How Much Courage Do You Have?

I love what I do and am so excited that I launched my business three years ago - even though I did it right as the economy started to tank. Every day, I get to work with high performing men and women who have the courage to pursue what matters to them and strive for more. They are going places and making great things happen. So, today I want to share what I see them doing – specifically as it relates to courage – that makes a huge difference in their ability to achieve results. It boils down to three things.

1. They take a hard look at themselves

Taking a hard look at yourself requires investing time and energy to get clearer about your passion, priorities, strengths, and development areas. As part of my coaching process, I usually conduct 360-interviews where I solicit feedback from my clients’ direct reports, peers, and leaders. Talk about a gold mine of valuable information...if you can see it that way.

I have to say that it takes courage to “put yourself out there” like that, especially when the feedback isn’t what you want to hear or you disagree with it. But we all have choices - to take the feedback or leave it, to use the information to grow or not. I find that strong leaders usually have the courage to say, “Ok, the feedback is what it is. What do I need to do about it?”

2. They recognize what they should do more or less of

If you’re like most people, you may do some things really well and you may unknowingly get in the way of your own success at times. That’s where feedback from others can really help. Whether or not you are willing to ask others for their input, take the time to ask yourself, “What should I do more or less of to be more effective in my role?”

Identify 2-3 small steps you can take NOW and think through what makes these actions or changes so important (i.e., What will the impact be? On you? Others?). By taking time to think about the “so what,” it will increase your commitment to implementing them.

3. They consistently take action

The leaders I work with achieve amazing results because they are willing to hold the mirror up to themselves, ask for honest feedback, identify the steps they need to take, and take action time and again.

When my clients say they couldn’t have done it without me, I find myself pointing out that our coaching sessions could have merely been a series of conversations. What made it more was their willingness to take risks and try something new. And when things didn’t play out exactly as they hoped, they made adjustments and tried again. Their commitment to consistently take action, to the point that they formed new habits, is what will help them continue to achieve results well after our coaching is over.

So, I want to leave you with a call to action. This week, ask one to two trusted friends or colleagues what you should do more or less of to be more effective in your role. Before you ask them, think about how you want to “show up” in the conversation. Keep in mind that how you respond to their feedback will impact whether they will ever give it to you again!