How to Bring Caution and Courage Together
Let caution inform action not prevent it.
Act in alignment with your highest point of confidence not your lowest point of caution. Keep caution in the backseat and boldness in the front.
When caution is the end there is no beginning. When caution is fear of failure it’s self-preservation; its selfishness disguised as noble intelligence.
Paralyzing-caution is lack of confidence that says you can’t do it now and you aren’t able to find a way.
The negative impact of caution:
- Procrastination and hesitation.
Making caution work:
Lead courageously not cautiously.
Cautious preparation enables bold execution. Caution fully explores problems. Caution asks what’s wrong; what won’t work. Courage, on the other hand, finds solutions.
Answer caution in small teams and express boldness in large groups. Be cautious before decisions and bold after. Cautious beginnings are weak beginnings that never inspire.
The good side of caution is preparation:
- Seeing problems.
- Exploring options.
- Healthy sobriety.
- Getting help.
- Acting wisely.
The truth is a person without caution is dangerous. Caution is a healthy part of the process. Use caution to rule out things you can’t do so you can courageously identify, explore, and act on things you can do.
Caution on its own is self-affirming stagnation. Caution anticipates failure, if you aren’t careful; it prevents you from doing things that matter.
Purpose and meaning are more important than caution. Caution needs the courage to do something where failure matters. Deliberate with caution act with courage.
Do you lean toward caution or courage?
How do you handle the tension between caution and courage?
Good morning Dan. Fantastic Post! and very timely for us as we head into our annual Board Retreat on December 3rd. I have absolutely nothing to add to this inspiring message. Dan do I have your permission to share this great manifesto with my Board members? (with corresponding credit of course). Thank you for providing me with the opening drum roll for my presentation. Have a great weekend. AD
Good Morning Al,
A good word is a thing of beauty. Thank you and please feel free to use this post for your board meeting.
Best to you,
The difference between courageous and crazy is usually evident only long after the fact.
You are scaring me Joe. I guess if you are crazy, you don’t know it. OUCH! 🙂 Have a great weekend.
This is a great post Dan! I still see many people in business leaning on the side of caution especially with the media focus on the economy. Your points on the good side of caution are great examples of how to use caution properly. I think it is important to have a good balance of “Caution” and “Courage”, but you don’t make great strides without courage. Where there is risk… there is potential reward!
Thanks for the inspiring post!
Stephen, your good word gives me courage. Thank you.
The term balance is necessary although I don’t like balance because it seems indicate middle and middle is average. But the idea of tension between the two seems useful.
Leaning toward courage…
I really like the concept of “tension” between the two and I agree that can be very useful. Thanks for the feedback.
So good Dan. I am teaching one of your blog’s to my staff next week. The one on “first” things. Thank you continuing to educate and encourage.
Hi Pastor Tom,
I’m thankful you found something useful and that you let me know. Leaders move first is challenging and I think moving first is one expression of courage over caution. You encourage me.
Success to you,
I interpret this as a much stronger, more useful version of “Hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.” I know it seems I haven’t been around, but I’ve been downloading your posts, convert them to Adobe or use Narrator. I had a heart attack, and I’m in rehab. They let me bring my computer/devices, but they have the slowest wireless connection on earth! I can’t always respond, but when I can, I’m hearing your posts and marking you on Twitter as favorite so I can go back and get what I missed.
The heart attack is the best thing that’s happened in the last ten years. I took care of myself my whole life: If I hadn’t, I’d be dead. So weights, yoga aerobics, brown rice and veggies did pay off in the end! I look forward to catching up with you, Dan. For now, I have to appreciate you from a distance. Sweet tides to all, Linda
Linda, I am glad you are better and thank you for the reference to Narrator. I have been looking for an easy way to archive the LF blog. There are so many nuggets of wisdom Dan provides us with on a daily basis. Stay well. 🙂
Thank you for writing this post! I am definitely on the side of courage at this stage in my career, but this is not always appreciated. I shall never give up!!
Excellent and inspiring post, Dan. Thanks for your insight, as always!
It’s easy to get stuck in what I lovingly call “analysis paralysis,” speaking from experience working in an IT organization. We tend to want more data than is truly needed to make a go / no-go decision, and make hesitant beginnings with inconsistent follow-through.
Definitely sharing this with my colleagues. It’s time to be bold and unafraid, using caution as a tool, not as an inhibitor.
Excellent message-very good timing as I leave for India soon and will be in areas that I will need to be aware and take caution.
Taking caution in business can be good but when you know the risk, weigh the decisions you need to take courage and move forward. Some times it works out and other times you wonder why you made the decision but nothing in life stands still. You need to keep making the best decisions you can at the time.
Thanks for taking the time to research, write and give us guidance.
I really like this post, Dan. The action is where caution and boldness align, not where they are in conflict. I recently heard Len Schlesinger speak on moving into action (as opposed to waiting for all the data to back up your every cautious move). The act of moving will provide data. It’s a matter of being able to rapidly analyze and respond to data in real time (fast-acting caution?). History can be informative, but in these chaotic times, it is unwise to think historical data will be a reliable predictor of events.
Thank you for sharing your timely word.
Thanks for this. It’s beautifully stated. My brain automatically leaps through a bunch of steps whenever I have an idea and sees all the places where something won’t work or will be difficult. I know this keeps me from trying some things that just might actually work if I didn’t shut them down.
I love the distinction you make between informing action and preventing it. So clear and brilliant.
Pingback: TLW 64: Let’s Talk About Dialogue
Good information to move forward with.
I love Leadership qoutes