They say that life is designed to test you. I agree with that saying, and I specifically believe that those tests are designed to bring out the best in you. The arena of business and leadership are filled with tests that ask questions of us. They ask questions of who we are, what we believe in, and where is our direction.
Any current leader or business owner will be able to describe many events, conversations, failures, and successes that have formed the person that they have become. If you have read the preceding pillars in this series, you would be equipped with many resources now to be able to better handle these tests and challenges.
When I go into businesses and train teams, I always ask the question “describe to me what you believe to be excellent leadership behaviour”. The answers often include they listen and they lead by example. However, the most common answer I get is that the team feels that the leader has a conviction. They believe that the leader is willing to take the risks and make the decisions that need to be done. They see the leader acting with confidence and surety. They see a leader with behaviour that is summarised as courageous.
Through courage, a leader has the ability to maintain a state, character, and attitude which leads to success. Courage is the root of true confidence, creativity, and even compassion. When you have the courage to stand for who you are and what you believe in, then you are always on your journey to the best version of yourself. You are on your path to your greatest outcomes which is your destiny. And through that trait and feeling, you can attract the right team, business partners and opportunities to successfully grow your business and life.
Through courage, you achieve a state of heightened awareness to better decisions, intuitively. You will know when enough time has been spent on logic-ing. So you will be able to hit the apply button more effectively. Your decisions will flow more efficiently. And most importantly, you won’t be distracted by the “white noise” that comes from being in unresourceful states.
Now courage is the opposite of fear. I run workshops specifically on how to crush fear and instead come from a place of courage. Fear brings out every trait which results in a toxic and ineffective culture. Fear breeds failure. Now I’m not talking about logical fear that we all need. Right now there are bushfires raging across NSW and QLD. Should you be afraid of that fire if it’s close by, and should you run if you are in danger? Yes definitely. That is the fight or flight mechanism we need to survive.
However, this is not the fear that causes failure. I’m talking about the unrealistic and irrational fear that is often the result of unresourceful behaviour. As an example, a fear of not being popular. That can cause some leaders to become inept at making decisions. They don’t want to risk having to make tough choices. Another fear is one of being judged. Some business owners never take risks because they already presume that the risk will lead to a loss and then they will be judged by their family or friends as a failure. So they never take opportunities that could have propelled them to excellence. Another one is the fear of success. That’s right. I have clients that don’t take action because they believe the resultant success will lead to them becoming separated from their current community. They, therefore, sabotage their own success to stay average (in their mind).
Other fears which cause most business and personal failures include fear of failure, conflict, disappointing others, rejection, inadequacy, being sophisticated. Yes, that’s right, people fear seeming too smart!
Fear can lead to all the states a leader must avoid. It leads stress, anxiety, impatience, anger, hate, procrastination, ignorance, arrogance, gossiping, divisiveness, indecision and people-pleasing, If we consider some of the leaders which inspire us most, for me that includes Barak Obama, Richard Branson and Rupert Murdoch, we would see courage as one of their prominent traits.
Courage leads to one of the most attractive leadership traits. Calmness. That’s right. Calmness is a wonderful state to hold as a business owner and leader. It is a highly attractive trait that brings with it a sense of confidence, happiness, contentment, and certainty. Teams and opportunity flock towards those who are calm. When the shit hits the fan, which it does very often in business, are you the beacon to which the team turns to for answers? If yes, then you’re on the right track, if not, then you need to work on your courage.
Courageous communication is the foundation of successful leadership. And guess what, it can only come about when you have integrity, health, awareness, knowledge, heart-connection, creative strategy, and the willingness to make decisions. Yes, that is the previous seven pillars. Work on those, and you are on the right path to having courage.
And here’s a couple of extra bio-hacks you can add to your daily routines to enhance your courage;
1. Meditate and exercise outdoors often
2. Eat Healthy foods mostly
3. Don’t look at your phone for the first and last hour of every day
4. Before you sleep list what you are thankful for
5. Associate with positive, present and humour loving people only
6. Own your mistakes and failure and accept them as a great way to learn
7. Read, watch and listen to positive and motivating information
8. Embrace change and challenge
9. Discover your values and live in sync with them
10. Visualize your ideal life at least twice daily for at 5-10 minutes.
Perhaps sooner or later we may collectively include these 10 routines in our lives daily and experience magnificent outcomes, better than we ever dreamed possible. Because we are all entitled to have a positive, successful and fun-filled life and business.
Chuck Palanuk said “Find out what you’re afraid of and go live there”. I love that philosophy on life. It inspires courage. I wonder when you’ll be ready to apply it in your life and business?