Courage Is Not Without Fear

Photo Credit: Reuters/South Australia Police

I don’t know about you, but my tolerance levels have changed.  My willingness to take in certain things, mainly news and information sources, and my choices about how to process them are changing.  I think there is a certain level or capacity for fear and negativity which, once reached, the human spirit tends to turn back from and refuse to go further with.  I think there is a time at which the human spirit draws itself up, shakes itself off, declares “this is ridiculous” and decides to go forward with more strength.
It has been one thing to sit in our spaces, with time to contemplate the original fear and loss of control of being confined to those spaces, with the threat of what might befall us outside our safe zone.  Then there has been the alternation between resting mind and “is this the end of things as we know it” thinking.  For many, it’s been the concern about whether their entire financial future was about to cave in; job options lost or diminished; responsibility for teams of people and how and whether they move forward – all of these weighty, keep-you-up-till-3am considerations.
As my tolerance level has changed, and my choices about what to let into my brain have changed too, I’ve started to notice different things.  I’d like to share with you a few of the things that I have let in this past week, and the common thread I believe they take up.
The teams I work with have been heavily on my heart and mind these past few weeks.  They are people I’ve come to know and appreciate.  Some have continued to provide essential services – allowing them to continue to work even though the playing field they’re operating in has changed significantly.  Some who had gathered momentum from incredibly hard work done in 2019 have chosen to take large cuts to try and ensure the survival of their team in 2020.  Some are considering how they can protect their people when they are allowed to return to work – people who have become the family within their business, and whose lives they feel responsible for.  No doubt they are representative of many teams of people around the globe.
The essence flowing through all of the teams I’m familiar with, and through the information I’m currently prepared to let in, seems similar.  It is courage.  The willingness to act despite the fear.  Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”  Nelson Mandela said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.  The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”.  What this current chapter of ours has summoned are the deep character traits that dwell within us.  I am choosing to focus on those who are finding courage despite their fear.

Another quote which has landed well with me is the following.  If you’re currently asking yourself what to do next and how to move forward, I believe this is simple and accurate:

At some stage, even for those who have been on lockdown in their own space for weeks will have to come out again.  Those who run businesses will have to make decisions about how to move forward with the responsibility for their people on their shoulders.  Courage is not the absence of fear, but the assessment that something else is more important.  The livelihood of our businesses and the people they support is important.  The health and community of our teams are important.  Communication and belonging are important.  Strength together is important.
Here are two other sources that I’ve allowed in this last week where action and repair have been the predominant messages (links attached):

Mother Nature has not asked for permission.  She has taken the opportunity to repair and to show us what’s possible in ways we never could have guessed.  She has felled arguments about “what if” and demonstrated just how quickly she can reclaim her space if we just step back.  Around the world, individuals are coming together to find safe ways of serving their communities in this new chapter, reminding us that we’re still ultimately one big team of people trying to find the best way forward.
Courage is not the absence of fear.  This is not an act or don’t act scenario.  This is a “let the fear guide you and find solutions that work for everyone so that we can move forward as a team” scenario.  This is a scenario that will teach us to “put the things we can control in order, repair what is in disorder, and make what is already good better.”  Whether those things are our relationships at home, the way we work to ensure the survival of both our team and business, the way we deliver value to our community and the world, or the things we choose to notice and let in to our mind, heart and space – allow this time to strip away the walls and the impurities, the divisions and the excuses, the unhealthy competition and the lack-lustre offerings.
Let’s figure out how to do what we do with courage.  With community.  With growth, repair and making what is good, better.  Nothing is perfect right now.  We need not be either.

by Christen Killick

April 27th, 2020

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