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present (i.e., instead of replaying past moments or projecting future events). An introspective practice quiets the mind, so that soon you begin to manifest fulfillment and satisfaction at work by eliminating the old scripts, the obstacles that shape and limit your perceptions about your life. Consequently, outwardly manifesting our courage to overcome obstacles requires the paradoxical action of taking a step inward— deeper into our identities—to become increasingly self-aware. Only through self-knowledge, really knowing ourselves, can we begin to live fulfilled lives. For Blanche Napoleon, “The key to success is to have the courage to do everything differently. There are no shortcuts to gaining courage. It cannot be purchased in a store. Courage comes from within after a seed is planted. Time and experience nurture it.… I am not afraid to fail because my courage will allow me to learn from this experience and store the lesson deep inside.” Ninety-year-old Deborah Szekely, co-owner of Rancho La Puerta Resort and Spa boldly shared with me at a presenters’ dinner, “I am not afraid to fail!” Like any other ability, we all have the ability to manifest courage to varying degrees, but putting courage into action requires conscious choice. 8. Showcase your talents.  Do your talents energize others? How often do you stand animated and alone to showcase your talents? Are you comfortable in this potential awkwardness? John DePalma is vice president of a television production company, believes, “Before you can be straight with someone else, you must be straight with yourself. You must face obstacles head-on with all the facts in hand to make the best choices for the organization. It’s essential to recognize that these choices sometimes are painful but must be made.” John believes that “as a society we do not see a lot of these principles being applied … talked about yes, but put into action, probably not.” Reflect on your work environment for a moment. Are you respected for your talents? Or are you stuck in conformity? 9. Tackle the tough project. Are you a happy conduit enhancing the flow of success in your company, or has intimidation robbed you of a sense of purpose? Fear of failure is rapid in organizations and most people; yet, courageous leaders are willing to take on the tough project—the project no one wants such as making cold calls to start their business. As a clinical psychologist, David Travland could easily have been intimidated when he took on the project of getting his book published or when he decided to go into private practice. “When I opened my first private practice office, I visited and phoned referral sources, mostly physicians, to let them know I was available. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done because I knew in my heart that, at that moment, they didn’t care about me or my existence, but I knew I had no choice. I swallowed hard and made the calls.” Many people have shared that it was the “ugly project” undertaking that launched their success. 10. Hold yourself 100% accountable.  Uncertainty may seem unavoidable in our age of information overload, bombarded as we are with contradictory “facts” from every quarter making it harder and harder to distinguish truth from falsehood. How can one be accountable under these circumstances? You have a choice, and getting stuck in uncertainty is essentially choosing not to choose. By focusing your attention inward and following your heart, you strengthen your faith in your true, courageous self and step up, holding yourself 100% accountable. In Truth vs Falsehood David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. writes, “We eventually have to accept responsibility for our choices, decisions, and their consequences. Every act, thought, and choice adds to a permanent mosaic, our decisions ripple through the universe of consciousness to affect the lives of all.” 11. Work without regrets. Recognizing your past regrets, you notice how fear kept you in prison until finally you learn to work without regrets. In this courage action you stop blaming (yourself and others). Learning to stay present may not banish your personality’s fear and the blame that it spawns, but you will at least begin to diminish the tendencies (especially blame) that keep you stuck in fear. Fear blocks and paralyzes the heart; therefore, fear blocks courage. Rennie Davis writes in A Declaration for a New Humanity, “Blame is the choice to make yourself victim. Instead of blame and victim, you take responsibility for everything that happens to you. You create your own world. Ending blame is like ending a chronic addiction. One of the great steps in the journey of self-awareness is the day a person sees the subtleties of blame cascading through their thoughts and learns to unlock the prison created by the need to blame.” Then, the task is to cultivate courage and trust that going for it is better than dying without it. This is the difference between heart and mind. When your time comes to pass on what percentage of your life will be filled with regrets? 12. Remove yourself from bad situations. Do you have a childhood “survival story” that you hold onto for dear life? Such stories are ego-created scripts that block your path to growth, but they can be overcome by adopting a personal meditative practice, which helps to uncover motivations obscured by the controlling tendencies of ego. For example, experiencing abuse at work one time was simply enough for CEO Donna Cameron. She shared, “Sometimes, the most courageous thing we can do is leave a toxic workplace or stand up and say, ‘this is who I am, and if that isn’t what you want here, let’s get that out in the open right now.’” Donna knew there is a time in the psyche when you finally reach the point where one must claim one’s courage and stop selling the soul. She found that this quote by Anais Nin moved her to action: And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. PE Sandra Ford Walston, known as The Courage Expert and innovator of StuckThinking™, is a learning consultant, corporate trainer and courage 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. Sandra’s the internationally published author of three books: COURAGE: The Heart and Spirit of Every Woman, FACE IT! 12 Courageous Actions that Bring Success at Work and Beyond and The COURAGE Difference at Work: A Unique Success Guide for Women. Email sandra@sandrawalston.com Webcast www.sandrawalston.com Courageous Leadership 30 Submit your Articles Personal Excellence essentials presented by HR.com | 10.2014


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