Maybe you are wondering what you might read that you don’t already know. Maybe you are interested because you are demonstrating courage in an aspect of your life at this moment. Perhaps you want to be courageous with a direction you want to take but you do not know how to start.
Imagine if you will, you being courageous. “The original definition of ‘courage’ is from the Latin word ‘cor,’ meaning ‘heart.’ The earliest definition was to show you are who you are by telling your storey with your whole heart.
- Would you agree that being self-awareness requires you to show courage?
- Would you also agree that being self-aware and being authentically who you are also shows you courage and taps into your inner power?
What is it that keeps you from being courageous? You sometimes hold back from taking the courageous path because of fear.
- Where in your life do you need to be courageous in speaking your truth?
- Are there storms in your business, work or personal life that need to be anchored?
- Do you have the courage to follow your intuition?
- Do you have the courage to be adaptable and to let your creativity shine?
The key figure who made the Apollo rescue possible was Eugene Kranz, the flight director of the Apollo 13 mission. On that mission the crew were faced with consuming all their oxygen and power before they were near to earth. Even if they survived until then, they would have had no way of controlling the fiery plunge of the capsule. Despite all the problem, Eugene Kranz engineered a safe return for the astronauts.
Leading yourself and your business requires courage. Yet you may not be achieving your full potential because of fear.
“Our Deepest Fear – is not that we are inadequate… Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
- A Return To Love’ (1992) by Marianne Williamson quoted by Nelson Mandela in his inaugural speech
You are more likely to demonstrate your courage if you are able to control fear. Oftentimes fear is misunderstood. Fear is important in signalling to you that an issue is important. Yet if you become paralyse by fear, you procrastinate and take no action. Unchecked fear then becomes disabling because excessive fear closes down your solar plexus, which is a close network of nerves with connecting tissue at the bottom of your rib cage. The solar plexus if sometimes referred to as the sun of the body so if your sun is closed down, you will not shine.
The first step in your journey to leadership starts with courage. The voice of your experience can be a catalyst and inspiration to others. I teach my public speaking coachees the value of stories.
I have illustrated the courage of Eugene Kranz and I have presented questions for you to reflect upon your acts of courage. I encourage you to use your stories to ilustrate leading with courage and in so doing focus on:
Control your fears and have compassion for yourself and for others. Control of your fears often leads you to do what is right. Courage, compassion and wisdom are closely related. In regard to courage, wisdom is like food to you when you are starving. When you know that you are going in the right direction, you are able to face every obstacle with supreme confidence that your difficulties can be overcome.
Another story that exemplifies courage relates to Malala Yousafzai. She was shot in the head on a school bus by Taliban gunmen October 2012 because of her campaign for girls’ rights to education. Malala has been credited with bringing the issue of women’s education to global attention. A quarter of young women around the world have not completed primary school. Speaking on her 16th birthday July 2013, Malala, was wearing a pink shawl that belonged to assassinated Pakistan leader Benazir Bhutto. Malala is considered to be a contender for the Nobel Peace Prize – Malala said efforts to silence her had failed. In her courageous address to the United Nations said: “I am here to speak up for the right of education of every child”
Nation Malala received several standing ovation during her address on Friday 12 July 2013 to the United Nation (UN). Malala told the UN on that the Taliban’s attack had only made her more resolute. She said articulated – “The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life, except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.”
She uttered: “I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all the terrorists and extremists… The extremists were, and they are, afraid of books and pens… They are afraid of women. I am fighting for the rights of women because “they are the ones who suffer the most”.
Leading with courage requires an overview of the whole situation, where are the calculated risk? What is your understanding of the issues? How resilient are you? When did you shine with your resilience? What are the valuable lessons from your setbacks? How accountable are you? Responsibility is your belief that you are in charge of your own actions. What are the global and universal stories that are akin to your story? How engaged and connected are you?
In bringing the Apollo 13 Astronauts safely back to earth, Kranz’s courage was not a product of blind faith, it was the personification of trained confidence. He knew that he had a good team in place and he believed with his whole heart that the solutions could be found. He reminded his staff that “once you think of surrendering… That is the path that you will take. As soon as you have start to think that way, you have lost… the mental sharpness, the mental edge that is going to take the survival situation and take it to a successful conclusion.”