Today, I was in a room full of remarkable people, making a list of what qualities make someone remarkable.
The predictable elements were listed:
After 15 or so elements were listed on the post-it board… courageous was added to the list.
When you are courageous (or fearless, bold – some synonyms), you have what you need to face the inherent uncertainty in all growth. It is the opposite of what most corporate hacks are: risk-averse. If we had more if it at work, we’d have more innovation for sure, but we’d probably have more real conversations. When you are courageous, you will be authentic and honest, you will perseverance rather than give up, and you will be brave even when you would rather not be.
In all the years of studying courageousness, I’ve never met anyone who actually sees themselves as such. They’ll typically give you one of those pheshaw sounds if you even suggest such a thing. Maybe they just don’t know how to brag? But I think it’s more that courageous is about being clear.
When you are clear, it is almost as if you didn’t make a choice. It wasn’t as if you were looking actively at Choice A and Choice B as equal. It becomes more a matter that you know which choice to make, and whatever isn’t in alignment with that… just fades almost out of view.
Many years ago, I was in my office, talking to some friends on a conference call when they asked me a question and I heard myself say, “I no longer want to be here.” I was referring to the business and the team that I had built from nothing, Rubicon. Rubicon was incredibly important to me; Not only did it provide a sizable part of our family income, it had many commitments including the many people on payroll and 1099s, it allowed me to do work I LOVED, and anyone who knows me from back then knows that it formed a big (big, big, big) part of my identity. To hear that phrase pop out of my mouth, “I no longer want to be here”, surprised me immensely…
And, you know how sometimes you wish you were a cartoon character where the word balloon is right over your head… I wanted to reel back those words. … . But I couldn’t.
Not only was it out there for everyone to hear, I heard it. And it got me thinking. And while there was a long set of decisions to make final one that led me from there to here, I can say the key to any courage I get credited for… was really that I listened to my own truth.
Courage does not roar. It does not need to.
The truer that voice, the louder it will sound, and the farther it will reach. That’s why I believe great innovators pay attention to the thoughts that come from their heart. They honor their truth. Because this knowledge will lead you forward. It will give you courage. It will make you brave. And perhaps, it will lead you to be even more remarkable than you already are.