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Building Brave Careers

Creating brave careers is so much easier when we act from a place of clarity, purpose and conviction.

Carol Yang

“I feel like my secret magic trick that separates me from a lot of my peers
is the bravery to be vulnerable and truthful and honest.” – Katy Perry

All to often when we think of bravery we think of once off heroic acts…. Firefighters who run into burning buildings; the person who jumps into the rising flood waters to save a child in danger; or the whistleblower who takes a very public stance to report corruption in the workplace.

But the truth is there is no such thing as a small act of bravery. Responding to situations and making decisions – no matter how big or small – when there are no guaranteed results requires brave thinking and brave action.

We currently live and operate in times that crave a higher degree of bravery. Everywhere we turn there is a huge cry in our communities and businesses for a return to genuine authenticity, transparency and engagement. However the truth is, we can’t do any of these things without the bravery to be vulnerable, truthful and honest. To really show up, interact and give things our all.

As leaders (both or our own careers and the businesses we lead) we need to continually push things up a notch, question and challenge the ‘status quo’ and always strive to maintain and develop new standards of excellence. We need to feel comfortable with the fact that we won’t always have all of the answers; in stepping out of our comfort zone and we need to stop treading that same, familiar safe path. When we do we will drive both our careers and our businesses forward to new levels of success and create future opportunities.

When facing big decisions, new challenges or a changed environment, the saying ‘we are our own worst enemies’ often rings true for many of us. At the heart of it is fear – fear of failure, fear of what others think, fear of not being good enough. The expectations, limitations and fears that circle in our minds so often stop us maximizing not only our current opportunity but also our true capability.

Changing career paths, taking on a bigger or more diverse role, proposing new ways of doing business, voicing an opinion that is not shared by the consensus or standing up publicly to share your thoughts and views all requires a high degree of internal strength, conviction and bravery.

The reality is being brave can be hard. It is often much easier to sit back and do what we have always done and coast along than to do something different that might expose us to the world. Ironically though it is this very exposure that you need to progress and develop any real value in your career and business.

The good news is that bravery is something that we are all capable of. It has little to do with status, position, title or income. We can all choose to live bravely in what we do on a daily basis. Below are a couple of tips to help you do just that:

  1. Know what you want and WHY: Get crystal clear on both what you want and why. It is so much easier to be brave when acting from a place of clarity, purpose and conviction. Knowing both will allow you to proactively pursue pathways with confidence, take risks when called for and stand up and voice opinions when everyone else is quiet.
  2. Identify your strengths and your weaknesses: Understanding what both your strengths and weaknesses are will allow you to operate with a higher degree of productivity and efficiency and ultimately bravery. You will make decisions faster, reach out and ask for help earlier and encourage higher degrees of collaboration. When you are honest and transparent about what it is that you do well, you attract opportunities that capitalise on your talents and passions.
  3. Embrace vulnerability: In the words of Brene Brown “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change. Embracing vulnerability will allow us to navigate the ever-changing, ambiguous world that we live in with confidence. It does not mean that we will always get it right but it will teach us that we will be all right regardless of the outcome. It will allow us to live life more fully and to achieve a higher degree of satisfaction in what we do and why we do it.
  4. Identify your trusted inner circle of influence: We all need people around us to support, challenge and champion what it is that we do. The people that allow us to discuss ideas, make mistakes and succeed without judgment or criticism. They support our actions of bravery regardless of the outcomes.

Most of us don’t think of ourselves as brave. I believe every brave thing we do in life counts. It’s time we stood tall and claimed our bold and audacious selves and used – as Katy Perry says in the quote above – our secret magic trick to set us apart. . For it is only when we do that we will gain the confidence to continually live bravely.

Margot – The Career Diplomat

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