Curious about women and courage, everyday courage or how to apply courageous leadership--this is the blog for you. No sensational stories, heroism or drama, just the understanding of how to apply courage at work or in your personal life. There is a direct correlation between your success quotient and your courage quotient. What would you do right now if you had "unlimited courage?" Do you have courage?

3 Scripts that Keep Women Stuck at Work

Posted by on in Career
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Comments
  • Subscribe to this entry
  • Print

A woman who noticed that a high-ranking position would soon be vacatedreframing and noticing our inner dialogue to remove obstacles said, “I thought about it and thought about it. So I did the somewhat brazen thing and went over and asked, “Can I have Vicki’s job?”

What’s wrong with asking, and why is it “brazen” to ask?

This is a perfect example of "scripts" or inner dialogues that multiply over time and define who we are. Left unchecked, they can prevent us from achieving what we want.

When you understand your scripts or inner dialogue, you realize how they have limited an honest and clear vision of who you really are and can now take action from that knowledge.

If you respond to obstacles from the lower levels of courage consciousness, you invariably get stuck. Even if you manage to get “unstuck,” you will find yourself repeating the same patterns and getting stuck at the same obstacles (like a bad version of the movie Groundhog Day) until you respond from a higher level of courage consciousness.

Once you begin to recognize the B-movie script for the obstacle that it is, the inner power of personal courage enables you to be able to grasp significant opportunities in the workplace and in life. Simply put, getting unstuck and staying unstuck requires the spirit of courage. Regardless of your unique circumstances, courage elevates your consciousness into the realm of truth, enabling you to advance your life’s purpose.

1.  Step Up!

Returning to our initial example,if you’re too intimidated to ask, you don’t get the opportunity to step up! Perceiving her action as brazen versus courageous exemplifies a feminine need to rework her inner script.

Do you see yourself as brazen, bold, brash, blatant or forward at work? Or are you a courageous woman overcoming invisibility to achieve success intertwined with happiness in your job? Courageously forthright action does not undermine a woman’s femininity. It does, however, reveal a woman’s willingness to “showcase her talents” (one of 12 courage actions). 

2.  The Desire to Be Perfect

Are you able to recognize the difference between your potential and your experience? For example, if you move to another division, can you gain experience, develop new skills and broaden your business horizons? If so, try not to match your style or skills to fit a “perfect” checklist. Best not to be overwhelmed by perfection, but instead apply candor ( one of twelve cousins to courage) to express your expectations and cultivate new abilities.

Like any other ability, we all have courage to varying degrees, one size does not fit all, but to exercise it requires living in conscious choice. Are you more inclined toward caution to keep a “perfect” image? Does a script in your head perpetuate a fear that you won’t perform well enough or you are not “fully” qualified for the job? Rather than strive for perfection, feminine courage actions such as work without regrets, showcase your talents and reveal your vulnerability free you! Do you have the courageous will to try it?

3.  Respond to First Red Flags  

First red flag warnings are everywhere. A woman I will call Deb was preparing to speak at a conference when she got a big red flag in the form of a disturbing email from the association’s education director. Meant for a staff member, the email was filled with sniping remarks about her! Believing she had a good relationship with the client, Deb was surprised by the unprofessional comments. Deb surmised that a rude conversation had taken place between the two co-workers at her expense. “Why would I want to speak at a conference when I’m being undermined behind the scene?” Deb asked. With courage, she replied to the director’s email: “Did I miss a cue or is something wrong?”

The director quickly discounted the errant email by writing: “That email was one that people tell stories about in business magazines… It was meant for…” Deb wanted to forget the incident but struggled for weeks with the nagging “first red flag” warning. In business for over ten years, she had learned the hard way that one red flag usually follows another, indicating a situation in danger of spiraling out of control. With the insight of her own past mistakes, Deb hoped she would be wrong but grew increasingly concerned.

Needless to say, she was not surprised when her presentation did not go well, and she now has a stronger resolve to honor the first red flag. Ultimately, Deb learned a hard lesson: respond directly to the ambiguity represented by that first red flag warning by implementing a courage action called “confront uncomfortable truths.”


The concepts of courage-centered living are deceptively simple. The mind (ego) will want to undermine them. After all, how could something so easy work? We become courageous by being courageous. It’s that simple! All you have to do is decide whether this forgotten virtue is worth learning and claiming in your life.

Leadership qualities are defined by courage, such as asking for the tough project or staying focused on the results. What would motivate you to explore where this ancient virtue fits into your work life?

Sandra Ford Walston is known as The Courage Expertand innovator of StuckThinking™. Featured on the speaker circuit as witty, provocative, concrete and insightful, she has sparked positive change in the lives of thousands of leaders each year. She found that there is a direct correlation between your success quotient and your courage quotient.

She is the internationally published author of bestseller COURAGEThe Heart and Spirit of Every Woman, the follow-up book to COURAGE,The COURAGE Difference at Work: A Unique Success Guide for Women (formerlySTUCK) and FACE IT! 12 Courageous Actions Bring Success at Work and Beyond. All three books are on based 20 years of original courage research. She is certified in the Enneagram and MBTI® and she is a Newfield Network coach. Please

Watch this YouTube:Courageous Leadership

Follow me on Twitter@courageexpert and Facebook

© Sandra Ford Walston, The Courage Expert

All Rights Reserved


Rate this blog entry:

Sandra Ford Walston, The Courage Expert and innovator of StuckThinking™, is an international speaker and author, human potential consultant, corporate trainer and certified coach. Sandra’s expertise allows her to focus on the tricks and traps of the human condition through recognizing and interpreting courage behaviors and courageous leadership styles.


Featured on the speaker circuit as witty, provocative, concrete and insightful, she has sparked positive change in the lives of thousands of leaders each year. Sandra also provides skills-based programs for some of the most respected public and private blue-chip businesses and organizations in the world, such as IBM, Caterpillar, Inc., Institute of Internal Auditors, Hensel Phelps, Wide Open West, Agrium, Inc., Virginia Commonwealth University, Xanterra Parks & Resorts®, Procter and Gamble, Hitachi Consulting, US Bank, Healthcare Association of New York State, Institute of Management Accountants, and Delta Kappa Gamma International Society.


The internationally published author of bestseller COURAGE The Heart and Spirit of Every Woman and an honored author selected for Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, Sandra facilitates individuals and groups to discover the power and inspiration of their everyday courage.


The COURAGE Difference at Work: A Unique Success Guide for Women, Sandra’s follow-up book to COURAGE, is directed at any woman, regardless of title or credentials, who wishes to grow professionally by introducing courage actions at work. Her third book, FACE IT! 12 Courageous Actions that Bring Success at Work and Beyond confirms that what holds you back on the job is the same as what hinders achievement—the reluctance to face and live a courageous life. Sandra is published in magazines such as Chief Learning Officer, Training & Development, HR Matters, Malaysia, and Strategic Finance.


Sandra is a certified Newfield Network coach and certified to administer and interpret the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® along with the Enneagram. She also instructs at the University of Denver.


She can be reached at where she posts a courage blog and courage newsletter.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Joomla! Debug Console


Profile Information

Memory Usage

Database Queries