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?

Confessing is a Cousin to Courage

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Our culture has a tendency to highlight sensational, amazing, miraculous or scandalous acts of courage, such as confessing you were a draft-dodger, confronting a robber with a gun or harming your spouse. The assessment is that if your story is not a headline it can’t be valuable. Not so. I was recently asked  how courage manifests itself in daily living.

Dear Sandra:

There are many times I find myself responding to a discussion topic as if I know something about it when in fact, I don’t. I feel if I reveal my lack of knowledgeable I will be perceived as unintelligent (silly, I know). Other times, I find myself innocently covering up or glossing over an incident instead of confessing. What’s the best plan of action to apply courage?

Dear “The Courage to Confess:”

How many of you reading these columns confess your shortcomings, mishaps or missteps? By confessing, I don’t mean your “sins.” For example, if I am unknowledgeable about a topic (and there are many) or if I have not formulated an opinion about a topic, I respond with, “I confess I am not qualified to respond on that topic.” To confess is itself a mark of courage (based on the original definition of the word, meaning “heart and spirit”) and maturity. Last month (I confess with embarrassment and vulnerability), that when I attended my nieces’ wedding I had forgotten she was my God-child. I confess to you that I didn’t have the courage at the time to confess it!

A popular radio personality named “Sly” confessed to his community that he was addicted to painkillers and alcohol. He was not in trouble with the law, so he could have kept his predicament a secret. He did it because he hopes his openness will help others confront addictions. Putting the truth on the table inoculates you before someone exposes the situation, and it’s not a form of “telling before someone else tells you;” it’s divesting of constraints that hold the spirit down. I find that a rare form of courage. This popular radio host drew from his reservoir of courage and chose an action that validated his internal character.

Confessing is good for the spirit when it’s done in a timely manner and with the right intent. The process helps you face the truth; you take responsibility for what’s happening with your spirit and you clean up those missteps that collect unhealthy energy. What do you need to confess?

  • Do you need to confess to your children that you have not shared the whole truth about a family matter?
  • Do you need to confess that you responded at work to a political shake-up prematurely?
  • Will you confess during a risky-topic of conversations that you hold judgments about the topic?

Yes, you invite potential trouble when you stand in your courage and confess, but the gift you receive is that you hold yourself 100% accountable for your integrity.

A dear friend who decided to seek a divorce after 26 years of marriage said, “I confess that for all those years I was a fraud. I’ve never been truly happy in my marriage. I was not authentic about my feelings.” Now that’s courage (even though her everyday courage won’t make the media headlines). 

With over twenty years of original research on everyday courage and courageous leadership, I am referred to as The Courage Expert. I confess I’ve never done anything sensational, amazing or scandalous (that I’m aware of!). Confessing is a cousin to courage. Why don’t you try it?

Sandra Ford Walston is known as The Courage Expert. She is a sought after speaker and coach who has found that there is a direct correlation between your success quotient and your courage quotient. She has written numerous books including COURAGE The Heart and Spirit of Every Woman, the follow-up book The COURAGE Difference at Work:: A Unique Success Guide for Women and non-gender FACE IT! 12 Courageous Actions that Bring Success at Work and Beyond.

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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.

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