Courage is faith in our convictions that there is more out there; there is a better way and we have the power to make it happen. It’s not being afraid to abandon the orthodox way of doing things and leave the comfort of the known to venture into new territory.
It took some serious courage to start your own business. And you’ve continued to be courageous at every turn through adversity and limited resources—as you have hired employees, expanded and diversified your products and services and grown by entering new states, even international markets. Yes, it takes courage to be a woman entrepreneur—courage that not every woman, or man, naturally has or can summon within themselves.
A recent article in Forbes magazine says courage is the defining characteristic that separates a great leader from a great manager. “Courageous leaders lead with principles—their True North—that guide them when pressure mounts,” it says. “They don’t shirk bold actions because they fear failure. They don’t need external adulation, nor do they shrink from facing criticism.”
Looking for ways to cultivate your own courageousness this month as you take the next step, or leap, in your business? These 10 tips from Inc. magazine will put you on your way:
- Embrace vulnerability: If you feel afraid of other people seeing who you are, open up and become more vulnerable.
- Admit you have fears: Identifying what you are afraid of gives you the information you need to overcome the fears and insecurities.
- Face your fears: Exposing yourself to your fears is a great way to overcome a phobia or fear.
- Think positively: Part of a positive attitude is allowing others show you affection, so let others do nice things for you.
- Reduce your stress: Sometimes you experience fear due to exhaustion. Make sure you eat well, get enough sleep, exercise, take breaks and take vacation time.
- Demonstrate courage: Take the time to help a person who is in a dangerous situation. Call for help or take bold step to intervene.
- Know failure but press forward: If you fail, don’t curl up into a ball or head to a metaphorical corner; keep moving forward.
- Cope with risk and uncertainty: You can conquer your fears by learning to deal with life’s uncertainties. If you fear losing a client, figure out what it takes to keep them.
- Continue to learn: Take all opportunities to learn a new skill. Read top thought leaders’ books. The more you know, the less risk you have to take to be successful.
- Accept your challenges: Stay on the course even after confronting challenges and fears. Most of what you fear will never come to pass.
Courage comes in all shapes and sizes. For me personally, it took a great deal of courage in 2001 to move my young family from Minnesota to Ohio to start my business—using all of my personal assets and going all in. And again recently, to sell that successful business I had grown and uproot my life with a move from Ohio to California where I have started the next chapter of my business leadership. When faced with a situation that requires great courage, I always ask myself two questions: “What’s the worst that can happen if I move forward?” And, most importantly, “Will I be disappointed in myself if I don’t take this chance?” This line from the song “I Hope You Dance” has always inspired me and says it best:
“I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’.” —LeAnne Womack
So, I say—take a chance, be courageous and dance! Can you think of a recent situation where you recently acted courageously in your personal or business life? Be sure to share it this month to inspire your NAWBO sisters!