What would 1% more courageous look like?

What does 1% more courageous look like for you? This is a question my coach asked me right at the start of our work together. It helped me make some changes because it felt manageable. How can this seemingly modest shift make a profound impact on your life? In this blog post, we'll explore the notion of incremental courage and discuss practical ways to foster this mindset. Although specifically tailored for women in leadership, read it and take what is meaningful for you. 

Understanding Incremental Courage

The concept of being 1% more courageous holds particular significance for women navigating leadership roles. For women in leadership, courage often manifests in different dimensions—navigating male-dominated spaces, addressing biases, and breaking through the glass ceiling. 

Courage is not always about grand gestures or facing monumental obstacles. It's about consistently choosing bravery in the face of fear, no matter how small the step may be. The idea of being 1% more courageous emphasizes the power of small, intentional steps that contribute to overcoming barriers and fostering inclusive leadership.

By making tiny adjustments in our mindset and actions, we can gradually build a foundation of courage that empowers us to navigate life's challenges with resilience.

Identifying Your Definition of Courage

Before delving into what 1% more courageous looks like for you, it's crucial to define what courage means in your life. Reflect on your values, aspirations, and the areas where fear may be holding you back. Is it speaking up in board meetings, pursuing a passion, taking the first step toward a new goal or making bold decisions? Understanding your definition of courage is the first step towards cultivating it in your daily life (personal and professional).

10 Ways You Can Be More Courageous

1. Embracing Vulnerability

Courage often requires us to be vulnerable, to expose our true selves to the world. Being 1% more courageous could mean sharing your thoughts and feelings with others, expressing your authentic self without fear of judgment. This vulnerability creates deeper connections with those around you and fosters a sense of authenticity that can be empowering.

2. Facing Fear of Failure

Many of us avoid challenges or opportunities due to the fear of failure. To be 1% more courageous means acknowledging that failure is a natural part of growth. Embrace challenges with an open mind, understanding that even if things don't go as planned, the experience itself is a valuable teacher. Gradually stepping out of your comfort zone and facing the fear of failure can lead to personal and professional breakthroughs.

3. Taking Initiative

Courage is often linked to taking initiative. It might be initiating a difficult conversation, proposing a new idea at work, or taking the first step toward a long-desired goal. Being 1% more courageous in this context involves stepping into the role of a proactive decision-maker. Trust yourself to take initiative and seize opportunities, even when uncertainty lingers.

4. Amplifying Voices

Professional and personally you can make a conscious choice to actively amplify the voices of fellow women. It involves creating spaces for open dialogue, fostering an environment where diverse perspectives are heard, and championing the accomplishments of women. This intentional effort contributes to a more inclusive and equitable culture.

5. Addressing Gender Biases

Women in leadership often face gender biases that can hinder their professional progress. Being 1% more courageous involves addressing these biases head-on—educating colleagues, challenging stereotypes, and advocating for equal opportunities. By confronting bias, women leaders pave the way for a more equitable work environment for themselves and future generations.

6. Setting Boundaries

Courage is not only about taking action but also about setting boundaries that align with your values. Being 1% more courageous in this aspect means learning to say no when necessary, prioritizing your well-being, and establishing healthy boundaries in your personal and professional life. This small shift can lead to greater self-respect and a more balanced, fulfilling existence.

7. Networking with Purpose

Courage in leadership extends beyond day-to-day tasks; it also involves strategic networking. Being 1% more courageous means stepping out of comfort zones to build purposeful connections. This may involve reaching out to mentors, joining industry-specific groups, or participating in networking events. Building a strong network not only fosters professional growth but also strengthens the collective voice of women in leadership.

8. Mentorship and Sponsorship

Being 1% more courageous could mean both seeking and offering mentorship and sponsorship. Establishing mentorship relationships with experienced leaders can provide valuable guidance, while sponsorship involves advocating for the advancement of other women within the organization. This dual approach contributes to the cultivation of a supportive network for women in leadership.

9. Embracing Authentic Leadership

Courage in leadership is synonymous with authenticity. Being 1% more courageous involves embracing your authentic leadership style, unapologetically. It means leading with empathy, embracing vulnerability, and showcasing your unique strengths. Authentic leadership not only inspires those around you but also fosters a culture where everyone feels empowered to bring their true selves to the workplace.

10. Cultivating Self-Compassion

Courage is not synonymous with perfection. Being 1% more courageous involves cultivating self-compassion and embracing imperfections. Understand that setbacks are part of the journey and treat yourself with kindness and understanding. This shift in mindset allows you to bounce back from challenges more resiliently.

What Does 1% More Courageous Look Like For You?

What does 1% more courageous look like for women in leadership? What does it look like for YOU? It's about recognizing the unique challenges and opportunities for bravery within your daily life and within the professional sphere and taking intentional steps toward a more courageous existence. 

As women in leadership embrace the power of incremental courage, they not only transform their own professional journeys but also pave the way for a more equitable and diverse future in leadership roles.

Every small act of courage adds up to create a foundation for personal growth and fulfillment and contributes to breaking down barriers and fostering inclusive, empowering workplaces.  As you embark on this journey, remember that courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. Embrace the power of incremental courage, and watch as it transforms your life in ways you never thought possible.

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