“Courage” doesn’t seem to be a word we associate with the corporate workplace. But our current pace of life may be dictating the necessity to exhibit courage in an entirely different way than how we have thought about it in the past.
We are all bombarded by information and lists of things to do that we think no one else has ever experienced before. And it may stress us and make us feel vulnerable when we’re living through such extraordinary times.
Here’s what’s important. We need to recognize the stress we’re under and actively combat our feelings of vulnerability, which takes courage. This courage needs to happen inside and outside of our workplace, regardless if we’re now working remotely or navigating business in an increasingly virtual setting.
Throughout my career, I never gave myself the luxury of feeling vulnerable because I substituted it with ambition and drive. But once I recognized and admitted to myself that I was fearful, the floodgates opened, leaving me not just in need of a lot of support but unable to function. The key is to be willing to allow yourself to feel anxious and reach out. Dropping your guard and being open in business and life takes courage.
In my past, I never recognized the value of being vulnerable, which is a state that literally means needing support. Instead, I would pride myself on being invincible, yet I was only fooling myself.
In this climate of an unthinkable pandemic, race relations at their lowest point, and our business world being totally disrupted, it would be abnormal not to feel anxious. Having been the poster child for refusing to seek help, I don’t recommend it. Anxiety shouldn’t be viewed as a flaw, but instead a feeling that provides an opportunity to assess ourselves and our environment. Having the courage to seek help or offer help to others is essential to thriving.
I used to lack courage and repress my true feelings. I tried to be invincible. Instead, I found myself overwhelmed by fear—about everyone and everything, and I was unavailable to others.
Now I know that courage leads to compassion, which enables me to admit my faults without fear. If I have the courage to admit my faults, I can recognize that none of us is invincible, and everyone needs support. And that paves the way to having a compassionate heart, which transcends into all aspects of our lives—encompassing business and personal.
I found this wisdom invaluable in the book, A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives, by Dr. Thupten Jinpa, a professor who teaches at Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education.