Courage is something worth chasing. Find out how to find the courage to create your life here.
At work, it’s easy to fall into the habit of putting your colleagues first. You’re doing it for the team, and that’s all that matters. Right?
But some people see this trait and exploit it, using it to further their own ambitions — even if it means you falling by the wayside. To these people, your good intentions are their way to the top.
So it’s important to put yourself. If you want to avoid being taken advantage of by unscrupulous colleagues, you need to look after number one — that’s you.
This doesn’t mean you have to be selfish — far from it. It just means that you shouldn’t be afraid to chase those opportunities when they arise, to give yourself credit for the good work you do.
Indeed, putting yourself first encourages others to do the same. As Parker Palmer describes it in his book, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation:
“Self-care is never a selfish act — it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.”
Of course, putting yourself first means having the courage to do so. But when it comes to your career and your happiness, it’s something worth striving for.
We live in a world fraught with lies. It’s a dog-eat-dog world and we’re all looking out for ourselves. If that means telling a lie, then so what? This is especially true at work, where careerists out for themselves are willing to lie their way to the top.
Lies are the easy way out. They prevent us from having to deal with problems. But the truth always catches up with us, one way or another. Consequently, it’s better to face up to the truth wherever possible.
But facing the truth takes courage. The truth isn’t always pleasant — we might have to confront some uncomfortable facts about life, ourselves, and the people we care about.
However, being honest at work makes it a better place to be for everyone. People recognize it as a positive quality and will be drawn to you as a result. Courage aids in this and it’s a quality well worth working towards.
What’s the single biggest reason why we don’t push ourselves in our career? Why we don’t go for that promotion, offer our input in meetings, try our hand at a new task?
Fear is paralyzing, preventing us from taking a step into the unknown and forcing ourselves to do something new. We fear the worst, telling ourselves what-if stories which turn into absolute certainties in our mind.
“We live with endless mind chatter: stories we tell ourselves about how good or bad we are; stories we make up about the people around us and what they think about us […] The stories we tell ourselves create fear, and fear paralyzes us from participating in our lives.”
But having courage helps you overcome that fear. It gives you the resolve to say to yourself: “it doesn’t have to be this way. I can — and should — go for that promotion and do something for myself.”
Fear is easy and courage is hard — but it’s something worth nurturing. It’ll give you the power to take control of your happiness at work, no small thing when it comes to our careers.
Being yourself is one of the hardest things you can do. With the pressures of society bearing down on us, it’s easier to be what other people want us to be, rather than embracing who we are as a person.
But look at anyone who is truly themselves, and you’ll see a happy person. Comfortable in their own skin, they live how they want to live. And at work, being yourself means you don’t compromise. You’re not led by other people, you’re led by yourself — and that makes you stand out, helping your career by standing head and shoulders above the rest.
But being yourself takes courage. Being who you are, even when that flies in the face of what is expected of you at work, requires immense amounts of bravery. But having the courage to do so means you can go to work happy, rather than having to be someone else for other people.
It takes courage to be happy in our lives, but especially so at work. It gives us the confidence and power to overcome obstacles and enjoy what we do. It might seem daunting, but courage is a quality that you should nurture. Chase it today and enjoy a happier work life tomorrow.