Courage has been on my mind a lot this week. Mainly because it’s forcing itself into my awareness in the form of a knot in the pit of my stomach that just doesn’t seem to want to be pacified with simply being noticed.
Do you know what I’m talking about? When you know something must be done, whether it’s that difficult conversation with your employee, or giving that sales presentation, or making a choice that could have consequences; you KNOW it’s got to happen, but you’re still looking for the out. Surely there must be some way (there’s always a way, right?) to get to the other side where you want to be, and still avoid the exposure part.
Well, what I am learning is that there is a way – but only one - and that’s through it. Because if we try to find another path, what we end up with is not landing on the other side, but somewhere else completely where we convince ourselves that this partial realization of the thing we want (that employee gone, that sale at full price, that more peaceful relationship) is good enough. And it is – until it’s not and the knot in our gut is back wrestling with the exact same problem.
That’s why I love this video from Brené Brown. Look, we’ve all succeeded in small arenas. Some have succeeded in large arenas. But there is one thing I know: There is nothing compared to staring that colosseum-sized arena in the face! It’s one thing to dream that one day you’ll stand in that arena. It’s one thing to know that you have what it takes to be in that arena. It is another thing entirely to actually step into that arena.
In leadership, we face the same critics that Brené talks about: Shame, Scarcity and Comparison. We sugar coat that conversation with the employee because we want to avoid that person slicing us up behind our back later. We downplay our capabilities in that sales presentation because we are afraid that if we’re too bold in our claims, we’ll lose the sale because they'll think we’re full of it. We tolerate rather than make that tough decision about our business partner because going it alone feels like being at a disadvantage, and strips us of someone to share the knot in the gut with.
But the knot will never go away until we have the courage to do what’s necessary, to do what’s of service and right, and for the right reasons. Stepping fully into courage and leadership is one of the scariest things we’ll ever do as leaders. But if we don’t do it, how can we expect our teams to? If we go ahead, have the courage and resiliency, and still fail, that’s ok. We will have had others follow us in who have our backs and will help us dust off and have another go at it.
With over 20 years of experience as a strategic consultant for global Leadership and Development initiatives with some of the world’s top Fortune 500 companies, Trish Cody has coached and consulted with senior level teams in planning, designing, launching, and measuring the return for major initiatives.
As a Certified Professional Coach and Energy Leadership Master Practitioner, Trish works with entrepreneurs, senior leaders and their teams to uncover their real desires for their organization, and then to align those desires with their values to co-create a strategy for execution and accountability. The leaders Trish partners with are truly working their own best plan for success in achieving their desired “new state” and weathering the changes that success brings.
To learn more about how Trish can help you and your team with one-on-one coaching, team coaching or speaking at your event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.