5 Ways to Build Courage and Competence for Difficult Conversations

This story originally appeared on Ellevate

Some people think I’m courageous. I’ve lived and worked all over the world and regularly speak in front of hundreds of people, so I must be, right? Well, no. For whatever reason, I don’t find that scary, and courage is the ability to do something that frightens you. What would take courage is for me to jump out of a plane. So, I don’t do it. And I’m comfortable with that because, let’s face it, there is very little upside in falling through the air.

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One thing that most people find frightening is speaking up when faced with decisions or actions they disagree with. And that makes sense: Many of the stories we hear about people speaking up end with the individual facing some kind of negative outcome, including, in extreme cases, being ostracized. There are few movies or books written about employees who point out a problem and are immediately thanked and rewarded for doing so, and yet that happens, too — and more often than you might think. When people speak up effectively, they can find that not only do they survive, but thrive.

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