Updated: Nov 9
It’s when fear runs high that the need for courage runs higher.
Ground Yourself in Self-Certainty
In a world of constant change and uncertainty, being certain about the unchanging values you will operate from makes all the difference. As researchers at Stanford University found, people who operate with attitude-certainty remain more confident under pressure and less susceptible to self-doubt. Committing to the values you want to embody… integrity, contribution, empathy, service, community… acts like a compass when life’s pressure mount, compelling you to exit your comfort zone when your fear urges otherwise.
Conversely, unless you put a stake in the ground and commit to the kind of person and leader you want to be, the path of least resistance will likely win out, keeping you from stepping up to the plate in the moments that matter most.
Who do you want to ‘be’ – in your work, leadership and life?
Every day we play it safe and continue with the status quo is a day we aren’t learning, growing and, quite possibly, are sliding slowly backward in a world marching steadily forward. What does not playing safe look like? Only you can know that. For instance, it may be deciding to:
Extend an invitation and risk rejection.
Start something before you feel 100% ready
Say no to an invitation/offer and risk disappointing
Push back on the consensus and risk ruffling feathers
Make a change… and step into a less certain future
Might some people try to talk you out of it? Of course. Many are well practiced at turning forecasts into ‘fearcasts.’ It may pay to hear them out. Perhaps there are legitimate risks you haven’t considered. But counter your ‘risk aversion bias’ by asking:
What do you put at risk by not taking the chance?
Set a Goal Worthy Worthy of Failure
People often ask ‘What would you do if you weren’t afraid of failing?’ The better question:
‘What goal is so worthy of pursuing that even if you failed, you would never regret having tried?’
So just imagine the future you could create if you decided to choose courage over comfort, purpose over pride, and service to others over safety? And if you’re in a leadership role, imagine what your team/organization could do if you created a ‘culture of courage’?
Oh, the possibilities!
Peripheral risk-taking protects the core. In business, leadership, and life.
It’s why the greater danger is not that you are too courageous and fall short of the mark. It is that you are too timid and fail by default.
Life expands in proportion to your courage.
Go on, go in for the person you aspire to become.