I have received hundreds of performance reviews over my career. There is one that sticks in my mind. It wasn’t remarkable because of the content or the score. It was one simple sentence. “You are courageous.”
I have been called a lot of things in my life, but courageous? She meant that I was willing to take calculated risks. That I stood-up for what I thought was right, even if it was at a great personal cost.
Another boss from another career and another life once told me, “If you can’t explain it to your grandmother, you shouldn’t be doing it.”
I have learned courage from my heroes – men and women who stood strong against the slings and arrows. And, when given a chance, did not choose the more comfortable, morally ambiguous path.
There is a Stony Nation teaching that says in the face of a coming storm; most animals will try to outrun the weather. The buffalo turn headfirst into the storm, keep the herd together, and walk out the other side.
Courage allows you to build trust. It gives you license to lead. Why would anyone follow you if they don’t believe you have the courage to lead them through the storm?