Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.
The notion of courage is often associated with outstanding acts of bravery and valour- such as risking ones life to save another or a daring high risk act such as a high profile whistle blowing that exposes corruption in an organisation.
Leading psychologist, Robert BiswasDiener, suggests that we have been misled into believing that courage is performed by a minority of individuals who demonstrate amazing feats of bravery. He asks us to look at courage differently and acknowledge examples of everyday, real personal courage;such as the entrepreneur starting up a business in a recession, or the passenger with a fear of flying boarding a plane anyway. At work it could look like a graduate overcoming nerves to present to senior managers or an employee challenging a peer on inappropriate behaviour or conduct.
Our tool Strengthscope® measures 24 work based strengths and the extent to whether courage is an underlying quality that energises you and if it is one of your significant 7 strengths.
If courage is one of your significant strengths its likely that you prefer to take on challenges and face risks by standing up for what you believein often in spite of authority or the status quo presiding. You are probably able to withstand personal risk, pressure and difficult circumstances and you take tough stands based on your convictions, even if they are unpopular.
Here’s what it might look like in a workplace setting:
“I enjoy speaking up and challenging current practices that are no longer fit for purpose.. I enjoy the balance of risk and standing up for what I believe is a better alternative option”
“Working in A & E cannot help but change your outlook in life.
You can choose to either live your life in fear… worry about what’s going to happen today… or you just carry on doing the things you love (in spite of these fears) because that’s what makes you human..”
Brene Brown, a leading social science researcher on courage and vulnerability, defines courage as the act of recognising the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences both good and bad. She defines “ordinary courage” as an act of speaking from our heart. In her words “ Ordinary courage is about putting our vulnerability on the line”
So if courage is a strength that energises you, and one that you think would sit in your significant seven, here are some ways to reflect on it, strengthen it and use it more effectively.
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