Courage – What is it and how can it be applied in business?
In this article I will show you the steps you can take to build your own courage and apply it in a business setting.
Courage is the “ability to do something that frightens one and the strength in the face of pain or grief.” – Oxford dictionary
How many times can you relate to moments in your life where you felt fearful, scared, lost and even defeated? This is not uncommon and even the bravest lack courage when they are faced with adversity.
Courage is a quality of spirit and conduct. It permits you to face extreme danger or take action in difficult situations without fear.
Courage is “that rare moment of unity between conscience, fear, and action, when something deep within us strikes the flint of love, of honour, of duty, to make the spark that fires our resolve.” – John McCain
“This definition conjures up an image of the lone hero who—instinctively, spontaneously, and against all odds—suddenly takes charge and stands up for virtue.” – Reardon HBR 2007
To get a deeper understanding of what courage is, let’s take a look at the six psychological attributes of courage.
- Feeling fear yet choosing to act
- Following your Heart
- Preserving in the Face of Adversity
- Standing up for what is right
- Expanding your horizons; letting go of the familiar
- Facing suffering with Dignity and Faith
Each of us possesses these attributes in some way and we can all show courage in different ways, physically and mentally.
When you think of courage do you instinctively think of someone showing physical courage?
You are not alone, too often people neglect to think about mental courage despite it often being far more applicable to our day to day lives. Examples of amazing people who have shown great courage in a non-physical way include;
- Nelson Mandela speaking out against injustice despite the serious risks to himself
- Steve Jobs taking massive financial risks to follow his dreams and innovate
- Saint Mary MacKillop who stood up for what was right no matter the repercussions.
These are our modern-day knights who demonstrate courage daily.
You to share these attributes, becoming aware of them will allow you to become more courageous and make better decisions in your business when dealing with adversity or difficult decisions.
So how does this apply in a business setting?
In business, we notice courage when looking at decisions made when there are risks involved.
Courageous leaders know how to make bold decisions when needed and it’s almost always after serious deliberation and preparation. This is something that most leaders practise and improve upon over time, if you aren’t there yet, that’s okay.
I am going to take you through a simple and effective six-step process that I use to develop courage in my clients and get them making better decisions so they can flourish and grow.
While simple the process will take time and practise. Remember, this is about being measured and calculated, it’s about minimising rash and unproductive decisions based on irrational behaviour or emotion, which is sometimes seen in inexperienced leaders.
Six steps to develop business courage and give you the edge in decision making;
- Setting Goals
- Determine the Importance of achievement
- Tip the power balance in your favour
- Understanding the risk and reward
- Setting time for action and timing
- Contingency plans
When discussing courage it’s important to touch on persistence and fear. Being courageous isn’t easy, often you will face difficulty and hardship. Be persistent and keep going with your plan to reap the rewards. I would not be in the place I am today if I had not persevered through the challenges I have faced in my personal and professional life.
This perseverance allowed me to build resilience and courage and become a better decision-maker. It’s important to note that this does not make me fearless, in fact, fear is an important component of courage. Not having fear can have negative impacts on your decision making, pushing you to make poor decisions and take uncalculated risks.
Individuals are more likely to cope in a difficult situation and make sound decisions if they’ve had a previous experience that makes them believe they are capable.
This reinforces the importance of taking action and building resilience so we are strong and more courageous, ready for the next challenge and opportunity.
When you are working in your business it can be difficult to step back and take a helicopter view of your business, in this situation be sure to get an outside perspective. This will enable you to make more courageous decisions armed with the best information, you will come out the other side in the most efficient and rewarding way.
I hope this content helps you in your business journey, I would love to hear your feedback and progress in the comments.
As always live with purpose,