To be more precise, it’s a decision we make every moment.
There are actually two kinds of courage: instinctive and deliberate. Instinctive actions are, well, instinctive….. like rescuing a child from a burning building or helping a disabled person who’s confronted by a mugger.
Deliberate courage, on the other hand, is an attitude or a frame of mind; it’s a way of being in the world where the intention behind our actions points in a singular direction—to our authenticity.
Yes, real courage is the willingness, the intention, the ambition of being authentic; of dropping pretense, ego and arrogance in favor of truth, transparency and transformation.
Deliberate courage is transformative. When we give ourselves permission to fully show up, we unwittingly give others permission to do the same. I recall an event not too long ago where I emceed a panel of Presidents and CEO’s of half a dozen local banks. All the participants were women.
The final question I asked them was, “To what do you attribute your ability to have succeeded in a male-dominated field?” Across the board, their response was some variation of: “I made the decision to be who I am and to stop trying to be anyone else. I didn’t want to work for any company who would want me any other way.”
So when we decide to be courageous, what we’re really deciding is to be ourselves; to be authentic, and to accept and embrace the parts of ourselves that are less perfect than, maybe, we’d like.
I find that to be a great relief, don’t you?
When was a time when you showed up authentically and the people around you were less than enthusiastic about that?
- How did you muster the courage to do that?
- When have you replicated that experience, taking the wisdom you gleaned and applying it to a new situation?
- How did that work out for you?