Written by Lee Weisser, Career & Life Coach
How do you build courage on your career journey?
Do you have a gremlin in your head telling you what you could have done or should have done to move your career forward - if only you were more productive, a better person, smarter, more creative, with more courage or [any other quality]?
We all have an ‘inner critic’ that tells us we’ve missed out on opportunities or failed to do what’s necessary to be successful – in essence, that we are not ‘enough’ as we are.
This message comes to us from our own minds, and usually has a long history that involves negative messages received from other people and/or our contemporary culture.
This negative thought process can become a default mechanism that rears its head whenever we find ourselves in difficult circumstances.
These thoughts and feelings keep us stuck in a perceived past and unable to break free.
The best help I have found on working through these emotions comes from researcher and author Brené Brown.
She has studied the issues of shame, perfectionism, anxiety and vulnerability over the past decade – and shares her personal struggles as well as those of the many people she has interviewed.
Her book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead, continues the conversation about how we can learn to engage the world by being our authentic selves – and not be afraid.
Brown’s main point is that courage comes from vulnerability, which at first seems counterintuitive. We usually equate courage with strength.
But in order to be open to new possibilities, you first have to be willing to acknowledge feelings of hurt, disappointment and fear.
That is the starting point for the path to joy, creativity and meaningful work.
Brown has a unique gift of communicating these hopeful concepts in a remarkable way. Read any of her books or blog posts and you will come away with a better capacity to accept yourself — just as you are.
PS – Finding a safe space to acknowledge these feelings is one of the reasons that people seek out a coach. A coach provides acceptance, not judgment. And only when our feelings are accepted can we move forward to a new place.
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