Author: Virginie Améaume, Head of Operations and Talent Relations at TOD
How courage asks us to go through our fears and to take the risk of meeting ourselves in order to meet the others, to accept fully who we are, to accept and integrate the others for a development that makes sense with a collective project.
Courage sends us back to our fear. Above all, it requires to become aware of this fear within us, so that we can overcome it. Facing the challenge requires recognizing our fear in order to integrate it and transform it into a desire for life.
In the relational field, and in particular in the professional field, the apprehension of oneself, of one’s image in front of the other is a common and often unconscious fear, generating blocking, withdrawal, even inability to move forward, to express oneself, up to the rejection of the other and of the unknown.
This fear leads us to a judgment of ourselves, our acts, our gestures, our actions, our words and our results. It questions the way we look at ourselves as a representation of the other’s look.
It sends us back to our values and our own evaluation of ourselves. We can thus enter into a cycle – hellish and inhibiting to say the least – where our view of ourselves and what we assume about the other’s view of us, maintain suspicions about the value of our actions and words, reinforcing the attention we put on the other’s view.
This apprehension is both real and symbolic. It can make us enter into a permanent and immediate control over ourselves. We then produce our own enslavement, judging ourselves, putting up barriers to the exploration and deployment of our potential.
By seeking to live up to values and injunctions conveyed by an external order, we cut ourselves off from our own abilities and from the possibility of relying on our assets, on our natural strengths. We impose prohibitions on ourselves by looking for a performance that is far from a possible goal, because it is far from us, instead of daring to experiment with more fruitful experiences in line with our abilities.
Moreover we can be invaded by a feeling of guilt of not “being up to it”, of not “being capable of”. We distance ourselves from ourselves, from our nature, from our values, from our own self-worth and consequently we distance ourselves from a dynamic of openness to others: fearing judgment or prohibition, as so many aggressions to our willingness to be, to say, to act, to dare to exchange by recognizing what makes our specificity.
Courage, then, is taking the risk of the other, of facing the other as we are, aware of our assets, our capacities, our gifts, as well as our flaws, our mistakes, our hesitations, our shadow zones and also of our relational dependence which also allows us to know ourselves better.
This requires us to emancipate ourselves from the gaze and judgment of the other in order to allow ourselves to be. Any relation to others, to otherness, thus entails taking a risk, which we can close, escape from it.
Courage allows us to avoid giving a better image of ourselves at all costs and therefore to take the risk of the other, the risk of creating a link that becomes a bond that allows harmony. The courage to meet ourselves, to face ourselves, opens up to the encounter, to the acceptance of the other, who can then enter into the same dynamic of openness, of curiosity, beneficial for everyone. Facing ourselves is an opportunity to release ourselves from our own brakes, it is a creative act that also lightens us, invites us to accept our imperfections and therefore those of others.
Beyond fear, courage gives rise to a desire for accomplishment that opens up to life. Daring to let ourselves be surprised by ourselves serves the quality of our relationships and the acceptance of the uniqueness of each being.
Courage includes uncertainty, the uncertain as a creative source. The courage of self-awareness and self-acceptance releases from a bondage to a supposed, imaginary image. It resonates as a condition of recognition and openness to the other, different from oneself. It is the carrier of a collective maturation.
The manager guided by this awareness can thus accept the other as he or she is, in the same way as he or she accepts him or herself: thus, opening the way to the acceptance and integration of differences, to the desire to exchange and collaborate in confidence, lifting the barriers of judgement, and allowing each person to assume the responsibility of being.
Managerial courage invites each and every member of a team to self-fulfillment, to a vitality that allows collective mutations.