When I hear the word “courage” I think first about physical danger; fighting fires, going to war, battles against Mother Nature.
But there are other sides of courage that we talk less about.
The courage to tell the truth.
The courage to reveal your vulnerability.
As anyone who’s been on stage can tell you, it takes real courage to stand in front of a crowd and proclaim your point of view or to perform.
Two other examples of courage stand out in my mind because they make me cry. I always cry at weddings and when I’m watching the Olympics.
Weddings feel courageous because, against all odds, and with no way to predict what’s coming, two people commit to spending the rest of their life together. That requires courage.
Olympic athletes are courageous because they’ve dedicated themselves to a difficult path, with lots of self-sacrifices, so that they can run that race. The odds say they most likely won’t win. That requires courage.
I wonder… are those examples of courage all that different from owning a business?
There is physical courage to business ownership.
I see a lot of business owners put their body at risk by pushing themselves. They work long hours. They don’t sleep. They drink too much coffee and eat too much fast food.
Do any of us think our years of business ownership is going to make us live longer?
There is emotional courage of braving into the unknown.
You may take on debt, leases, or other financial obligations you aren’t sure how you’ll pay back. You hire folks who trust you will provide their wages without being able to see what the future brings. That requires courage.
YOU ARE COURAGEOUS.
You’re courageous when you face fear; fear of failure, fear of looking ridiculous, fear of people thinking you’re a fool, fear of being judged, and all of that in a situation where you’re unlikely to “win” (whatever that means in this situation). That requires courage.
Every day people misunderstand your motives, your ways of working — they may judge you as selfish, or foolish, or impulsive. Very few understand what you are carrying, or what’s in your head.
But you’re courageous — you go in anyway. You want to be the one to determine your future — good or bad. You bet on yourself.
I want you to know that I notice and celebrate your courage and strength for getting this far. Well done!
When I started my entrepreneurial journey I didn’t know how exposed I’d feel, how vulnerable, how alone I’d be. Do you feel that too? I’d love to hear how you experience that in your business — are you courageous enough to hit reply and tell me 😉
A bonus quote for those who made it this far! Teddy really nailed it in this speech.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
― Theodore Roosevelt