How are you driven by courage rather than being controlled by fear?

That’s the question I posed to Mark Wybenga, Department Coordinator for Community & Settlement Services at South Essex Community Council in Leamington, Ontario.

This is what he said, “When I am driven by courage….

  • Although I may be nervous or unsure about something, I’m trying to prove to myself that I am capable of doing it;
  • I know I have the support of others, regardless the outcome of the situation;
  • Actions are associated with positivity, assuredness, and being in touch with my feelings and emotions but not letting them rule me;
  • I can learn and grow from the situation and build momentum to keep going.”

When controlled by fear, Mark said…

  • “I’m trying to avoid something negative such as a feeling, emotion or consequence;  
  • It’s in the absence of the support of others, or at least not knowing where they are, one way or the other; 
  • I associate with negativity, extreme discomfort, and being irrational or catastrophizing to the point of wanting to seek some form of escape, either physically or emotionally; 
  • Growth and learning are stunted, thereby keeping you stuck or repeating the actions and behaviours that brought you to this point in the first place.”

“Courage is liberating and authentic.  Fear is confining and deceitful.”

 If we want to create a culture that cultivates courage, there are some very important key messages in what Mark has offered.

Support, assuredness, self-awareness, learning, growth, momentum and determination all encourages the confidence to act with courage. “Courage is liberating,” he said.  It is genuine and true.  Conversely, being controlled by fear is limiting and untrustworthy.

Here are some ideas for fostering and environment of courage:

  • Have a strong sense of purpose
  • Be authentic
  • Operate with honesty and transparency
  • Lead with compassion and empathy
  • Encourage idea sharing without judgment
  • Do not tolerate harassment or negative behaviour
  • Encourage others to share their input so that your vision can span all levels of your organization and everyone is on the same path
  • Attend to the needs of others and follow through with appropriate action
  • Offer opportunities for learning, creativity and innovation Nurture your own confidence and believe in others

If you are in a leadership position, you have a tremendous opportunity to be a role model and to inspire greatness in your family, business or organization.  If those around you can work with courage, they will be empowered with mental strength and grit to perform beyond normal expectations.

~ Lisa