The courage to grow

Growth requires the development of the virtue of courage.

It is very alluring to ignore the role that emotions play in our decision-making and thinking.

Things would be so much easier if everything were simply black and white; yes or no; 0 and 1.

Yet obviously our reality is filtered through a pervasive lens of human emotion that clouds and colours our judgments and motivations.

Emotion unfortunately doesn't often have a place in business.

The old saying ''s just business...' confirms that; suck it up buster, that's just how we play the game round here.

This is a massive mistake.

Whether we choose to consciously develop our character purposefully or not, emotion is always there, lurking in the background, playing a hand in how we see and act.

Here's an example: the future is uncertain.

Uncertainty can be a very scary place for those who are emotionally-invested in the past, or are fearful of venturing down the wrong path into the future. Often when strategy is lacking (or it's diluted by being more planning than strategy), or there is a reluctance to innovate or venture forward into that unknown - fear is to blame.

It might not be a conscious fear, but it's there and it's creating the inertia and procrastination that we often see in organisations.

There is no real test to prove that a strategy will work or not; strategies are hypothesise orientated in the future, so it's impossible to know for sure how your proposed approach will perform.

Because of this, growth requires the development of the virtue of courage.

“Courage is not the lack of fear, it is the acting in spite of it.” - Mark Twain

Courage being the mental aptitude to face up to our fears, to acknowledge their existence and power and choose to transcend them regardless.

Without courage, growth gets hijacked by fear in the form of endless meetings and research projects (procrastination) or is nullified by codifying it into linear planning programs that simply keep replicating the past (no growth).

Ignoring the influence that our human emotions has on our performance is guaranteeing their potential negative effects on us.

Better futures begins with a commitment to the development of character traits that grant us the mental competence to grow; courage being just one of these.