In 2008, a movie called The Bucket List was released, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. The two play terminally ill cancer patients who escape from a hospital, setting out to accomplish a list of adventurous things before they kick the bucket. The movie encourages us to be courageous. When you become keenly aware of life’s brevity, you become more willing to live it courageously.
If you knew you had only one more year to live, you would respond to the world very differently than you do today. And that response would be to live courageously. I’m sure you’d try more things, like traveling to exotic places or learning how to ride a motorcycle. And you’d make amends to people and open yourself up to trusting them more fully. I’m sure you’d express yourself with less care as to what people think of your opinions. In short, you would behave with more TRY, TRUST, and TELL courage.
All of this relates to how you manage people, too. Your employees are entitled to have a fulfilling career. That’s right, entitled! They bear much of the responsibility for crafting a fulfilling career. But you, as a manager, also bear some responsibility. Helping them to act with courage in the service of the company’s goals is not enough. You have to help them to be courageous in the service of their career goals, too. As a manager, you can do both by holding them accountable to their own potential, and providing them with meaningful and courage-inducing challenges. You have to fill them with courage.
I want you to live a long, healthy, and courageous life. And I want you to have a long, prosperous, and courageous career. I really do. What I don’t want is for you to have career and life longevity only to end up sitting on a barstool someday, com-plaining about all the things you wish you had done. Regrets, especially over things we should have done but didn’t because we were too comfortable or afraid when we faced them, burn hot in our souls. The risks we regret the most are always the ones we didn’t take.
Giant Leap Consulting is all about living and leading courageously! In my opinion, courage is vitally important to life and work. I encourage people to think of those two words when facing challenging situations, intimidating people, or moments of hardship. Be courageous when you want to ask for a raise. And when you need to deliver a tough message to an errant employee, or when you suffer a career setback. Be courageous when you are thinking about transferring overseas and when situations or people try to compromise your integrity. Be courageous when you or someone else is being bullied and when you are deciding whether to start your own business. In work and in life, for yourself and for others, in all you do and say, be courageous!
The good news is, you’ve already had a lot of courageous life experiences to draw from. In other words, you already are courageous! Courage has been living inside you since the day you were born. You were courageous on your first day of school and when you learned how to drive a car. It took courage to leave home for college. And you were courageous when you said “I do,” and later when you bought a home. You were courageous when you went on your first job interview, became a manager, and led a huge project for your company. You were courageous every time you were afraid and uncomfortable but carried on anyway. All you have to do now is more of what your whole life has been teaching you to do: Be Courageous!
And the workplace needs your courage. But the rest of your world needs it, too. Courage goes to work wherever you take it. Whether at home, in your place of worship, on the racquetball court, in your civic organizations, or in your community, your courage is always needed. Think what the world would look like with less fear and more courage.
This passage was an excerpt from Courage Goes to Work. How will you put courage to work in your organization today?