How to Lead with Courage
My student Marva has her annual fundraiser coming up. It’s a ton of work for her organization but is a crucial contributor to their yearly budget. It takes all hands on deck to pull it off, including the Program Coordinator Natalie’s. And Natalie has a mind of her own.
Marva is dealing with a strong personality!
Natalie is, shall we say, strong-willed! She is pushy, bossy, and controlling. Even though Marva is the Director of the organization, Marva always feels intimidated when Natalie walks into a meeting. Perhaps that’s because in the past when she’s questioned Natalie or pushed back, Natalie came back harder than ever.
Marva is a pleaser
️The impact of Natalie’s strong personality is that Marva tends to hold back or goes along with Natalie’s ideas because it’s easier than asserting herself.
Marva’s trying to be more courageous
When Marva asked her boss for help to deal with Natalie this year, her boss said: Just do it! Walk into the meeting and take charge! Don’t let her boss you around.
Marva hasn’t got great advice!
That kind of advice sounds like Marva should head to the bathroom and quickly change into her superhero outfit🦸♀️
But the truth is, if she didn’t have the confidence to deal with Natalie before, how could useless inspiration like, Just do it, help? It won’t.
When Marva complained to her friend about Natalie’s domineering personality, the advice she got was no better. Marva’s friend suggested Marva was afraid of Natalie. You have to feel the fear and do it anyway, Marva’s friend told her.
Yeah — sooooooo helpful! NOT!
The fear has always been there. How do you suddenly push it aside?
Inspirational quotes can’t help Marva!
Inspirational quotes dominate your newsfeed, call you from the isles in every store and sit in the corner of your daytimer.
- Just do it.
- Feel the fear and do it anyway.
But that doesn’t really tell you what to do, does it?
Let’s go back to Marva’s problem. She’s dealing with a difficult person.
️️Do you think Marva feels afraid?
What does fear feel like for you and Marva?
Think about someone you have to deal with that you don’t like or have trouble working with. When you go into a conversation or meeting with that person, do you feel the classic signs of fear?
- Is your heart racing?
- Are you hyperventilating?
- Are your knees knocking?
- Are you sweating profusely?
- Is there a tightness in your chest?
My guess is no.
Or worse, your never thought about it before 🤷♀️
Tuning into your body is the first step
What Marva realized as she worked through the Body Sensations worksheet in the course material, was that she never really tuned into her body before. When she mentally put herself back in the meeting, she realized, what Marva felt was more like a knot in her stomach.
- The problem was because Marva hadn’t tuned in to her body sensations; she’d passed that feeling off in the past as constipation
But that’s not what it was!
Marva also realized she tensed up and felt almost a paralyzing feeling. Like she could only nod her head in agreement, but not get any words out. In fact, Marva realized in this situation that it was more like anxiety than all-out fear.
We don’t always feel the classic fear signs at work
Fear shows up differently for each of us. It also depends on the situation. If a bear is chasing Marva, her heart might be racing, and she might be hyperventilating. But in a meeting, with a co-worker who has a strong personality, fear can often be misunderstood, overlooked or dismissed.
⭐️Feel the fear and do it anyway is a powerful inspirational message when you do it.
By do it, I mean do the first half of the sentence:
Feel the fear ⭐️
Access your Inner Wisdom to gain control of your emotions
If you don’t slow down and PAUSE and then PONDER about your thoughts, feelings and body sensations, you’ll never get to the point where you can PIVOT from realizing you are experiencing fear and staying quiet to feeling the fear and asserting your voice.
You will never have the courage to PROCEED into that meeting just as your boss told you to do and take control of the meeting. If you don’t slow down and access your inner wisdom, you won’t get to the second half of the sentence. Feel the fear and do it anyway.
When you and Marva access your inner wisdom,
you become courageous women leaders!
Courageous women leaders still get afraid.
- They continue to question their abilities.
- They doubt they can handle situations.
And, courageous women still feel the urge to run away from all of the stress.
The difference is that courageous women leaders FEEL THE FEAR.
They tune into their bodies and sense what fear feels like viscerally.
- They wonder what their body sensations are telling them.
- Then they question their thoughts and often alter them.
- That allows them to choose their emotions.
They become emotionally intelligent and can manage, not suppress their emotions.
Can you do what Marva did?
That’s what Marva did. Once she realized what fear felt like, she was able to manage her fear and anxiety. Managing her fear put her back in control of her emotions, rather than that fear controlling her behaviours.
Learn to calm your mental chatter
Did Marva march into the next planning meeting and put Natalie in her place? No. But she did roll her shoulders back, hold her head up and paid attention to that tightening in her belly. Then Marva calmed her mental chatter, reminded herself: One step at a time. I’ve got this (10 Mantras to Strengthen Your Leadership)
And she was able to voice her opinions and ideas more strongly.
You sure can!
Marva walked out of that meeting, feeling stronger and more courageous. All because she tuned into her body sensations. As Marva increases her emotional intelligence, she continues to grow her courage and confidence. Rather than being hijacked by emotions or having specific experiences shut her down, she’ll be more conscientious of what’s going on.
- Instead of reacting the way she always has, she’ll start to respond confidently.
To turn the useless inspirational quote into useful leadership help, YOU need to dig a bit deeper. You need to understand what the inspirational message means and then how to apply it.
Get used to flowing through the steps of the Inner Guidance Cycle to access your inner wisdom.
- On this page, you’ll find resources to help you use the Inner Guidance Cycle and a link to download a PDF image of the Inner Guidance Cycle so you can put it on your bulletin board. I laminated mine and use it as a bookmark!
For more help:
If you want to join Marva in growing your Emotional Intelligence, you may also be interested in the Emotional Control by Increasing your Emotional Vocabulary course that is inside of The Training Library.
Try the Emotional Control course with this free lesson
Tuning into your body will make you a stronger and more courageous leader!
Don’t forget to check out the free lesson to help you tune into your body sensations inside of The Training Library here: Emotions Through the Day