Courage Always Exists In The Present. What Can I Do Today?

January 30, 2010 6 Comments

The final meditation on followership from Ira Chaleff’s book “The Courageous Follower” is: Courage always exists in the present. What can I do today? I am convinced that if more people would assume responsibility for asking themselves each and every day “what can I do today to make a difference?” that our organizations would experience radical transformation.

Most of your peers are playing it safe. They don’t want to stand up, stand out, and risk rejection or challenge. They are content with doing just enough to get by, and by their own behavior our leaders encourage the perpetuation of this pattern.

We can do better, and because we can, we should. Without courage, this is all just rhetoric. Courage has to start today, and it has to start with you.

No organization can empower you - only you can empower yourself. But you have to have the courage to give yourself permission to do something your peers are not willing to do. If you don’t find that courage today, in the little things, you will never have the courage when things get really challenging.

You have a lot more power than you think. People are watching you. They want to know who you are, what your intentions are toward them, what you are going to stand for today. Someday your peers may grant you the privilege to lead them, and when that time comes you need to be ready to serve them with distinction. Even if that day never comes for you, you need to practice courage today so that you can be even better prepared to serve your colleagues that do assume the leadership role.

Leaders need remarkable followers much more than followers need a remarkable leader.

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Comments (6)

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  1. Gene says:

    Bret,
    You have great suggestions and references through this BLOG. I strongly support your point of view. It supports my empathy for people who say they “don’t have time”. NO ONE has time for ANYTHING if it were up to pessimists. YOU must make time to DO the things it requires to reach YOUR GOALS; there is no time machine nor is there any person who can do this for you. It frustrates me to hear people say they “don’t have time”. It is not time they are lacking, but priorities.

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    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    We can always find an excuse to not do what needs to be done, Gene. YOu are very correct about courage being a choice and matter of priority. Thanks for sharing! Bret

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  2. Bret,
    The effects of the two days in your class in December has been welcomed into our home since attending. We are experiencing constant growth because of it.
    Today was my birthday. And today our family lost a horse we have grown up with by our side, teaching us, trusting us and depending on us. Shyla rode him carrying the Reno Rodeo flag in June just last year. They carried the American flag for the Reno Aces in their stadium and she has learned a great deal from him.
    And today I listened to your blog, my birthday blog and it resonated in my heart. So, for Doc and in celebration of life I will ask What can I do today, every day with courage.

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    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Welcome to my blog, Shari! So very sad to hear of the loss of your horse. Your family already has more courage than most folks you probably know, but courage is not absolute, not a destination. There is always more you can do today to get stronger and be more helpful to those around you. Thanks for sharing! Bret

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  3. “You have to have the courage to give yourself permission…”

    Spot on, Bret. How often do we look outside of ourselves to others for that permission, when it’s something we need to give ourselves? Empowerment comes from within, not without.

    Thank you for having the courage to write this!

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    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    We look outside ourselves far too often, Christine, not only for permission, but also for someone to blame. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Bret

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