Find Your Courage
There’s no doubt that courage is one of the most important foundations for leadership growth. Without courage, you can’t overcome difficult challenges and succeed. It’s a requirement for facing your fears, doing things differently, and consistently applying any new habits that you’ll need to achieve your goals. That said, the fear of failing is a natural emotion — we all have it to some degree or another. But good leadership is not so much about facing your fears. It’s more about taking positive action in spite of your fears. Adopt this mindset into all your habits and practices, and you’ll accelerate growth and create opportunities. As you experience success, your confidence will grow and your fears simply won’t be so frightful anymore.
Here are a few ways I suggest finding your courage:
1. Act NOW. The most vital advice I can share with you around building courage is to take action against what you fear. For example, at the beginning of my career I had a fear of speaking in front of a group of people. In fact, I was terrified that I would make a fool out of myself. I suddenly found myself in a tough situation because I landed a job that required me to speak in front of groups. I did not have the time to try to overcome my fear because the job required me to start speaking to groups right away. So even though I was filled with fear, I got up in front of people and did the best I could. Over time, a stronger sense of self-confidence overpowered that fear, until finally the fear ceased to exist. Looking back at my career, I realized that having courage to do the things I feared was a powerful strategy to growth.
2. Build a plan to counter your fear. Sometimes working a fear over and over in your mind can make the problem larger than life. The more you think about it, the bigger it gets. So if there is an area of personal change that creates excessive fear and anxiety for you, commit to creating a specific plan of action for dealing with that particular problem. The simple discipline of creating this plan will develop courage and help mitigate fear because it will feel more tangible, contained, and even do-able versus something that’s forever growing out of control in your head. When it’s suddenly on paper and making sense, there’s usually less of the unknown, which helps to remove that fear. It becomes something you can manage.
3. Acknowledge when you succeed. Odds are, you’ve done a lot more right in your life than you’ve done wrong. But what’s more, you may be in the habit of taking your past success for granted — but don’t. Think about your personal success stories, skills you’ve tried to sharpen, goals you’ve set, or anything else that you’ve ever worked on in life and mastered. Noting what you’ve done well and also realizing how self-discipline likely played a role in helping you achieve whatever it was — this understanding is all you really need to feel more confident and empowered today. Use this success to inspire and drive your courage forward as you dedicate the time, energy and other resources you will need to become a more effective leader.
What other “tricks” have you used to master a particular fear?