Let’s talk about Courage and how to Find Your Lion: A conversation with Bill Treasurer


The concept of courage has been front and center in my mind lately.  For those of you reading for a while, you may have observed that I have been building up to this.  There are connections, both directly and thematically in many of my blogs about driving change.  Most specifically within The Revolution of One, Stop, Look and Listen, Anatomy of a Change Agent, Penguin Leadership, and Being Lionhearted©.

I believe that we are at multiple crossroads.  I see the need for significant changes within businesses, within the political arena, and within social structures.  All three of these are connected in multiple ways across multiple dimensions.

I’ve come to the conclusion that we don’t just need Change Agents, that we need Lionhearted Change Agents ©.  That to truly drive the changes we need, more people will need to step out of their comfort zones.  Many of us need to be more courageous more often.  We must be aware of “social norming” and combat it at the source.  Not just how we act, but also how we react.

After writing Being Lionhearted©, I posted the following question in Linked In.

What does courage cost? How is it rewarded or suppressed? It takes great courage to drive long term, sustainable change? What can be done to build courage in today’s environment?

I had several motivations for doing this.  Not the least of which was to generate a dialog within a group of individuals who should already be Change Agents.  To ask them to think further and deeper about courage.  To encourage and challenge them to become more courageous themselves.

One of the participates in the on-line dialog is Bill Treasurer.  Bill is founder and Chief Encouragement Officer at Giant Leap Consulting (GLC), a courage-building company.  Bill established this company in 2002 to help people and organizations live more courageously.  He is the author of Courage Goes to Work, a book about how to inspire more courageous behavior in workplace settings.  His first book, Right Risk, is about how to take smart risks.  It draws on Bill’s experiences as a daredevil athlete.  Personally, I can’t imagine diving off of 100 foot platforms like he did!  Yikes.  Talk about Courage.

I had a chance to speak voice-to-voice with Bill regarding his background and experiences.  Bill believes “…that with less fear and more courage, workers take on harder projects, deal better with change, and speak up more willingly about important issues.”  I agree wholeheartedly with him.

Bill’s view is “…that individually and organizationally, people can generally be divided into two camps: safety-seekers and opportunity-seekers.  During times of heightened anxiety or uncertainty, such as NOW, the Camp Safety swells with refugees.  There is a danger in this flight to safety.  Just when our organizations need us to provide ground-breaking (and tradition-defying) ideas, we are, instead, hunkering down underneath our desks.”

Below are some of Bill’s tips for helping you be more courageous at work.  This list was extracted from his latest article, The First Virtue.

  • “Be Mindful of the Risks of Not Risking. The risk of inaction is usually more perilous than the risk of action.  As you consider a risk, be clear about the dangers of not taking the risk, too.
  • Ask the Holy Question. Here are the four most important words you’ll ever learn in the English language: What do you want? Most people don’t take the time to answer that question with specificity.  Those who do, however, are in a much better position to figure out the actions they need to take in order to get what they want.
  • Have Something to Prove. Take on challenges that cause you to have to prove yourself to yourself.  When the going gets rough, having something to prove can be a source of energy and motivation.
  • Make Forward-Falling Mistakes. Making no mistakes is just as dangerous as making too many.  Have a “mistake ratio,” a good balance between not making enough mistakes and making too many.  As long as the mistakes you make are forward-falling, you’re making progress.
  • Harness Fear. Fear is a normal, natural and necessary part of the work experience.  While uncomfortable, fear has energy, and that energy can be useful when facing tough challenges.  Harness your fear by spending time with it.  The more you experience the thing that you’re afraid of, the more desensitized you become to it.
  • Jump First. The best way to encourage those around you to be more courageous is to be more courageous yourself … first!  Ask yourself, “When was the last time you did something courageous that probably left a favorable impression on the people you work with?”  In other words, when did you last jump first?”

You can learn more about Courage Goes to Work, Bill’s international bestseller, at www.couragegoestowork.com.  Bill’s newest courage material, Courageous Leadership: Using Courage to Transform the Workplace, comes out in early 2011.  It’s an off-the-shelf courage-building training program being published by Pfeiffer.  Personally, I can’t wait to see it.

My hope is that you can find a bit more courage within yourself.  That you not just Own Your Elephant , but that you Find Your Lion Inside.  That you take positive action rather than just observing or standing aside.  It takes time, courage, and energy.  I’m hoping that you can find a bit more inside yourself and join my Change Revolution.  Cheers.

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Guiding Principles

- Think Holistically
- Seek the Root Causes
- Respect the Individual
- Demonstrate Accountability
- Collaborate with Clients
- Work with Integrity, Always
- Relate to the Business Strategy
- Ensure Alignment
- Demonstrate Responsibility
- Transfer Skills

Thoughts and Quotes