Two Hours to Courage

Fear talks you out of exceptional and into mediocre.

Losing the conversation with fear means: problems persist, teams reach low, and you’re less of a leader than you could be.


Cowards dream dreams. The courageous take action.

Two hours to courage:

Suppose tarantulas terrify you. That’s probably not a stretch.

How long would it take you to allow a tarantula to walk across your hand? A year, six months, 6 weeks, 6 days, or six hours? Never!?

Through gradual and graduated exposure it took two hours for arachnophobes to let a tarantula walk across their hand . (Reported in, The Power of Moments, pp. 183-186.)

Practice courage:

#1. Scare yourself:

The only way to overcome fear is to scare yourself.

Meetings suck, but you’re afraid to bring it up.

Office culture feels cold. But it feels safe to pull up your collar and keep your head down. You rationalize that it wouldn’t matter anyway.

What’s the bravest thing you can do today to energize meetings or warm office culture?

Tip: Aim low. Don’t aim for radical transformation in a day. 

Tomorrow aim a little less low.

#2. Connect with courageous colleagues:

Stop huddling with cowards. Hang with the courageous. 

Seeing courage instills courage.

One reason arachnophobes were able to touch a tarantula in two hours was someone first modeled the steps.

I asked Simon Sinek where courage comes from.

“Courage comes from the courage of others around us. When you meet people with courage, it gives you courage. When somebody believes in you, that gives you courage.” Simon Sinek.

#3. Instill courage in others.

  1. Share how you’re managing your own fear.
  2. Forgive responsible failure.
  3. Design gradual and graduated opportunities to face fear.
  4. Create a plan. What will you do when fear grips you?
  5. Focus on the next step.

How might leaders manage their own fears?

How might leaders instill courage in others?