Richard Rierson Blog Post, Leadership, Personal Growth 7 Comments

When I think of the concept of courage I’m often drawn towards those larger than life, uncommon examples of valor that are held in reverence and awe.

For example, Medal of Honor recipient Sgt John Basilone on Guadalcanal repelling 3,000 Japanese for three days and nights without sleep, rest, or food; or Neil Armstrong taking control away from the computer and manually flying the Lunar Module to a safer landing spot on the moon with only 40 seconds of fuel to spare.

It’s easy to understand courage in this context; these “life and death” type scenarios.  But what about courage in the “everyday” that we are required to exhibit?

I think most of us equate courage as fearless acts of valor that are reserved for larger-than-life scenarios.  It’s easy to look at these type of fearless acts and wonder if we have what it takes to exhibit courage; and therefore be a leader.

It’s important to note, however, that exhibiting courage does not mean that one acts without fear. In fact fear is actually a requirement of courage.  Courage is the act of being scared to death and doing what’s required anyway.  One of my favorite quotes comes from World War I Ace Eddie Rickenbacker where he said, “Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do.  There can be no courage unless you’re scared.”

In this context, every day we are faced with courageous choices and acts.  Every time you act upon your gut instincts; every time you listen and follow your heart; every time you choose to do the right thing; you’re exhibiting courage.

It takes everyday acts of courage to deal with your life situations, love, family and work.

Maybe you’re required to step forward, make a fool of yourself, and lead your team in the Birthday Song for one of your employees.

Maybe you need to tell your kid no about going to the “party of the year” where all of her friends will be going.

Maybe you’re the father, who for the first time ever, decides to lead his family in grace over the evening meal.

All of these acts require courage.  I realize that they’re not “life-and-death” type scenarios, yet there is still an element of fear involved in each.  Regardless of the fear level, it’s  just as important that we put aside the fear and do the right thing.

Don’t discount the everyday acts of courage that are required in our lives.

You need courage to hold your family together when they seem to be falling apart.

You need to have courage to not lose heart when met with failure.

You need courage to be a leader.

Comments 7

  1. Mark Brody

    Richard – Great article with great examples! People overlook the little things that make a big difference each day. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Post
  2. Michael L.Houseal

    I have no idea who said this first, but I embrace it: “Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the conviction that there is something more important than fear.” I think it’s expressed well, in different words, by lots of people who know that they do not want to be driven by fear, because fear comes from the enemy. — MLH

    1. Post
  3. Santiago Moran

    These are excellent podcasts! I have already shared your page on facebook and such, and i’ll try to bring it up in conversation topics with my friends in college as well, because sometimes they seem at lost for and your podcasts are just full of advice. Thank you for making these, I’ve already learned a lot myself, by listening to a couple of these. Keep the great work up!

  4. Nigel Priseman

    Thanks for the read. I agree Leaders do need ‘courage’ and I do not see this enough. Too many managers look to blame others when the team is not performing well instead of looking at themselves. A leader is someone who is ‘afraid’ to make those hard decisions but makes it as it’s the right ethical decision to make. For example, looking at ‘why’ an employee is under performing and going that extra mile to empower that individual to improve instead of wasting negative energy to look at ways of blaming that individual or complaining due to a lack of resources. A leader knows that some decisions will lead to work that is hard and tough going but in the long term will prove its worth it

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *