Courage is a multifaceted word, making its definition challenging. For some, courage is taking action to mitigate a change of being, doing, and relating; for others, courage is an honourable commendation. As an honourable commendation, courage depends on our definition of what is moral and what is not; for people like Ernest Hemingway, courage refers to grace under pressure. Even with the many understandings of courage, the ten elements of courage (Sonnenberg, n.d.) bring the concept to life. Some of these elements include self-confidence, compassion, strength in adversity, facing the unknown, conviction, and leadership. Being true to my values means I choose courage every time.
This week, I observed my clients choose courage every time. Below, I have provided some examples of the varied courageous actions taken by my clients.
Client One stepped up and into a meeting for which she was unprepared. Client One relied on her expertise and awareness of the personalities sitting at the table to provide an impressive presentation of ideas.
Client Two prepared himself to have a courageous conversation with his employer. In his workplace, the opportunity to be heard as an employee is a tokenistic act. Feedback is desired, but when it is given, nothing is done or changed. Client Two stood firm on two principles that enabled him not only to help himself but to also support his team members.
As a migrant, Client Three has struggled to get on a corporate board. With courage in hand together with a well-prepared board resume, my client took herself to several planned meetings to explore opportunities for 2024. It was not easy, but she was courageous enough to make the meetings and follow through with a pitch targeted at specific organisations.
In preparation for the process, I invited my clients to create a ‘courage ladder’. This gave them the framework to work through situations that focused on taking courageous steps. See the framework below.
- Using an image of a ladder, I invited my clients to think about a scenario requiring lots of courage.
- As a starting point, the lowest rung should have an action written alongside it that takes a little courage and is easy to do.
- As you move up the ladder rungs, add the appropriate action required. You will find that the most overwhelming action to be taken sits at the top of the ladder on the last rung.
The idea of a courage ladder is to help develop confidence and competence by capturing early wins in difficult situations and using the wins as leverage to face the challenges ahead.
Now that you have a framework to use, I urge you to choose courage every time!