being physical, daring, or representing valor. A woman’s desire to be “accepted” can undermine her personal demonstrations of feminine courage.

How can you change your courageous will? Look for female role models that display workday courage. Role models are imprints for change; they light the path. As more women recognize and subscribe to the behaviors of courage, such notions will no longer be deemed unusual. Other women will be encouraged to display their courage, and their collective behaviors will ease or even erase the idea that “by nature, women are not courageous.” When women work together to advance courage in the workplace, they find the strength and determination to hurdle the daily workday challenges that confront them. Eventually, the unsung stories of courage and the current denigrating of courageous women will be replaced by an acceptance and admiration of courage in women just as it is in men.

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