The Courage to Trust

Courage: the ability to do something that frightens one.

Trust: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, and strength of someone or something.

One need only turn on the news for a few moments to be overwhelmed with the human drama playing out in the world right now. Revolutionary movements attempting to topple dictatorships, natural disasters of epic proportions and the politics of fear driving policy-making bodies to the brink of implosion only add to the realities each of us face in our daily lives that threaten our safety and security. It is no wonder stress is rampant.

As I have searched in the past few days to find an answer as to how I can make a difference in these phenomenon’s, both large and small, my thoughts have continually returned to the only piece of this large, disparate puzzle that I can control—me. Being a leader is one thing; Living the Leadership Choice is another. I realized that even in an expanded sense of leadership where consensus, collaboration and true dedication to solving problems is the focus, it is not enough to change the world. If I am not living these principles in my life each day then nothing substantial can change because the fear and struggle are still alive within me.

The only way to get past being a victim of life’s circumstances, is to have the courage to trust—trust that each one of us has the ability to create the quality world we want to live in and ownership of our power to make it a reality. For so many of us, it is far easier to sink into anxiety over all the things we can’t control than it is to acknowledge our capacity to change the things we can control. On the flip side, are those whose blind trust in divine intervention keeps them from fully engaging in the life in front of them—the power to change the world comes from within each of us by bringing together a belief in our power to lead while striking the balance with the courage to allow life to unfold without being consumed by fear.

The series of disasters in Japan have gone to heart of demonstrating how fragile our well-equipped, well-run societies truly are. In each person’s response to these events is once again the choice between courage and fear, leadership and complacency. While the most tangible thing we can do is to send money and prayers to support those in the disaster’s midst, how many people are taking the next step of evaluating what they might do right now to shift their life to avoid creating similar circumstances? This does not mean racing out to buy iodine tablets in fear of radiation clouds rolling across the Pacific Ocean—it means looking at what choices we are making today and their future impact. Are we building communities are fault lines? Have we allowed development to take place in areas likely to be flooded? Does our lifestyle require many “things” that need to be produced and shipped throughout the world at great economic and environmental costs? This list is endless . . . and if every person who has felt a twang of empathy for those living through chaos in Japan changes even one thing in their life—the global impact would be tremendous.

Which brings us back to the courage to trust. Courage is not about ignoring fears—it is about choosing the empowered choice in front of you instead of sinking deeper into fear. Trusting is the essential element that keeps us focused on the possibility that each step we take brings us closer to our dreams and goals. Combining the two is a powerful force—the force of leadership that can, and is the only thing that will, change our world for the better.

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Andrew Krzmarzick

I just gave a colleague the book “The Radical LEAP” – it has one of my favorite stories about courage: