Courage Has Different Avatars
March 9, 2020
Everyone admires courage as a personal attribute. We all want to be seen as courageous- worthy of respect. Yet, many of us struggle with this, particularly in work settings.
There is no substitute for leaning in and doing what is required.
With the benefit of hindsight, I have experienced 5 different situations where I have had to exercise my courage muscles.
Experiencing fear yet going ahead and doing something:
In meetings, forums, etc I had a tendency to slink into the shadows worried that I may be judged as being incompetent or inadequate. It was just a figment of my imagination driven by fear. Even though I was physically uncomfortable, I would take the effort to speak up and express myself. The more I did this, the more comfortable I became.
Following what my heart says:
Let me get more information, more data to decide. Many times cold logic is inadequate. I have had to take that leap of faith, trusting what my heart was saying, more than what my mind was saying. Moving from a Bank into the Fintech domain was all about this.
Standing up for my core values:
There was a situation where I was asked to cut costs in my department by cutting a few Headcount. I refused and instead offered to resign(because it would deliver a much bigger cost save). I was clear I would not make someone redundant just because I had the power to do it. Eventually, my position was vindicated. The conviction in the righteousness of my values gave me the courage to fight this battle.
Letting go of the familiar:
Taking on new challenges despite not having any relevant background or experience, knowing that I had to start from scratch. Every time I moved out of an established role to take on a new challenge, I was pushing myself to get comfortable with the unfamiliar.
Facing failure with dignity:
There was a big mistake I committed resulting in a serious performance gap. I owned up and paid the consequence for the mistake, knowing that was the honorable and the most dignified thing to do. Taking accountability and facing the consequence with fortitude and grace was for me an act of courage.
There is no courage in the comfort zone and there is no comfort in the courage zone. We just have to become comfortable being uncomfortable, being courageous.