Do you have the courage to lead? I remember the first time I was asked to be the keynote speaker for a conference about leadership. Nervous and filled with doubt, I wondered what did I get myself into. The butterflies were fluttering. I even felt nauseous at times as I prepared. This was new territory for me, but I was determined to not let my fears and anxieties hold me back from achieving my goal of being a valuable leader. This was a step I needed to take.
Before I walked on the conference stage that day, I collected myself and visualized success. Confident in my command of the subject matter, I convinced myself there was really nothing to fear. I knew that the audience wanted an engaging and capable speaker, which is what I always expected when I was in their seats as a listener.
I paused, took a deep breath and exhaled. The butterflies in my stomach rested their wings. When I was introduced, I threw my shoulders back, put one foot in front of the other, approached the podium mic and started my presentation.
Before I knew it, I was engaging with the audience, and they were engaging with me. My audience gave me encouragement! We all doubt ourselves from time to time, but when those moments happen, we must be aware of our need to overcome our uncertainties, remember our purpose, and achieve our goals. We must remember we have the courage to lead.
I Am Not The Only One
I relate that experience of mine because I attended a conference recently that covered a lot of fundamentals about running a business, all of which I needed to run my own. However, there was something more to this gathering, something that I had not seen at previous conferences I attended. Then it hit me. As I met the many attendees at the forum, what I saw beyond the fundamentals of how to run a business, was the courage to lead!
Women from all over the world attended to learn how to build and grow their businesses. What we all found there by the end was the courage to stay the course, conquer our worries and fuel the determination to drive our success.
The experience got me to thinking about why most leaders and businesses never take the next step to strive for something they really want. I now know that one of the biggest, if not the biggest barrier to any leader’s personal or business growth, is the fear to confront the fear of failure.
What Can We All Do?
So, how do we learn to fight rather than take flight when we are afraid to take the next step forward?
You and I are alike. We all need someone to encourage us. Someone who believes we have the qualities and skills to succeed. Someone who cheers us on to the finish line. Our obligation as leaders is to first summon the courage it takes to face and overcome our fears. Fear holds us back, but if within those moments of fright, we marshal the courage to step forward, we possess the foundational skill needed for success.
And that skill is courage!
Valuable leaders know that life, whether personal or professional, holds risks. But only when we have the courage to face the risk of failure can we enhance our opportunities for success. Leaders know that leading is about envisioning the future and believing that success is right around the corner. Leaders embrace risk as an empowering motivator to their success.
When we face the fear of the unknown for the sake of greater achievements, when we step outside our comfort zone, we learn more about ourselves. We learn that we are over-comers and that through determination and a little bit of grit and real hard work, we can achieve the goals we set for our lives and businesses.
Leaders are the one who must be willing to fail in order to win, and winning means mustering the breadth and strength of your leadership skills, which include courage. As the saying goes, no risk, no reward.
Leadership takes courage.
Take your leadership to the next level. Be a super hero. See doubt and fear as the enemy and courage and confidence as your super power. Take one step at a time. That’s what leaders do. They act, and they know that leading is more about their character and composure than their comfort.
There is more reward waiting for you — what are you waiting for? Be encouraged. You got this.
Do you have the courage to lead? Yes, you do have the courage to lead.
Step up to the mic.