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One of the most highly sought after and highly regarded attributes in our society is courage. It is something we are taught at a very young age through parental exhortations like, “Don’t be afraid,” and, “Be brave.” A friend of mine recently told me that she taught her five year old daughter the meaning of the word courage to help her earn the next belt in karate. Although we won’t ask you to memorize the definition of courage, we do want to highlight courage this month as one of the key attributes of leaders and businesses that succeed.

Many people experience fear and anxiety as a part of their daily lives. They are very common in both our personal and professional lives. We have all learned different coping mechanisms for fear and anxiety, but it all boils down to having courage —courage to keep going when you just fell flat on your face, courage to ask for a raise or a promotion, courage to share something painful with someone else, courage to trust, and courage to take risks.

Courage can reveal itself in all sorts of different ways. To be an effective leader, we must remember that every decision we make impacts others, regardless of whether it is in our communities, churches, athletic teams, or our workplace. Decisions at work usually impact us at three levels – individually, teams, and organizations. For example, if you have an opportunity to take on a huge project beyond the company’s current comfort zone, backing away because of fear will demoralize the person or people that saw the possibility, the team that could have stretched and grew in support of it and the organization’s future potential and growth. There is one thing we know for sure—not having courage and backing down at every opportunity outside of our comfort zone will result in unfulfilled potential. This lack of courage can wear out confidence and take us to the empty place of complacency.

Take a stand today to be courageous! You have skills and gifts. Please share the full potential of them. If you are good with kids, you should be serving in your community to help kids. If you are a good coach, you should be working in some capacity to coach others. Realtors often say, “Every no gets me closer to a yes”; this is courage to ask for the umpteenth time for the sale! Have courage and become what you have been designed to be.

In your organization, who shows the most courage? What do you feel about that person? Are they respected and rewarded? If not, they should be. What can you do to influence a culture of courage? Now, we are not encouraging you to take uncalculated risks within your company. Instead, we are encouraging you to embrace the vision of what is possible! See what has potential beyond your current comfort zone. People with courage are willing to “go where no man has gone before” and are not afraid to experience some setbacks to do so. If you are not the “forger of a new path” in your organization, be the person who supports courageous vision and leverage your talents alongside theirs to discover a new frontier. Courage is about believing for something beyond our comfort zone and embracing the talents of others and our own to take hold of that destiny.

Courage is a choice. The reward is greatness!

Worldwide Copyright TJ Associates, LLC Alane Taylor