To master her external environment, a woman must first master one internal skill: Courage.
It takes courage for a woman to push herself forward into a world that often feels unwelcoming (if not outright hostile). Without the support and encouragement of our sisters, few of us would carry on. While we strive to be more courageous, it’s also important to take time to bring our women friends together to celebrate our successes. Affirming our progress together encourages us to tap into our feminine skills, unlock our personal power and create a better world.
Author and courage expert Sandra Ford Walston, writes that the bull’s eye that we women must learn to hit consistently is the true self. Courage is about acting from the heart, from the center of your innermost being. In my book Leading Women, 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business and Life, Sandra offers these tips to help women discover how they can harness their courage to hit the bull’s eye every time.
Focus on your true self. The false-self limits us. It fills us with self-doubt and fear of failure. Far too many women mistrust their own vision. By focusing on our true self, we access the empowering virtue of courage. We take aim at the true target of our life’s work, and being more on target makes us happier and more self-fulfilled. Ask yourself if you cherish your work. If you could chose a job you would love to do, what would your heart’s wish be? If you are disengaged at work, reflect on your aim and bring your own goal into view. Practice developing the skills that manifest courage at work and you will slice through your lack of self-contentment.
Become courageous by being courageous. Celebrate the courageous and noble acts you make in your day-to-day life. Take risks to continually reinvent yourself. Set challenging goals. Women with courage develop new business models when the door to an old model closes or the existing model no longer works. When asked if they have courage, they respond with an enthusiastic “yes.”
Ask yourself if your ego or mind is throwing you off. Start to notice if you are focusing on negative external factors rather than listening to the affirmation of your heart. As Eckhart Tolle writes in his book, The Power of Now, “say ‘yes’ to life and see how life suddenly starts to work for you rather than against you. Are you willing to say “yes” to courage? Assess, recognize and employ your underutilized strengths so you hit the mark more often.
Let go of unhealthy behaviors. To awaken your courage, you will need to let go of some unhealthy habits such as complaining or accepting mediocrity. As you invite an overall healthier perspective about who you are, you miss shots in your professional life less often. This takes energy, but it also releases energy that makes life fulfilling.
Do some form of meditation. Courage-centering begins with learning to stop and reflect so that you can live from the inside, from the core of your true being. Finding a meditation practice can help to reveal your unconscious motivations and awaken your courage. Meditation techniques promote focus, centeredness and spiritual awareness. Proven meditation techniques, such as prayer, yoga, therapy, reflective reading, playing a musical instrument, writing and so on, help to connect you with your spirit. Adopting a contemplative discipline begins the practice of targeting the bull’s eye, the self, in all aspects of life.
Notice other courageous women. Observe other courageous people like you: the person who confronted a bully on behalf of a peer, the person who volunteered for a challenging project, the person who lifted her voice above the crowd to speak the truth, or the person who did a job (any job) well from her heart-centered courage. Courage can be contagious and can transform the workplace.
As women sharpen their skills, they will continue to advance in the formerly off-limits areas of corporate business and government. Look around you. Reach out to other like-minded women in your world so you can help each other. When a woman meets success using her feminine skills, she can and should help other women do the same. Together we can accomplish the powerful results we want to achieve. As Aristotle wrote,
“Courage is the first of human virtues because it makes all other virtues possible.”