What is Courage?
I realise blogging about courage is an act of courage in itself!
Mostly I think courage is when we do anything where we are the initiator of that action.
Courage can range from accepting fate through illness or injury, to doing something for the very first time – for children that might be tasting a new food (actually that would be the same for some adults I know too!).
Under such a definition the vast majority display courage every day.
So to display courage is not extraordinary, though as leaders we could do a lot better at recognising it and supporting it.
But then there are the courageous. These are the people who display courage on a daily basis – perhaps by the hour – “Big Kahunas” as I have had remarked to me recently :).
Within the ‘courageous’ there is also an important distinction to make. It would be easy to say courageous people are therefore leaders, but this is not always the case.
I know some great sportspeople and athletes, and when involved more heavily myself it was perhaps the more courageous ones I least wanted to be like. They lived in their own world and expected the world to laud over their achievements. For me they were self-centred and ungracious and generally far too egocentric at one level at yet often insecure at another. (As an aside it was interesting reading multi-sport legend Steve Gurney’s recent book – Lucky Legs – and the personal and soul searching journey he endured after ‘retiring’)
Courageous leadership requires you to be focussed, hungry and determined, no doubt about it. However it is always a team ‘sport’.
Without a team of developing leaders under a leader then it is odd to think they could consider themselves a ‘leader’. I wonder who comes to their parties and celebrates their success. I wonder if they even have success. Perhaps they are the only ones to believe their own press?
These are the un-courageous of our organisations. The ones who hide behind systems and procedures, who stall progress, suppress talent, blame others, and generally do all they can to protect the status quo as it concerns them.
May the truly courageous survive them, have the strength of self belief and the camaraderie of communities like this blog to know that right ‘is right’ and sharing your gift, your view, your energy is your calling.
Keep changing your world. This is a (the only?) way for courageous potential to get out and make that difference. Encourage others to be courageous and demonstrate true courageousness in leadership.
Courage is not enough, be exceptional.