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HOW TO BE A BRAVE LEADER

What is it to be a brave leader?
A leader with courage?
What does it involve? What qualities? What behaviors?

For me, a leader with courage has many facets!
A leader with courage models the following 8 aspects of leadership.

Follow your heart!
Do what is important to you, even against the tide.
Be idealistic, have a vision, live your passion.
Bring into the world what is important to you.
Go forward and take others with you. Shape the future.

Feel fear … and do it anyway!
Face your fears, act despite your fear.
Speak in public even though you are afraid of it.
Fly long distances despite your fear of flying.
Show up fully even though you are afraid of rejection.

Persist in the face of adversity!
Don’t run away when things get difficult. Stay!
Don’t avoid conflicts.
Give unpleasant feedback.
Don’t give up right away when you face setbacks. Keep trying, even if you fail.

Do the right thing!
Speak up, say what you think. Even at the risk of making yourself unpopular.
Address injustice.
Defend your values.
Support those who need your voice.

Let go of the familiar!
Go to the unknown without backup and not knowing what will happen.
Make bold decisions, think big, take risks, break new ground.
Give up control.

Make the best of all situations!
Accept strokes of faith, your own failures, inner and outer obstacles or uncertainty.
Say “Yes … and” and make the best of it. (see Susan Jeffers, Feel the Fear and do it anyway)
Reframe and see things from a new persepective, handle it creatively.

Be vulnerable!
Admit mistakes or fail in front of others.
Show blind spots, be imperfect.
Say that you don’t know.
Show your emotions.

Be authentic
Be 100% yourself. Always.
Do your thing, live your values ​​and your “why”.
Bring in your strengths. And your quirks.
Do what you say. Ask for what you need.
Be of integrity.

To be a brave leader is definitely a challenge!
And one worthwhile, what do you think?

What leader are you?
What is your challenge?
Where would you like to have more courage?

#WeCanBeRebels!
I can help you be a courageous leader and Coach!

Just give me a shout!
Or learn how to be a Leader & Coach in my Coaching Skills Online Training!

Literatur:

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DARE TO DECIDE!

How are you with decisions? Do you put them off as long as possible? Until others decide or the situation clears itself up? Or do you decide impulsively to get it over and done with and be “in control” again? Do you analyze the pros and cons in detail and spend days thinking about what’s best? Or do you decide on a gut level?

Making decisions is often not easy.

Even supposedly easy decisions can wear us out: “Do I go to work by bike or car today?”, “Do I add this sentence in the email or not?”, “Do I start with task A or B?” or “Where do we go on holidays?”

For more difficult decisions such as “Should I quit my job?” “Do I take job A or B?”, “Do I buy a house in the country or stay in the city?”, “Which coaching training will I start?”, “What will I include in my living will? ”or“ How do I best invest my money? ” we stumble.

Why is it so difficult to make decisions?

We are afraid to make the wrong decision.
We fear to lose something: our partner, friends, status, money, job satisfaction or whatever we were hoping to get from the “right” decision.
And we worry to be worse off than before. Or to make a mistake, to fail.
And then to be the one who’s fault it was.

Many of us have learned to make decisions based on the “win-lose-model”.
In the “win-lose-model” there is one right and one wrong decision.
Either A or B is correct.
As a result we rack our brains to find the correct one.
We desperately want to get it right and try hard not to choose the wrong one.
Pure stress oftentimes! Of course, the decision is given much more weight than it deserves.
That’s a point where we like to postpone the decision and not make it at all.

And after the decision?
We think “Was that the right choice?” And the headache starts again. The “win-lose-model” makes us unhappy and weak. (cf. Susan Jeffers, Feel the Fear and do it anyway).

Which mindset supports us to make decisions?

Making decisions according to the “win-win-model”
In this model there are also two options A and B.
Here, both options are correct.
Every path, A and B, has advantages and consequences.
Each one offers new experiences and opportunities to grow.
No matter what I choose – I can only win! Regardless of the outcome.

For instance, I want to to decide what to do next in my career.
I can either become a manager in another company (option A).
Or I can start my own business as a Coach (option B).
Both ways are exciting. Both ways are “right”.
I choose B.
If, in a year or two, it turns out that being self-employed isn’t for me, that’s ok. I then know much more what I want and what I don’t want. And I have experienced and learned new skills that I would not have encountered by choosing option A.
Maybe I will choose A next or maybe I will go for completely different option.
No matter what I do, I can only win 🙂

Tipp 1: Take on the “I can only win” mindset! Tell yourself “I can only win” – no matter how I decide and how it turns out.

What else helps you make a decision?

In their book “Decisive”, the Heath brothers recommend this (WRAP) process:

W – Widen Your Options
R – Reality Test Your Assumptions
A – Attain Distance
P – Prepare to be Wrong

Tip 2: Widen your options!
We often only see “either – or” when making decisions: “Will I do it or not?”, “Will I choose A or B? “. As a result, we choose between a very limited range and do not consider many options that are available – the so-called “narrow framing bias” occurs. (cf. Chip & Dan Heath, Decisive; framing effect in https://lexikon.stangl.eu/)

How can you widen your options?

  • Ask yourself: What other options are there? Brainstorm other possibilities!
  • Exchange ideas with people who have already made the decision and ask them about their experiences and learnings!
  • “And” instead of “Or”: See if you can combine options (e.g. reduce hours in your job & be part-time self-employed!)


Tip 3: Challenge your assumptions!

We are all influenced by “Confirmation Bias”: We search, interpret and choose options that confirm our attitude to life, our values ​​or beliefs. (cf. Chip & Dan Heath, Decisive; Confirmation Bias in https://lexikon.stangl.eu/)

How can you counteract this?

  • Get yourself a “Challenger”: Let this person ask provocative questions and help you uncover what you don’t see!
  • Reality-Test your assumptions: shadow someone for a day who does what you want to do or work in the position you want to work in for a day or two to see how it feels like.

At this point, you have many options and you have challenged them.
Now it’s time to decide 😉 But before you do that:

Tip 4: Attain distance!

To avoid making decisions based on short-term emotions – i.e. to stop having to cope with ambiguity (the loss of control if you will), attain distance or change your perspective!

How does that work?

  • Use the 10/10/10 principle: Ask yourself how you feel about the decision in 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years?
    > What we find unpleasant in 10 minutes (e.g. asking for help), we will probably have forgotten in 10 years 😉 And what is very important to us looking back from 2030 is worth being brave for in 10 minutes! (see Chip & Dan Heath, Decisive)
  • Take the perspective of a Consultant: What would I advise my best friend here?

Changing perspectives I also what I do in Coaching a lot! Try it & do a 1-on-1 Coaching Session with me! Especially, if there is a topic where you are stuck or a new attitude would be helpful.

Tip 5: Prepare to be wrong!

It might turn out that your decision feels different than you had expected or that it comes with unhoped-for consequences. We are often too confident (“overconfident”) to asses the future correctly. So be prepared to be wrong. Things may turn out differently than you think! (cf. Chip & Dan Heath, Decisive)

How?

  • Think about obstacles that can occur! And make a plan how you want to deal with them. Research shows that by doing this you are not only more likely to overcome these hurdles when they occur. You are also making a much more informed decision. You know a lot more about what you are getting yourself into. And, you may even realize that you don’t want it enough to make the investment it takes. In that case, you have the chance to “optout” here. (cf. Jonathan Fields, Success Scaffolding)
  • See it as an Experiment: Allow yourself 3 months to experience your decision and then do a check-in with yourself: How am I? Do I want this? What else do i need?

Tip 6: Be clear about your priorities in life!

If you know your priorities in life, if you are clear on what’s important to you and what gives your life meaning, you can use it as a compass for making decisions:
Does the decision bring me closer to my vision?
Do I live my “Purpose” more by choosing this? Do I make the difference that I want to make?
Do I live my values ​​more?

How do you get there?

  • Values: Get clear on your top 5 values! What do you need in your life like fish need water? Connection? Independence? Security?


Tip 7: Trust your gut feeling!

How often do we make “rational” or “heady” decisions even though our intuition or gut feeling tells us this is wrong? If you notice something feels strange, take it seriously and maybe think twice.

Tip 8: Stay calm!

Don’t take yourself and your decision sooooo seriously.
Most decisions are not as important as you think.
If it doesn’t turn out as you hoped, you’ll learn something.
And you can always change it. (cf. Susan Jeffers, Feel the Fear and do it anyway).

And when you have finally made your decision …

Tip 9: “Good enough for now”

Don’t doubt your decision straight away – “Good enough for now” could be an attitude that helps you to be happy with your decision.

Tip 10: Hang on!

Don’t give up right away – be comitted and don’t give up when you face your first setback. Setbacks are normal. Think about why the decision was important to you & keep it up!

Tip 11: Alter your course, if necessary!

If, after a while you realize that the decision was wrong, change it!
You always have a choice!
You show courage when you admit that what you chose is not what makes you happy!

How does all of that sound to you?
Give it a try!

We don’t regret what we’ve decided and tried, but what we haven’t decided and done.

What decision are you currently facing?
What decision is due for you?

Dare to face it!
Dare to decide!
If not now … when?

Literature


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COURAGE IS … TO SAY “NO”

How difficult is it for you to say “No”? In which situations is it particularly difficult for you?

When a friend wants a favor?
When you are asked to take on new tasks at work even though you are already working overtime?
When someone offers you an exciting project but you really want to spend more time with your family?
Or if everyone on your team says “Yes” to an idea, then to say “No”?

For me it’s particularly difficult to say “No” when it comes to my inner circle.
To say “No” to go to an onsite family celebration as long as contact restrictions are recommended due to Covid.
To say “No” to a good friend to join him at the Oktoberfest.
To tell my sister that I don’t want to speak to her psychologist again.

What makes is it so difficult for us to say “No” oftentimes?

We don’t want to disappoint other people’s expectations. Especially, when what we say “No” to is very important to the other person.
We are scared of being rejected and of looking stupid.
We are afraid what others might think.
We fear to get others in trouble.
We fear to spoil the good vibes in the group.
A lot of inner critics who show up here!

And if we do manage to say “No” in a difficult situation, we feel guilty and doubts like “Shouldn’t I have said “Yes”?” show up. Then, we are stuck in this thought loop and feel bad about it for a long time.

Many times we therefore don’t say “No” and pay the price!
“Opportunity costs” if you will.
When we say “Yes” to things that we actually want to say “No” to, we don’t have the time and energy to do the things we really want to do.
We also pay the price of our integrity.
We don’t do what is important to us but what is important to others. We do not live our own values but the values of others. We may even “betray” our values. This has in impact on our self-confidence. We are disappointed with ourselves or angry.

It doesn’t have to be that way!

We can learn to say “No”.
We can free ourselves from what others might think.
We can overcome our fears and worries.
We can leave behind our bad conscience.

How?
What can help you say “No”? And be free?

Maybe these 5 tips will grow your courage to say “No”.

Tip 1: Catch the Chatter!

Become aware of your thoughts!
Especially when it comes to topics and situations in which it is difficult for you to say “No” or to draw boundaries. (cf. Emiliya Zhivotovskaya, 20 Body & Mind Tools to overcome Anxiety)

How does it work?

  • Pause, ask yourself “What am I thinking?”
  • Write down all thoughts and voices that show up.
  • Identify: Who supports or limits me, which parts show up?
  • Introduce a structure that reminds you to pause again and again (set an alarm clock or place a post-it on your computer!)
  • Do this regularly, e.g. 1 x day for several weeks

Tip 2: Seperate yourself from your thoughts

The voices and thoughts that show up when you want to say “No” are only parts of you – like several “sticky notes”. You as “I” decide which thoughts you want to listen to.

How?

  • Separate the “I” from your thoughts & feelings
    > Say “a part of me is afraid” instead of “I am afraid” or “a part of me doesn’t want to disappoint others” instead of “I disappoint others”.
  • Decide who you want to listen to!
    > Imagine that you are the CEO of a company and you enter a conference room. All your thoughts are like employees at the conference table. They all have their expertise and inform you about their opinion. You listen to everyone and then decide who you want to listen to. Because: You have the choice! You can also listen to the brave voice in you!

Tip 3: Team up with your Inner Superpowers!

You have many supportive inner resources and strengths that can help you say “No”, such as the courageous or the wise part in you (your future self) or strengths such as the determined, the problem solver, the observer.

They are your Superpowers and you can consciously “tap” into them and use them any time. (cf. Cynthia Loy Darst, Meet Your Inside Team)

4 Steps:

  • Collect: What are the inner resources that best support you in saying “No”!
  • Characterize them like movie characters and have them be your support crew! (Eagle – the Observer, Buddha – the Centered, Yoda – the Wise)
  • Make them as alive and vivid as possible!
  • Practice getting in touch with your team members!

If you want to go deeper here, take part in my Online Workshop “Inner Strength & Courage”. Here we do exactly that: we activate and characterise your Inner Superpowers.

Tipp 4: Say „No“ positively

Saying “No” positively means saying „No“ in a clear and definite way while maintaining a positive connection. (cf. William Ury, The Power of a Positive No)

This is how it works in 3 steps:

  • Receive: Receive the request so that your counterpart realizes that you take her seriously and acknowledge its importance!
  • Say “No”: Say “No” clearly and explain why and what is important to you about it
  • Open: Offer something constructive, a way forward for the request

For example, if a friend from your network asks you to support him with a project, you could say “No” in a positive way like this:

I am very happy that you ask me to be part of the project and appreciate your trust in me.
I am very busy with my projects and I want to spend the free time I have with my family.
Therefore I will not support you in your project.
Since I find your project really inspiring, I would be happy to pass your request on to a colleague who might be a good fit.

Tip 5: Confirm your courage with a mantra!

A confirmation mantra is a mantra that you say to yourself after you have bravely drawn boundaries.  A mantra could be

When I say “No” I stay true to myself!

Saying “No” makes me confident!

It helps you to feel less “selfish” and motivates you to keep saying „No“ more often. (cf. tinybuddha.com, How to set boundaries: 9 Tips for People-Pleasers)

How does it work?

  • Come up with a mantra and write it down!
  • Visualize it & have it in sight (e.g. as a screen saver on your phone)!
  • Say it to yourself every time you say “No” or draw boundaries!

What else?
Try out different strategies to say “No” and find out what works best for you.
Practice them on a regular basis so that they work even in difficult situations! And don’t be upset, if you fail sometimes. It’s normal!

If you want to learn more about the tips in this article, have a look at my WEBINAR on “Say No – without fear”.

Just imagine … if from now on you would always say “No” when you mean “No”?
And “Yes” to what is important to you?
Then, what is possible?

To find out more about this version of your future, be there at my Vision (Board) Online Workshop and prototype it.

Literature

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COURAGE IS CONTAGIOUS

YOUR ENVIRONMENT MAKES YOU BRAVER

You might have already noticed that the environment you are in and the people you are surrounded by both influence you in different ways. If you don’t have any Entrepreneurs in your family or among your friends, if you don’t have artists around you, who paint for a living or people who have chosen a different lifestyle by working as freelancers from all over the world, it might not even appear to you as an option to do the same. It’s outside of your imagination.

The same is true for courage. If you are not surrounded by people, who live their lives courageously, you might not think it’s possible to follow your dreams, exceed your limiting beliefs and take more risks to do what makes you happy.

You are as courageous as your environment is!

Why is that? Fear is contagious! And courage is contagious, too!

We humans are built to recognize core emotions among each other. The Researcher Paul Ekman found out that we identify fear or anger on the faces of others and not only understand the emotion but actually start feeling the same, i.e. fear. As humans we feel empathy for each other and therefore experience the same physiological processes associated with the emotion (cf. Paul Ekman, Darwin’s Claim of Universals in Facial Expression Not Challenged & Are facial expressions universal?).
If our environment is fearful, it has an impact on us. We are more fearful, too.

Courage also has an impact on us. When we witness moral or courageous acts, we feel an emotional uplift, we feel inspired. The psychologist Jonathan Haidt identified this as an emotion he calles “elevation”. When we see someone standing up for others being discriminated against or when we read about someone, who risked his life to save a drowning boy, we feel “elevated”. We are inspired to live up to those examples. We are encouraged to do the same. In that way courage is contagious, too. (cf. Jonathan Haidt, Wired to be Inspired)

So, to become braver, we need role models among family, friends & colleagues – courage role models. Role models for speaking up, for being persistent, for taking risks, for thinking big, for dealing with illness or tragical incidents to name a few. The more diverse the role models the better. Because being courageous often times is a very personal thing and different people feel inspired by different types of courage.

So why not have a courage community? A community with role models and like-minded people. The energy in such a community is belonging and commiseration. (cf. Jonathan Fields, Success Scaffolding). We are part of something bigger, we are all in it together, we experience the ups and downs together and encourage each other to do new things despite our fear. And most importantly, we celebrate our failures together. Because failure is a big part of success (cf. Ute Kueffner, Essence Leadership).

Really? For many of us, failing comes with a feeling of embarrassment, shame, disappointment or humiliation, especially when we fail in public. (cf. Robert Biswas-Diener, The Courage Quotient). It’s not exactly something we aspire. We rather try to avoid situations where we could fail. Along the lines of: “If we don’t risk anything, we cannot fail.” In that way, “Failure is a thieve of courage”, writes Robert Biswas-Diener.
Our willingness to act, to be brave in certain situations decreases due to our fear of failing.

If we instead encourage each other to reframe failure and see it as a necessary part of our learning process, then it’s much easier to try out new things in a playful way and try again if we fail. Failing is unpreventable. Failing is how we learn and advance in life. It might not feel so good but it is unpreventable. It’s essential for moving forward. That is why we may also accept it.

And maybe we not only accept failure but even start to provoke it. To really grow our courage! With the support of our courage community we can intentionally fail to become braver. (cf. Robert Biswas-Diener, The Courage Quotient). For instance, by holding a speech about a topic in front of others in the spur of the moment or by facilitating a session within an open space meetup having never done that before. This can boost our courage big time.

What else boosts our courage?
Imagining ourselves being courageous!
Yes, we can be our own role models! Cool Stuff, right?

Research shows that :

If we choose courageous roles or think of ourselves as filling courageous roles, we are more likely to act boldly when the need arises.

Robert Biswas-Diener, The Courage Quotient

This mental exercise might be worth introducing or integrating into your daily mindfulness practice:

  • Visualize yourself being brave in certain situations where you would like to be braver, i.e. public speaking or facilitating meetings.
  • Or see yourself taking on courageous roles within your environment, i.e. be the one who takes a risk a day to expand her comfort zone

And maybe you even take on and try out these roles in real-life, too. Be the one on your team who speaks to the elephant in the room or be the one in your family, who lives according to her values even if that means to take a path that might not be mainstream.

You can do it!
With the help of your imagination and your courage community.

Where do you want to be more courageous?

Start Now!
>> At REBEL COACH CAMP 2020 – The 2 day courage workshop that makes you braver!
>> Or join the Rebel Coaching Leadership & Courage Community

Literature:

Article inspired by Ute Kueffner, Executive Coach, CPCC, MCC, MBA, http://www.essenceleadership.com/

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WHY ARE WE NOT COURAGEOUS?

A cool image for courage is horse jumping. According to an old anecdote, for a rider and her horse to jump over a fence, both had to first throw their hearts over the fence and then jump after, without knowing what’s on the other side (cf. Henry Kimsey House, Courage and the Leader in Front)

Yes, that’s what it feels like to face big changes!

That’s how I’ve felt recently when I started my coaching practice.

I had a vision. I was passionate. I was longing to become a self-employed professional Coach. I was about to be brave, follow my heart and jump. An then, just before I jumped:

Those inner voices came:

  • Voice A: You’re jeopardizing your Image! What if you fail? (The Anxious)
  • Voice B: You have a vision! Be brave! Quit your job and follow your heart! (The Courageous)
  • Voice C: Don’t risk anything! How do you want to survive financially? (The One that panics)
  • Voice D: Jump! You’ve always achieved everything you aimed for! (The Wise One)
  • Voice E: You’re not good enough. There are other Coaches out there, who are much better and more experienced than you. And you think, you can live from it? (The Judge)

.. an so on …

And the anxious and limiting voices become louder and louder and finally … win.
I don’t jump.
Apparently, my passion is not enough.
I’m stuck in front of the fear barrier.

Why is that? Why am I stuck? What’s going on here?

Whenever we face a big change, we experience some kind of inner conversation, consciously or unconsciously. We hear our thoughts as voices. Some of them are supportive, others fearful and limiting (cf.Cynthia Loy Darst, Meet Your Inside Team). Most of the times, the anxious voices win as we don’t actively deal with them, understand and influence them.

We all have those anxious voices. They are often called inner critiques or Saboteurs. They tend to appear when we head into big changes or when we want to implement important new plans and projects. They are the guardians of the status quo. They come from our childhood or youth and want to protect us from danger. Oftentimes there is a spark of truth in them. However, 99 % of the fear they convey is unfounded. We are no kids anymore. We are grown-up and don’t need their protection. They hold us back from doing the things that are meaningful to us.

What are other reasons why we are stuck?

We are conditioned to caution!
Whose parents have said to their kids “Go outside and dare a lot”? , “Take big risks today!” or “Take chances!”
Usually we hear „Take care“, „Be careful“, “Don’t take any unnecessary risk“ (cf. Susan Jeffers, Feel the fear and do it anyway).

Another reason that keeps us from jumping is the „Status Quo Bias“, a psychological phenomenon. It’s the (irrational) tendency to prefer the current situation to a change. This might sound familiar: We don’t change banks even though there are much better alternatives. We don’t take interesting job offers or build or own business but instead stay in our current job in which we are unhappy. (cf. Lucius Caviola, Status Quo Bias und Reversal Test, 4.12.2012)

At the end of the day, it’s not so important why we don’t get passed the fear barrier.

The fears are present and they will stay as long as we develop and grow.
That is why we don’t need to fight against them. We can accept our fears and do the things that are important to us despite them.

We can chose to see fear as our companion.
We can chose to have a different mindset toward fear:
A mindset that sees fear not as a warning signal, a signal for withdrawl.
But a mindset that sees fear as a green light to keep going and do the important things that frighten us.

What is your attitude toward fear?
And what attitude do you want?

Do you want to develop a more courageous perspective?

Literature:

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WHAT IS COURAGE?

“What is courage?” – I asked the people around me and here are some of the answers I received:

to do things where I need to overcome my fear, i.e. mountain climbing despite my fear of heights

to rely on my gut feeling and do what’s important to me (even if it means to do what nobody else does)

not avoiding uncomfortable situations but facing them

to walk down unknown paths without knowing how it will turn out

to openly display my fears or emotions, i.e. failing or crying in front of others.

Courage has many different aspects. Melanie Greenberg writes in one of her articles on Psychology Today that courage has the following 6 facets:

  • feel fear yet choosing to act – face your fears, act despite the fear
  • follow your heart – do what is important to you (even against the stream)
  • preserve in the face of adversity – keep trying, not run away when things get difficult but stay
  • standing up for what is right – speak up, say what you think, stand up for others
  • expanding your horizons; letting go of the familiar – go to the unknown without backup and not knowing what will happen
  • face suffering with dignity or faith – accept strokes of fate like illness, make the best out of it and support those who suffer

I would add one more aspect of courage that comes from Brené Brown:

  • being vulnerable – admit mistakes or fail in front of others, show blind spots, be imperfect (cf. Brené Brown, Daring Greatly)

Courage not only has different aspect, it also has various definitions.

I like the French word for courage very much: Cour-Rage. Heart & rage, the rage of the heart. What I love about this definition is that the passion and intensity of courage is emphasized a lot here. (vcf. Henry Kimsey-House, Courage and the Leader in Front).

In dictionaries courage often is defined as mindset or mental attitude:

the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear, bravery.

dictionary.com

The definition of Robert Biswas-Diener describes courage very accurately:

Courage is the willingness to act toward a moral or worthwhile goal despite the presence of risk, uncertainty or fear.

Robert Biswas-Diener, The Courage-Quotient

I chose to pursue my goal although I am afraid is the essence of his Biswas-Diener’s definition.
With “moral” Biswas-Diener means action that has a positive impact on me or others. Without the moral aspect, the definition could also be applied to a thieve. A thieve is prepared to pursue his goal, which is worthwhile but not moral: make a burglary , despite the danger of being caught and despite his fear. (cf. Robert Biswas-Diener, The Courage-Quotient).

The researcher Cynthia Puthia differentiates in her definition between two types of courage: “General Courage” and “Personal Courage” (cf. Cynthia Puthia, The Construct of Courage).

“General Courage” is what one would commonly see as courage, i.e. a fire-fighter who rescues people will probably be seen as brave by a lot of people or an activist who speaks her opinion although she could be prosecuted for this.

“Personal Courage” is courage for me personally; when I overcome my very personal fear, which might not be brave at all for others, i.e. drive long distances by car or speak in front of a large audience.

Maybe not everyone of us will be a firefighter or activist.

But here is the good news concerning our Personal Courage:
We all have the powere to overcome our fears and saboteurs and become braver.

We can learn courage!

Do you want to be more courageous, too?

Literature:

• Melanie Greenberg Ph.D., The Six Attributes of Courage, Psychology Today, 23.8.2012, https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201208/the-six-attributes-courage
• Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, 2015
• Henry Kimsey House, Courage and the Leader in Front, Co-Active® Training Institute (CTI), 29.3.2019, https://coactive.com/blog/courage-and-the-leader-in-front/
• Cynthia L. S. Pury, Cooper R. Woodard, The Construct of Courage. Categorization and Measurement, Researchgate, Juni 2007, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232442435_The_Construct_of_Courage_Categorization_and_Measurement
• Definition “Courage”, www.dictionary.com
• Robert Biswas-Diener: The Courage Quotient: How Science Can Make You Braver, 2012

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WE CAN BE REBELS

COURAGE IS A CHOICE

14-year-old Laura Dekker sails around the world on her own – despite a big outcry in society and many obstacles.
Greta Thunberg starts a global movement for a sustainable climate policy and dares to speak-up to most powerful in the world about their destructive way of dealing with the environment.
Brazilian surfer Maja Gabeira is the first woman to ride a 14m wave. One day she falls off the board, badly injured. That doesn’t stop her from surfing again. A few years later, she rides a wave over 20 m high in the same place where the accident happened and sets a new record. (cf. Elena Favili, Francesca Cavallo, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, 2017)

These women have courage. We all know people who have courage (even men :)).

People who care for their sick parents many years and accompany them on their last days, being there when they pass away. A friend who flies long distances despite his fear of flying. Another friend who quits her well-paid job to follow her passion and found a charity.

Are all of them born with more courage?
Is courage a character trait?

There might be people who are more risk-taking by birth.

Researchers, however, agree on this: We can become braver. Regardless of age, gender or personality type. (cf. Boris Hänssler, Über Mut, Psychologie Heute)

Because courage is a mindset.
It’s a mental attitude towards facing intimidating situations. When I am courageous, I do all the things that I’m afraid of despite the fear I feel. I don’t let uncomfortable things or threatening situations hold me back or have them paralyze me.
I choose to act towards an important and often moral goal or as Robert Biswas-Diener defines courage in his book “The courage-quotient”:

Courage is the willingness to act toward a moral or worthwhile goal despite the presence of risk, uncertainty or fear.

Robert Biswas-Diener, The Courage Quotient

Courage, therefore, is a choice.
A choice FOR change, FOR risk, FOR breaking new grounds and exceeding limits.

And it’s worth being courageous!
In his 2016 study Christopher Keller found that courageous people are healthier.
The willingness to show courage and the somatic perception influence each other: When we have courage, we have less health issues and vice versa. (cf. Boris Hänssler, Über Mut, Psychologie Heute)

What else?
It pleases us sustainably to do things that we weren’t able to do before or to master hurdles that aren’t easy to overcome.

Exactly those things, that we do for the first time or that we do particularly mindfully and intensely turn into memories that stay with us. We remember situations in which we had to leave our comfort zone vividly and for a long time – the so-called Reminiscence Effect.
Courage creates happy memories! (vgl. Fabrice Braun, Welche Erinnerungen machen uns glücklich?, Sueddeutsche Zeitung).

I chose courage. I want to live my life as courageously as possible. Leave my comfort zone, make changes that frighten me, provoke mistakes despite my huge fear of failing, do the right thing, speak up, be there for others, help people who suffer and stick around when it gets difficult. Again. And Again.

Not so easy. But worth it.

Do you want to be more courageous, too?

Literature

  • Elena Favili, Francesca Cavallo: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, 2018
  • Robert Biswas-Diener: The Courage Quotient: How Science Can Make You Braver, 2012
  • Boris Hänssler, Über Mut, Psychologie Heute, 8.11.2017
  • Fabrice Braun, Welche Erinnerungen machen uns glücklich?, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, 27.12.2019
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