Courage and Career Success

Lorraine Cohen is a friend of mine, and a very wise person.  The other day she sent me an email with 15 quotes about courage.  If you want to create the life and career success you want and deserve you have to be courageous.  It takes courage to fight through your fears and become the career success you deserve to be.

Lorraine is offering a new program called “Awakening Your Courageous Heart.”  It begins on October 18 – tomorrow.  I urge you to go to and check it out.

Meanwhile, enjoy these quotes on courage…

“When we come to the edge of all the light we have and must take the step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe one of two things. Either we will find something solid to stand on or, we will be taught to fly.” – Patrick Overton

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” – Maya Angelou

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” – Maya Angelou

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”- Ambrose Redmoon

“If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.”- John Maxwell

“Be strong now because things will get better. It might be stormy now but it can’t rain forever.” – Hailee
“The brave may not live forever, but the cautious don’t live at all.” – Ashley L.

“Fear and courage are brothers.” – Proverb

“You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose the sight of the shore.” – Christopher Columbus

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong

“Courage is the knowing that something scares the hell out of you but you do it anyway because you know it will change your life forever.”– Unknown

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. Christopher Robin to Pooh” & “Whatever fortune brings, don’t be afraid of doing things.”– A. A. Milne

“Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength.” – August Wilson

“It takes strength to be firm and it takes courage to be gentle.
It takes strength to conquer and it takes courage to surrender.
It takes strength to be certain and it takes courage to have doubt.
It takes strength to fit in and it takes courage to stand out.
It takes strength to feel a friend’s pain and it takes courage to feel your own pain.
It takes strength to endure abuse and it takes courage to stop it.
It takes strength to stand alone and it takes courage to lean on another.
It takes strength to love and it takes courage to be loved.
It takes strength to survive and it takes courage to live.” – Unknown

Courage will help you become more self confident – and the more confident you are the more likely you are to create the life and career success you want and deserve.  Tweet 45 in my career advice book Success Tweets says, “Everyone is afraid sometime.  Self confident people face their fears and act.  Look you fears in the eye and do something.”

Courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to confront your fear and do something about it.  Fear is normal.  Fear is common.  Fear is human.  However, fear is a career success killer.  We’re all afraid sometime.  Successful people face their fears and act.  I’ve learned a few things about fear over the years.

Fear breeds indifference.  Indifference breeds self doubt and worry.  Often, it’s easier to go with the flow and do nothing than attempt to do something of which you’re afraid.  When you say to yourself, “It’s OK, it doesn’t really matter anyway,” ask the next question – “What am I afraid of here?”  Identifying your fear is the first step in dealing with it.

Self-doubt is a form of negative self-talk.  Our words can become self-fulfilling prophecies.  Positive self-talk leads to success.  Negative self-talk leads to fear and failure.  If you catch yourself saying things like, “I can’t do this; I’ll never be successful; I’ll never get out of this mess,” then you never will.  If you say things like, “I can do this; I have what it takes to succeed; I can solve this problem,” then you will.

Worry and excessive caution will paralyze you.  Some people spend so much time worrying about the bad things that could or might happen that they never take action and actually do something to prove that good things happen too.  Worrying too much can bring you and your life and career success quest to a screeching halt.

A boat that never leaves the harbor is pretty safe.  However, it is not doing what it is meant to be doing.  The same is true for people.  If you never take a risk, you’ll never know what you are capable of accomplishing.

Here are my tips for doing battle with your fears.

1) Identify what you fear.  Figure out why you’re afraid. Is it fear of failure?  Is it fear of making the wrong decision?  Is it fear of a lost opportunity?  Are you afraid that you aren’t up to task?  Once you identify the reason behind your fear, you are well on the way to overcoming it.

2) Admit what you fear.  It’s OK to be afraid.  You wouldn’t be human if you were never afraid.  A common definition of courage is the ability to feel fear and still do what you need to do, regardless.  In 1988, I faced a very frightening decision.  Should I stay in a comfortable but ultimately unsatisfying job with a large corporation, or should I start my own business?  I was afraid of failing.  Failing meant that I would lose my savings and have to start over again, looking for a job in another corporation.  However, once I identified and admitted my fear, I was able to take the next step – acceptance.

3) Accept what you fear.  Accepting your fears is important, because it shows that you know you’re human.  Once I accepted that I was afraid of failing, I was able to start my business and succeed.  In fact, I embraced my fear of failure.  It made me work harder; it pushed me to work the long hours and learn the entrepreneurship lessons necessary to be successful as a self-employed career success coach, consultant and speaker.

4) Take action.  Action cures fear.  It is the most important of these four steps.  Do something!  The worst thing that can happen is that you’ll find it was the wrong thing to do – and you will have eliminated at least one thing from your list of possible actions.

The career success coach point here is simple common sense.  Successful people don’t let fear paralyze them into inaction.  They follow these four steps for dealing with the fear that can sabotage their career success: identify it, admit it, accept it, do something about it.”  Action is the antidote to fear.  In most cases, you’ll make good decisions and your fears won’t be realized.  In the cases when you choose poorly, you’ll find that failure isn’t as catastrophic as you imagined.  Successful people learn from their failures.  By taking action on your fears, you win on both counts.  You win if you make a good decision and things work out.  You even win if you make a bad decision and things go poorly, because you have an opportunity to learn from your decision and the subsequent problems you faced.

That’s my career advice inspired by Lorraine Cohen’s quotes on courage.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my daily thoughts on life and career success.  I value you and I appreciate you.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, please download a free copy of my popular career advice book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained.  The first gives you 140 bits of career success advice tweet style — in 140 characters or less.  The second is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

PPS: I opened a membership site on September 1.  It’s called My Corporate Climb and is devoted to helping people create career success inside large corporations.  To celebrate the grand opening, I’m giving away a new career advice book I’ve written called I Want YOU…To Succeed in Your Corporate Climb.  You can find out about the membership site and get the career advice in I Want YOU… for free by going to http://www.mycorporateclimb.


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