When one thinks of the word courage, it often conjures up images of bravery, fortitude, grit and heroism.
But there’s another kind of courage that some mistake for weakness: the courage to admit to failure or mistakes, the courage to admit to wrong-doing, the courage to accept things that are out of one’s control and the courage to apologize when an apology is warranted.
It takes courage to:
- Admit and acknowledge when you are wrong.
- Apologize when you’ve offended, hurt or caused some hardship.
- Stand alone when your values, integrity and beliefs are challenged unfairly.
- Be humble when others who are less capable, competent or productive seem to get all the glory. Life sure ain’t fair sometimes.
- Take a contrary stance, not for the sake of being contrary, but because it’s right.
- Lead without need for recognition, rewards or accolades.
- And some days it takes courage to simply face another day, another challenge when you feel all alone.
Courage isn’t just about stepping forward. Sometimes it’s about stepping back, or stepping out of the way. Allowing muddy waters to clear. Responding, not reacting.
Quiet courage isn’t always easy because those who shout loudest and demand the spotlight will surely get it.
In a world of bigger-faster-louder, we need leaders who will go about their work in a humble, service-oriented way. Accolades, awards, recognition and rewards are lovely, but they should be the result, not the goal. It takes the courageous soul to recognize that. In the words of Lao Tzu:
“When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves’.
And in the words of Mary Anne Rachmacher:
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says: I’ll try again tomorrow.”
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