Nelson Mandela said:
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
The absence of fear is not courage. The absence of fear is stupidity!
We often wonder if we’re going to have the courage to face our greatest challenges. The truth is, you’ve been developing that courage all along.
We need to understand the three types of courage.
There’s heroic courage––that’s the easiest to see. That’s the type of courage you display when you truly put your life and safety on the line for someone else.
Today, heroic courage is what our healthcare professionals and first responders are showing us. And our military and others that are on the front lines of the pandemic.
It’s also the type of courage that is showing up in places you might not expect or recognize. It’s in the people who are serving us in the grocery stores, driving our trucks, picking up our trash and delivering our mail.
They don’t know what they’re exposed to––but they keep on keeping on.
There’s artistic courage. That’s the courage to subject your ideas, your thoughts and your performance to public scrutiny.
It’s also the courage of entrepreneurs whose businesses are on the line right now. People who are coming up with new ways to do business––untested. People who are innovating new solutions to common problems where common solutions are no longer readily available.
And there’s moral courage. That’s the courage to do the right thing even when––especially when it’s not easy, convenient, expedient or profitable. Sometimes even when it’s not in your best interest––but in the best interest of our communities and those with greater needs.
That’s the courage to do what it takes to support your family as things tighten up. It’s the courage to share that last package of toilet paper or meat with the person next to you––not knowing when the shelves will be stocked again.
It’s the courage to show your kids how to act bravely under pressure. And the courage business leaders are showing by going deep into reserves to keep people on the payroll, or calling an all-hands meeting to get everybody’s ideas for how best to get through.
You’ve shown one or more of these types of courage in the past. You’ve been courageous over the last few weeks. You’ll be courageous for as long as it takes.
And by acting with courage––you’ll en-courage others.
I was asked the other day about how we can increase our courage for times like this. Well––we’re doing it. We can train, we can prepare, we can do our best to anticipate––but courage is only revealed––and can only be practiced under fire.
Courage requires risk, danger––fear. It is these conditions that define courage and these are the conditions where we develop the courage we need to face the next challenge.
It’s not easy, but we need to embrace this opportunity to act with courage. To face our fears and do what needs to be done.
And that’s what courage really is. Not the absence of fear––but our ability to keep moving forward in spite of our fear.
And you’ve got this.