This is the third and final part of a series on fear, embarrassment, and growth. Read the second part, “Embarrassment: The Price You’ll Pay for Personal Growth.“
Sometimes growth takes powering through some really uncomfortable things.
In the working world, that can be everything from asking for a raise to confronting a coworker, or even just taking on a new and unfamiliar task.
Most of the time the fear that causes that discomfort is unfounded – embarrassment is the most common “danger” any of us can face in a modern world.
Even though our dangers are smaller, we need something like courage to get through them. Ancient philosophers were right to call it a virtue, and they still are.
But there’s more to taking on a challenge – personal or professional – than just having the courage to act. The second (and better) part of courage is acting well.
If your only focus in a difficult time is “just doing it,” you are going to miss out on that. If you’re stuck on your own fear and your own courage, you’re going to miss out on the learning and the iterative improvements that come from work.
The solution lies in motivation. As valuable as it can be to do things just because they’re scary, thrill-seeking doesn’t promote growth. Only the entrepreneurial mindset – a mindset bent on creating the most value – can adapt to fear enough to improve even in the midst of unknown problems.
The entrepreneurial person won’t just have the courage to give a public pitch for his idea – he’ll work in the moment to read his audience and deliver a pitch that works for them. She’ll not just stand up for her own idea – she’ll provide good reasons and appeal to the self-interest of her opponents.
There are a lot of entrepreneurial people out there without the courage to act, and too many courageous people without the skill of creating value with their courage. Finding a balance takes time, experience, and a lot of thought.
If you identify as one of these, you should start thinking about what’s holding you back from growth. Next time you’re facing an uncomfortable challenge, act. But don’t stop there. Think. Create. Master. Your courage is only valuable if you do these things.