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How to be courageous in business How to be courageous in business
How to be courageous in business

Kate Swoboda is creator of YourCourageousLife.com. She helps individuals, teams, and companies see where old, fear-based habits have kept people stuck or started to limit what’s possible for an organization, and then start creating more courageous lives. Ebonyonline.net caught up with her to find out what courage especially in business truly meant.



EOL: Can you define what you mean by courage and why you say it’s something that has to be habit-forming to be entrenched in us?
KS: I define courage as feeling afraid, diving in anyway, and transforming. There is no one who is truly “fearless,” so the work is about feeling our fear honestly and then deciding not to be stuck in it.


With that definition, I’m referring to emotional and psychological courage, and many of our emotional and psychological responses to the things that intimidate us or that we fear are habit-driven.


We turn to behavioural habits such as perfectionism, people-pleasing, pessimism, and self-sabotage when we are anxious or afraid and don’t even realize that these are behavioural responses.


It’s critical to change these patterns by getting clear on where there is anxiety or fear, what the habitual fear-based responses, and then interrupt those habitual responses with new, courage-based responses. With time, those courage-based responses can become our new, habitual ways of being.



EOL: You talk of accessing the body, listening without attachment and reframing limiting stories as ways of practicing courage, can you expand briefly?
KS: In the research for The Courage Habit, it was clear that fear isn’t logical; it’s primal. We need to attend to what we are feeling in order to make clear decisions, and that’s where accessing the body comes in.


We access the body to get clear on what we feel and identify and process our feelings. Listening without attachment and reframing limiting stories is about listening to what the fear has to say–rather than avoiding it or telling it to go away or placating it–and then reframing the limitation inherent in fear.


When we listen to what fear has to say, we put our energy into finding solutions to get unstuck, rather than hiding out and trying to outrun what we’re worried about.


Reaching out and creating community also emerged in the research as a courage-boosting behaviour, because when we have social support we find it easier to make progress, see where we’re getting stuck, and feel acknowledged when we experience success and shifts.



EOL: Can you give examples of people in the business world who practice being courageous?
KS: My definition of courageous, being that it encompasses leaning into the things we fear or that are uncomfortable, means that what I admire about different businesses has a lot to do with the values and integrity of an organization.


People who live their values and integrity in business are incredibly courageous because they’re taking the hard steps of really looking at what they are creating and being intentional.
To that end, I enormously admire Dr. Brene Brown, for the ways that she has used her research on courage, shame, and vulnerability to help people develop resilience coping tools and her most recent book, Dare to Lead, is phenomenal in helping business teams use these tools in a business setting.


Desiree Adaway is also someone I enormously admire because the way that she’s speaking truth to power, calling out white supremacy, and teaching people how to do the necessary work of looking at privilege and intersectionality takes a complex topic and makes it relational and applicable.


She inspires me and others to deeply investigate ourselves and the work that we do in the world. And, in all of these cases, no one is trying to be “fearless.” People are feeling their fear, and then doing something about it.



EOL: What are some of the ways business owners/entrepreneurs can become more courageous?
KS: Creating a business that is rooted in your values and vision, and that practices integrity in every area of its operations (including how you act as the director of the business) is vulnerable, tough work but I think it’s the most courageous work there is.


I think of courageous living as living in such a way that you live on the outside as how you are on the inside. You live in a way that’s true to yourself. Most entrepreneurs I’ve met get into business because they have a vision for something that can be better.


There are so many places along the way where the world will tell you to be small, to tone it down, to play by existing rules, or to give up. Deciding that your values and vision are important, and having the integrity to truly run your business in a way that aligns with that, is incredibly courageous.


How does one do this? By deciding to clarify what your values and vision are, how you and your business can operate with integrity, and then coming back to that again and again.



EOL: Finally what’s the first baby step businesses can begin to take towards this goal?
KS: The work to even be in business at all is courageous work, as it’s going to require vulnerability and visibility and experiencing rejection yet deciding to get back up and try again.


In The Courage Habit, I talk about how using tools such as accessing the body or reaching out and creating community help with those challenges. For instance, when you’re experiencing fear around being visible as you grow your business, you need an outlet such as accessing the body and releasing anxiety.


Having ways to recognise and then manage the fear that you feel is critical for the on-going work of growing as you run a business, so finding ways to release difficult emotions is the first place that I suggest people begin.


Kate Swoboda is the creator of YourCourageousLife.com, Director of the Courageous Living Coach Certification at TeamCLCC.com and author of The Courage Habit: How to Accept Your Fears, Release the Past, and Live Your Courageous Life. She helps individuals, teams, and companies see where old, fear-based habits have kept people stuck or started to limit what’s possible for an organization, and then start creating more courageous lives by getting into “the courage habit,” a four-part process for behavioural and organizational change.


Web :: https://www.yourcourageouslife.com
Gram :: https://www.instagram.com/katecourageous
FB :: https://www.facebook.com/YourCourageousLife
Community :: https://TeamCLCC.com

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