John Wayne had it right when he said, “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.” The question for leaders today is “Do you know when fear has taken over your body and that you are now reacting vs. responding?” Are you aware that your fear has given way to anger and that everyone in the room feels your rage, but you? Do you have the humility to see this in yourself and the courage to grow through it?
This month, we have been focused on increasing our Emotional Intelligence starting with self-awareness. Today is the last day for the 300 people who signed up for the EQ assessment to complete it and I can’t wait to see the results. What I am most excited about is the practicality of taking your leadership to the next level.
One of my favorite words and character traits is COURAGE. Courage only comes to those who have a high EQ for you must feel the fear (self-awareness) and then manage it (self-regulation) effectively so emotion does not hijack your logical brain.
Courage is about truly experiencing fear and having the strength, self-discipline, will, faith, and character to move through it to the breakthrough. I wrote about it in my book Clarity: Focusing on What Matters and thought on this Thanksgiving week, I’d express my gratitude to you faithful blog readers by sharing this chapter with you.
Clarity: WEEK 37
John Wayne had it right when he said, “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.”
Do you think of yourself as courageous? To show courage you must be in tune with your core values, understand your own fears and desires, committed to your integrity, and tenacious in your ability to live it all in the face of opposition.
Courage is not fearlessness. Courage is actually about being quite clear on what you fear and pressing through it to the other side. It’s not risk taking. It’s not strategic decision-making. It’s about following your heart, analyzing facts, and believing that your integrity is what matters in the end. Courage is about leading the vision when the rest of the world wants to watch CNN for hints on their next move.
Courage is about daily choices.
It is doing the right thing especially when it makes you vulnerable to disapproval or public misunderstanding. Courage is about admitting you’re wrong, taking responsibility, and owning the fallout of your choices.
Courage is becoming a lost art in leadership.
Without self-awareness and a keen understanding of our fears and desires, we will likely give in to our narcissism and self-delusion. For example, a CEO who is clueless to his underlying fear of rejection may dominate and rule others from a place of arrogance and self-protection.
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” — Winston Churchill
Such an attitude likely creates a reality in which no one trusts or respects this leader; they instead simply give lip service to get what they want.
I see good leaders firsthand get so busy and stressed out, they forget what they fear. They don’t realize every decision they are rapidly making is a reaction to guard them from that fear. Then, as if no one can see through them, they cover up their actions so they don’t have to face their fear. Not only is it ridiculous; it is being cowardly. You are more than that!
What is one area you know you need to face head-on with courage?
Listen to your coach. You have what it takes. Face your fears, take courage and saddle up.