What Provides You Courage to Start?

A few days ago, I asked Mark, “When do we need to replace our toothbrush heads? Mine looks like it’s done.” He told me, “Feb 1.” Okay, I could live with another few days.

This morning, he left me a new toothbrush head on the counter. I laughed and teased him, “It’s not the 1st. It’s still January. 28th in fact.” He smiled and told me, “We were supposed to change them on the 24th.”

For me, the new toothbrush head is the start of many possibilities. So is a tank of gas. The newness, the fullness creates—for me—a sense of being able to start new things.

You might not need a new toothbrush head. I admit, it’s a mundane thing. Smetimes, mundane things can create new possibilities.

That’s when I started to ask myself, what creates new possibilities at work for me? I came up with these ideas:

  • Starting a new book
  • Finishing a book
  • Starting and finishing articles
  • Offering new workshops
  • Redesigning other workshops to take advantage of my new ideas
  • Feeling as if I have a chance to start

This is my list, not yours. I bet your list might look something like mine if we go a little meta. My list is about finishing things, so I can start the next one. It’s about using my creativity to complete new and different work.

Can you finish things at work so you can start the next one? Can you solve problems and implement those solutions using your creativity? What do you need to start doing these things?

You need courage.

You need the courage to talk to your boss and say, “I can’t work on three things at once. Here are some alternatives….”

You need the courage to put your ideas out into the world in whatever framework fits you. You might write code, tests, manage projects, write articles or books, whatever. With courage, you publish your ideas. (I mean publish as in let the ideas out of your head and help other people see them.)

You need the courage to offer your work and stand behind it.

Courage takes the right mindset. You need the growth mindset, so if something doesn’t work for other people, you still have the emotional resilience to return to work and try again. You need the internal fortitude to hear other people’s arguments and see if you should change your work to incorporate (or adopt) their ideas.

What do you do to build your courage to start? Sometimes, it’s the little things, like having a new toothbrush head, a full tank of gas, or a great breakfast.  (These things set me up for the day!) But courage is not just something we “get” on good days. We need to practice courage, also. (That will be a future question of the week.)

Dear adaptable leaders, this is the question of the week: What provides you courage to start?

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