Last week, a client was describing a current work situation. Tempers were flaring, feelings were hurt, and issues needed to be escalated. My client was in the middle of it – trying to get information, share information, calm down some people, and reassure others. She felt like she was failing all around. I, however, had a different perspective.
“You are courageous,” I said. “You are choosing to say Yes to staying in this, to continuing these tough conversations, and to doing it all from your value of serving others. You’ve got courage.”
My client had never thought of her actions that way. She just thought she was doing what she was supposed to, trying her best, and feeling like she was letting everyone down.
I see courage as the strength to venture, to persevere, to take a stand in a difficult or unknown situation. And the truth is that I see courage in the people all around me every day. Here are just a few examples of the professional and personal courage I've seen lately:
My client who is stepping up to take on a global leadership role that she is excited for, and doesn’t quite feel 100% prepared for (yet)
The coaching group participants I am working with who are prepping for interviews, now that their company has re-organized and is requiring everyone to re-interview to work there
My client who left an unhealthy marriage to create a safe and happy life for her children
My family member who will be donating stem cells to a stranger with leukemia
All leaders who say yes to leading in a VUCA world, with so many unknowns and expectations
The reason it’s important to re-frame our behaviors and actions as courageous is that it gives us the opportunity to start re-writing our personal narratives. Instead of having a narrative about not knowing what we’re doing or not being clear on where we’re going, we get the opportunity to see ourselves as courageous. We get to be proud of ourselves for trying, trusting, and taking a leap. This matters because the story we create and perpetuate about ourselves – both to ourselves and others – becomes our reality. It affects how we show up in relationships, how we think, and what we achieve.
So, where do you want to give yourself credit right now in your life for being courageous?
As songwriter Sara Bareilles sings, Show me how big your brave is ...
Photo taken by my daughter as potential artwork for my soon-to-be-launched podcast (talk about courage...)
In the next few months, I'm excited to be speaking to organizations and universities about Setting Boundaries; Gratitude; Emerging Leaders; and Using Your Brain for Calm, Clear Leadership. You can find more information about hiring me to present to your organization here.
Contact me for a complimentary 30-minute phone strategy session to talk about what's really holding you back, and what increased success would look like. Then we can chart a plan to get from here to there.