Find your courage

There’s a big difference between seeing what could be different and doing something about it. Speaking up and changing the conversation.

Where we find our courage has a significant part to play. And it will be different for each of us.

I have been working on some key questions that might help us dig deeper to find the confidence and core we are looking for.

Try these for size and let me know how they land with you.

What frees you up to be braver?

Or to put it another way, what holds you back?

We know there are multiple types of intelligence – IQ and EQ are the most familiar – but it is also suggested that there are three centres of intelligence. Our innate ‘know-ers’ – the places where we know what we know…

  • Head or intellectual – where thinking is dominant
  • Heart or feeling – where emotions are dominant
  • Body or gut – where instincts are dominant

Why might knowing our centre of intelligence be important? Because these are our natural homing devices, and we can also over-rely on them. Especially if we are feeling insecure.

  • For head folk – analysis paralysis (that’s me…)
  • For heart folk – emotional overwhelm
  • For body folk – inertia from lack of movement

What will it take to be ok with being ‘present imperfect’?

Where do the narratives that we hear so often come from? Are they holding a line that says we are only acceptable if we are perfect?

This is a big one and it’s subtle. But we can’t start to deal with it unless we recognise it is there. And it is. All around us. All the time.

So having started to glimpse its hold, we can name it every time it appears.

Even more, we can practice celebrating imperfection. Not condoning stuff we don’t want to be doing, but appreciating that no-one is perfect and it is better to be truly present than to hide behind the vain veneer of pursuing perfection.

It helps to have people around you that are also walking in this direction. Celebrating being present imperfect in their own ways. It certainly takes the pressure off and you can laugh much more freely.

(Thanks guys, you know who you are!)

How do you know the difference between real and fake ambition?

We really do want to make a difference. To live up to our highest potential and change the conversation for good.

But it doesn’t work if we feed ourselves the line that it has to be BIG ALL THE TIME to be worth pursuing.

In fact, by setting ourselves global ambitions we are potentially hiding behind the knowledge that they are un-doable. The step change is too big. But we can’t be faulted for our courage… So we continue to dream about grandiose change to make the world a better place.

Dream on.

Actually, real courage comes from real ambition, that can be measured in small steps.

Start with two, not the whole world. It’s surprising how courage scales as we achieve actual improvements.

Everyone starts somewhere. Where are you starting?

What does failing forward look like?

No-one likes to fail. But failing is a crucial part of learning, of growing and strengthening our change muscles.

Avoiding failure is a fool’s game. And quiet disruptors are not fools.

It’s facing our fear and doing it anyway.

It’s embracing our vulnerability and knowing that it is actually our strongest shield.

It’s relishing the learning that comes from leaning into curiosity and experimentation.

And the thing about leaning in – rather than away from – means that you are facing the right direction to get up, dust yourself down, and start again. Because you have actually moved forward in the process. On your knees maybe, but it’s not backward.

How about starting a grateful failure journal?

How can we face up to intimidation?

It happens all the time.

Someone says or does something, and we feel that we have to compete. That may not have been their intention, but we all like to feel secure and project all sorts of things that say we’re OK because we are better than…

The ‘better than’ is intimidation. It suggests that we don’t have the right to do or say things. Even to breathe sometimes.

But it is false. Not false in terms of comparative expertise or capability – we can’t all be Nobel Prize winners – but of the way it closes us down.

Intimidation stops us carrying out our best intentions. It evokes feels of fear and shame, which are paralysing.

So what can we do?

Simple: we can remember that ‘we’re all just people’ when we are tempted to back off just because we feel intimidated by someone’s role or title or way of being.

Of course, it takes practice…

And that’s the thing. It’s all about practice, strengthening our courage muscles so that we can play our part in making the world a better place. In changing the conversation for good.

Let me know how you get on and if you have other insights about how we can find our courage.

Thanks for reading


This week

The thread of courage has woven its way through the posts this week – not intentionally – it just emerged. I hope they have blessed you as much as they have fed me in writing them.