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Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

I find myself not in Kansas anymore. This month of June has been a journey along the yellow brick road. It has provided me with a unique lens to view my office and myself through—and no I didn’t borrow those fancy green ones from the wizard.

Looking at my office and reflecting on myself, I wondered; how could my office transform if there were a few more displays of courage?

My mind began to spin like a twister with questions. What do I mean by courage? What would displays of courage look like? Do people even think of being courageous at work(do you)?

So courage means…

Well there’s the cowardly lion who wanted courage and if this were a word problem we would say coward = lion – courage and so –courage = coward + lion therefor by the transitive property –courage = (lion – courage) + lion, ok this isn’t really working.

The wizard tells the lion, “All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.” From the wizard we can understand courage as two parts: 1. confidence in your whole imperfect self and 2. a willingness to show up.

Now that there is an understanding of what courage means, what might it look it?

Let’s start with the second part of that definition: showing up. Obviously we all show up at work, otherwise we wouldn’t be taking home the bacon at the end of the week, but who, which you, is showing up at work (don’t pretend there aren’t more than one – even our grammar books know this truth. It’s why you is always plural – ok I just made that up, but it makes sense)? It’s a scary thought to show up as your whole imperfect self. Our jobs don’t really promote imperfection, so we hide it. This brings us to the first part of our definition: confidence in your whole imperfect self.

It can’t be easy to display confidence in yourself, if you’re constantly hiding parts of that self. I recognize in me, the fear of being my authentic self and the perpetuation of choosing to show up as who I thought I should be and not who I am leads to feelings of disconnection and disengagement. It’s hard to be confident with feelings like that. Hiding our imperfections lead to the double D feelings, so what are we afraid of in letting them be seen within our whole self?

I challenge you to find a moment in your office where you can display courage; where you can confidently show up as your whole imperfect self.

It’s a lot like getting into the pool for the first time, the water is a little cold, so you put a foot in, take a foot out and then slowly inch in. Some people jump right in, but no worries…there isn’t a wrong way.

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Marian Henderson

I also see courage as showing up even when you’re not confident of yourself or your idea. Are you willing to stick your neck out and make a suggestion even when you’re unsure of how it will be received? Can you set aside your pride or your need to be right long enough to suggest a different approach?