COURAGE is a value that is acquired over an extended period of time; the courage to lean into your fears and confront them; the courage to believe in a positive outcome amidst uncertainty; the courage to channel our mind, body and soul to overcome our doubts.
Throughout my career, I was always puzzled by the reason why some people got the corner office, and some didn’t. Why promotions sometimes went to the most qualified person and sometimes didn’t. Why some people seemed to have “all the luck” and others didn’t.
Over the past decade, I became a management scientist of sorts, looking into this issue. There were a few obvious findings and a few big surprises. The obvious things had to do with relationships, influence, leadership attributes and emotional intelligence. The surprises were just that—big surprises. Many people whose career fell short or didn’t receive the proper recognition lacked one mighty trait:COURAGE.
So, what does courage really mean in the context of your career? How is courage defined? COURAGE is the ability to seize opportunity and take bold action in the face of fear, uncertainty, doubt, difficulty, and/or danger. I call that last part FUD!
I discovered that many of these people were not overlooked; they simply did not seize their moment. I unearthed instances where individuals had brilliant solutions to complex challenges but failed to take the bold action and present their idea. Underneath their epidermis layer was an overwhelming fear of failure, uncertainty about the outcome and general self-doubt.
Just like running a marathon – no one just wakes up and runs 26.2 miles – you run a 5k, then a 10k, then a 10-miler, then a half-marathon and then the coveted marathon – you build your conditioning just like your courage over an extended period of time. Or maybe sometimes you just need to commit based on the strength you have built up, let’s say like completing a a Tough Mudder with your workout friends, and crawling through mud with bobbed wire, over ten-foot obstacles and into cold ice buckets – sure you work out but nothing really prepared you for this except your COURAGE.
COURAGE can be developed, and like a marathon can be conquered. After all, it is simply the decision to take a bold action, even though it may be frightening. To truly have the career and life you deserve, you must challenge yourself and to step out on a limb from time to time, face doubt, and have the COURAGE to FAIL. But somehow along our life’s journey, we let this FUD I talked about seep into our pathway and hold us back from the possibilities and even from seizing our moment. Have faith in yourself and your abilities to overcome fear, uncertainty, and doubt. I know I have faith in you, just because you are taking the time to read this and make yourself better!