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?

Showing Amazing Courage Everyday

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Roman philosopher, Seneca, wrote “Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” 

Learning a new skill, balancing work and family, or transitioning to a new industry is rarely celebrated as stories of courage. Everyday courage has been relegated to the mundane. Isn’t that a shame? We should be in awe of the heroes of amazing stories of courage…and of our neighbor’s everyday courage as well!

Over the years I have gathered examples of what I call "amazing courage." These types of stories areeveryday courage the antithesis of my extensive fourteen years of research. I focus on the footnotes of everyday people.

The word courage is interpreted more frequently in the media as the word heroic. CNN featured “Courage Under Fire” about the loss of naval personnel at the Pentagon during the annual review of September 11, 2002.
•  Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt and Princess Diana are heroic images. Washington D. C. is a virtual shrine to heroes.
•  The heroic actions of the United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed into a farmer’s field outside a small town in Pennsylvania, and the heroic responses we watched on television during the World Trade Center terrorist attack demonstrate contemporary examples.
•  Even PGA golf tournament commentators refer to a challenging golf shot: “Tiger’s going for another courageous shot!” This statement implies risk-taking or “going for it.”
•  The commentator for the Kentucky Derby on May 3, 2003 called the race a “Courageous race.” A quote from the movie “Sea biscuit says it all: “It’s never their feet; its right here” (points to his heart). The etymology of the word courage is Old French, corage, meaning “heart and spirit.” We saw courage actions by Penny Chenery Tweedy as she guided her long-shot but precocious stallion, Secretariat, in 1973 to win the Triple Crown.
•  While many claim that courage and heroic are synonymous, using them as such does a disservice to the concept of courage. Firefighter Captain Mary agrees, “People notice heroes dealing with disaster and emergency responses. When a civilian dials 911 for help, it’s the worst day of his/her life. But, it’s no big deal to me. I don’t appreciate it when my career is integrated or associated with disasters much less heroism. I am a skilled professional doing my job.”
•  Tori Murden McClure (who rowed the Atlantic Ocean solo) showed physical courage.
•  Most of the time, courage is focused on fictional drama or soap opera sagas, unrelenting sorrow, sensationalism, famous people or the historical deceased; otherwise, they wouldn’t be on television, make history books or be featured on a PBS documentary. Great leaders have always acted from their hearts. For the rest of us, notions of courage as only extreme heroism diminish the opportunities to claim and display the heartfelt value of courage in us all.
•  “Amazing Stories of Courage” was an Oprah Show that featured several non-gender vignettes about startling stories they deemed as courage. One example was overcoming leukemia and another was coping with life as a paraplegic after saving a child from a fatal accident. When the producer asked me to analyze her interviews based on my research, I found myself saying, “I never want these situations to happen to me or my loved ones.” Supporting and associating the word courage only with these types of images discount everyday actions in everyday people. I know, I am one of them!
•  Christopher Reeves is a contemporary story of amazing physical courage. A spokesperson for the advancement of paraplegics walking, he was determined to walk again. To ensure we are informed about his progress and intent, his son produced a documentary called “Courageous Steps” for ABC television (9/18/02). Events of this magnitude challenge people to reexamine their entire lives and values.

As one of my dear friends shared, “Small steps of courage accumulate into a big feat.” Thank you Polly for your heartfelt courage!

Sandra Ford Walston is known as The Courage Expert and innovator of StuckThinking™. She is an organizational effectiveness consultant, speaker, trainer and courage coach. She is the internationally published author of bestseller COURAGE The Heart and Spirit of Every Woman (2001), the follow-up book STUCK 12 Steps Up the Leadership Ladder (2010) and the recently released FACE IT! 12 Obstacles that Hold You Back on the Job (2011). She is certified in the Enneagram and MBTI®. Please visit www.sandrawalston.com.

Follow me on Twitter @courageexpert and Facebook

© Sandra Walston

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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 www.sandrawalston.com where she posts a courage blog and courage newsletter.

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