cour·age [kur-ij, kuhr-]
1. The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. (dictionary.com)
What comes to mind when you think about these courageous acts:
- Speaking in public
- Bungee jumping from a bridge
- Skydiving from a plane
- Wearing a bathing suit in public
- Confronting a friend
- Confronting a liar
- Confronting a lying friend, who happens to be your boss
Do you find yourself energized by the thought of having to perform these activities, or do you shutter with fear?
But what happens when you lack courage as a leader? In certain areas of leadership:
- Are you a scared by things that make you uncomfortable?
- Do you avoid things out of fear?
- Are you someone who frightens easy when it comes to some specific topic or endeavor?
Many young leaders and seasoned leaders alike find themselves in situations where they lack courage in doing something that their job or positions require. This could be reprimanding an employee, having to speak in front of a large group of people, having to prepare an employee review, or having to deal with uncomfortable or confrontational situations.
And with this fear or lack of courage for facing the uncomfortable task, negative things can come into play in the leaders behaviors. Inaction, poor decision-making, awkwardness, missteps, and worse can negatively impact you, your relationships, and your level of influence in future engagements.
Your Magic Wand
Fortunately, there is a way to overcome a lack of leadership courage. It works like a magic wand, but you have to add your own dose of magic dust to make your magic wand work properly for you.
Identify and isolate your enemy.
Your enemy is fear. Google how to overcome fear and pick the formula that works for you.
Look at the scary task objectively.
The task is rarely too large to overcome. Study the components that make up the task at hand. Write them in a list.
Make a plan for accomplishing each task as a separate action.
This is like learning to play a musical instrument. Learn the notes first, then start assembling the notes into a simple tune. This means you need to study the steps to take on your objective and overcome them in your mind as single steps.
Practice your steps in your mind and imagine accomplishing each step.
Repeat this until you have memorized what success looks like. Practice like it was your daily piano, sax, or Guitar Hero lessons until you have assembles your little symphony of success in your mind.
Rehearse a scrimmage.
Set up mini-versions of what was your “big scary thing” and do a live run-through in “a safe environment” without keeping score. Do this until you get your butterflies to fly in formation.
Wave your magic wand and get up on stage and win.
Keep score now if you want to. Do this because there is VERY GOOD chance that you will come out a winner. If you fall flat, get up and brush it off. You get double points for that. And the more double points you get, the quicker you win on bigger stages.
Winning is Fun
When you break down your fears into understandable and digestible components, you can easy conquer them. Accomplishing tasks on your own with diligence, perseverance, and enough practice produces confidence and real self-esteem.
When you have confidence and self-esteem from conquering those nasty gremlins in your life, you begin to thirst for more adventures in slaying those dragons of fear, cowardice, and frailty that live in the castles of doom inside your head.
When your fear goes down, your results go up. It is the winning formula!
So what have you been plagued with that stunts your growth and efficacy in leadership realms? What is captivating your mind and overflowing your fear cup so much that you just can’t seem to get beyond it? What steps can you take to confront your fear and gain the courage you need to succeed in your role as a leader? I would love to hear of your challenges and successes!
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