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Leading with Courage
This year’s school theme invites us to consciously develop our ability to lead ourselves. It is easy to direct others, but how successfully are you able to lead yourself? To do this, you need to know yourself well. Knowledge is potential, not power. It is the application of knowledge that is power. It gives you the power to influence your future; power to shape your experience of success through self-development. To acquire such personal power, we need the courage to try. Our dreams do not work unless we do. Desires and hopes without action to reach them remain dreams. Thus, to harness the power in the knowledge we gain, we need to train the way we think about opportunities, success and failure. This is often not physical courage, but the psychological courage to face who we are honestly, and then, to want to be better.
Courage is a learned attitude. It is the way we think in the face of the most discouraging challenges and great danger. The time we show courage is when we are afraid. Not surprisingly then, most people are modest and do not think “courage” is a character trait that describes them. But this is not true. Everyone has a moment of courage that has strengthened their character and uniquely defines who they are. While it is possible for some to gain fame and glory from extraordinary physical courage, many ordinary people demonstrate courage in small but important ways in their daily lives. Mary Anne Radmacher, a prolific writer and an introvert, reassures us that “Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, 'I'll try again tomorrow.'"
There are broadly three ways we can think of courage. First, there is physical courage we often associate firefighters and soldiers. Next, there is psychological courage which is demonstrated when we have to confront something painful about ourselves. Finally, there is moral courage which is exhibited when we speak up for what is right, even if it is not a favourable opinion to a group of people.
Courage therefore connects us to something greater about ourselves. Leading with courage is very closely linked with self-control and character. In fact, courage is the outward expression of character. When we deliberately guide ourselves to make good decisions, we practice effective self-leadership. In this way, leadership is uniquely who we are.
In leading with courage, let us all try to demonstrate
the grace to peacefully accept the things that cannot be changed,
the courage to change the things that should be changed,
and the wisdom to know the difference.