Developing courage

The First Responsibility of Leadership

The step-by-step development of courage in yourself is the first responsibility of leadership. The second responsibility is to develop and instill courage in others, your staff, your children, your spouse, your friends. But you must begin with yourself because you can't give away something that you don't have. You can only encourage others to the degree to which you experience and demonstrate courage yourself. You set the tone and determine the standard.

Courage Is Mastery of Fear

Here's the first rule: "Everyone is afraid." You're afraid, I'm afraid, everyone you meet is afraid in some way, often in many ways. As Mark Twain said, "Courage is not absence of fear; it is control of fear, mastery of fear." The brave person is the person who acts in spite of his or her fear, who faces the fear, feels the fear and moves forward regardless.

Confront Your Fears

Here's the second rule: "Fears diminish and lose their power over you as you confront them and move toward them; conversely, every time you back away from a fear situation, the fear grows and becomes more powerful."

Make It A Habit

The only way to develop courage is to consciously and continuously make a habit of confronting your fear of treating every fear-inducing situation as a challenge and as an opportunity to become stronger, more resolute.

Do The Thing You Fear

Here's the third rule:

"Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain."
Psychologists call this the process of "systematic desensitization," doing it over and over until it holds no fear for you at all.