Like two sides of a coin, courage and fear together make the value of our actions. The recently departed former leader of the British Liberal Democrats, Charles Kennedy, once said that, Courage is a peculiar kind of fear.’ Rather than being opposites, fear and courage go hand in hand. Fear is a kind of vulnerability- the vulnerability of our mortality.
Courage or bravado can be faked. I quoted David Tang in my previous post and he advises us to not show that we are intimidated. Susan Jeffers said, Feel the fear and do it anyway.’ But we end up ‘fearing the fear’ and never take the next step. That next step is the step of courage. And in taking action anyway, regardless of fear or intimidation, is when we show real courage.
In his book, Fiercely Loyal, which is about leadership, Dov Baron says, ‘…real courage requires vulnerability. Real courage requires us to step into something where we cannot predict the outcome; something that, in some way, seems terrifying, not because we could die, although that may be part of how we feel, but because we feel we might receive the most painful of punishments–that of being rejected, disowned, and ultimately isolated….That’s why real courage cannot exist without the risk of vulnerability.’
Do not be afraid to show your vulnerability- for your courage lies in that, whether in personal relationships or in your professional world.