"Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it" Nelson Mandela
Ever wish you were a little more courageous?
Working with and researching great and aspiring entrepreneurs it seems courage is a characteristic they share.
They have courage and the chutzpah to act on that courage!
Courage can be defined as “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger or pain without fear.” Entrepreneurs and great leaders come across as fearless but usually their is fear but they jump in anyway.
#Anita Roddick, the late founder of #The Body Shop, was a courageous leader who took the company against the direction of all the other skin and hair care companies at the time in the mid 70’s. Then she challenged the 80’s business model of greed with the idea companies could have profits with principles.
Gary Hamel, author of #Leading the Revolution said of Anita "She is absolutely an outsider... she is filled with vitriol around the traditional practices of the cosmetic's industry. I have always believed that industries don't get reinvented by profits, but they get reinvented by heretics. People who can see the dogma, see the orthodoxy, ask why and then turn those things upside down."
Courage is about going into something knowing it might fail but believing in something with such a passion it doesn’t matter because you tried it anyway. Friend and entrepreneur #Samantha Jockel has courage in spades. I have watched her go from idea to idea, strenght to strength. Not all of her ideas have worked, but some have. She never stopped being courageous. I suspect all she has learned on her entrepreneurial journey is about to pay off in her latest venture #ParentTV.
Similarly #Jo Palmer from #Pointer Remote Roles has courage. She doesn’t sit on ideas. When she has a good idea she makes things happen. Famously - immediately after a BBQ conversation. Her experience in business means she understands you need to be courageous consistently because creating a good business also takes persistence and patience.
Many of us have a business inside us, a book we want to write (yes I am still writing my book on Anita!), opinions we’re too nervous to share, opportunities we'd like to pursue and things we'd love change... but sometimes we might lack to courage to act.
As humans we don’t like confrontation, change, being wrong or causing discomfort. We tend to focus on what might go wrong and underestimate our ability to succeed (particularly women!).
No one is born courageous - Or everyone is born courageous – we just get it knocked out of us when we are kids and are told to stop taking risks.
However courage is like a muscle - it can be learned and strengthened with practice.
So how do you become more courageous? Start by looking at what might be holding you back from being brave:
- Why don’t you want to step out of your comfort zone?
Most people suffer more from their imagination, their fear than from reality. What’s the worst thing that can happen? If you confront your fears you dilute their power and amplify your own.
So start by acknowledging what you're afraid of, consider the worst case scenario take a big deep breath and do it anyway.
- Do you need courage to say yes – or to say no?
People are not mind readers and some people do not have an imagination to figure out what you want from them. If you don’t ask – the answer will always be no. If you don’t say no – you will continue to be asked!
- Will your decision to be brave impact on others?
Sometimes our courage hides behind what others may think of us. Being courageous requires a tough skin when faced with criticism. We live in a noisy, self-interested world. You might be surprised to learn people are not that vested in what we are doing. Your boldness can inspire others.
Practice courage every day in 3 ways
- Have to courage to speak-up and speak out on what you believe in – your opinion matters
- Be courageous by letting others help you
- Next time you stop yourself from taking a risk – take a deep breath and do it anyway.
Courage takes practice and heart.
“The longest journey you will ever take is the 18 inches from your head to your heart.” (Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh).