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  • Writer's pictureAmory Borromeo

Courage as your superpower

Updated: Aug 18, 2020

I would love to say that the most important skill as a female is courage, but the truth is, it's the most important professional skill regardless of your gender, ethnicity, discipline, or you industry.

Courage is the route behind all of the incredible things we make happen as an individual.

There are other driving forces that support our interest and growth such as curiosity, perseverance, grit, tenacity, etc., but any of those still require courage.

Here are some ways courage plays a role in your day to day and tips on how to make the most of it.

Develop and grow yourself

In order to grow, we have to be uncomfortable. We have to wade out into the water of the unknown and try something new or different. Stepping outside of your comfort zone absolutely takes courage. It isn't easy or natural, but the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. We all want to be the best version of ourselves, yet we get in our own way with negative self talk and doubt.

What is something you have been interested in trying but are afraid to fail at? You know that thing that you won't tell anyone about because you don't want someone to know your dirty little secret. I mean if someone knew, they might encourage you to go do it and then someone would know you're a failure, right?

Anything you have ever learned you likely sucked at to start. Did you think your parents thought you were a failure when you didn't just get up and start running at 9 months old? Did people laugh at you when you first started tying your shoes and sucked? Whatever it is that interests you, you'll never be worse at it than you are right now. There is only one way from here.

When I decided to train for my first marathon, I didn't want to tell anyone. I didn't want people to know because I didn't believe I would be fast. My times wouldn't compare to the instagram feed of all the other instarunners and somehow, that made me feel like I was less of a runner. When word got out, not a single person asked me about my time. No one at all. Was I slow, yup. Did I do something that only 1% of the population does, sure did! What amazed me about it was that it inspired people around me to do their "unthinkable."

Whatever your crazy idea idea is, whatever thing scratching at the back of your curiosity is, I'm here to tell you to go for it! Break it into small bite sizes and try it out. Want to run a marathon? Start by running X consecutive days a week, then increase your milage, and bam, before you know it, you're a marathoner. I am a big fan of the 12 Week Year approach to breaking down goals to make them more achievable.

Create Opportunities

“The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.”


Courage is also critical in speaking up to create opportunities for yourself and others. You know those moments when your heart starts beating fast and you're nervous to speak next. You miss part of the conversation as you debate whether to ask what is assuredly a "dumb question." I will tell you that nearly every single time I have asked what I thought was a dumb question, something amazing happens. Someone tells me afterwards that they were wondering the same thing. The discussion pivots because it was something the group hadn't considered. The team answers the question and provides meaningful context that allows me, and usually others, to better contribute to the discussion. In all of my years, I don't regret a single question I asked. At the time I was likely incredibly nervous and maybe even embarrassed, today, I barely recall the event.

The more often you speak up and ask questions, the more likely others are to follow suit. When you have the courage to put yourself out there, it gives everyone else permission to do the same.

That same concept applies to asking for opportunities. Is there a meeting or event you want to be part? Ask to attend. The absolute worst case is you're told no and others learn of your interests. It is incredibly uncomfortable, especially for females, to ask to be part of something that we weren't invited to. In my experience, I've been told no a ton of times! Despite that, something always comes from the exchange. "I didn't realize you were interested in the financials of the business, let's set time to review the P&L together." "I didn't realize you wanted to become more technical, let's connect you with so-and-so to learn more" "If you are interested in leadership discussions, we can revisit your role and trajectory to help you get to the next level."

Having the courage to ask and take initiative is a really big sign to any leader that they have someone who is ambitious and driven. It is a lot easier to support someone's interests when you know what they are. To that end, make it known to you manager and the leaders around you what your vision is, no matter how crazy it is.

I once told someone after I just started at a company that one day I wanted to be an executive there. He looked at me like I was crazy, but treated me differently from there on. I suddenly had an advocate that helped me network, shared information with me, and encouraged me to take on more and more. That alone helped me have way more confidence in a new company and a new role.

Lead Others

Leverage courage to do all of the above sends a big message to those around you. It gives everyone else permission to be courageous too. More importantly, it creates a culture around you of people who are more trusting of each other and more willing to share. that courage becomes contagious.

But there are other ways to leverage courage to lead others. The only skill I think is as important as courage is vulnerability. The two go hand in hand. You have to be willing to be vulnerable to be courageous and you have to be courageous in order to be vulnerable. I strongly believe that vulnerability requires you to trust those around you. You have to believe they are well intended and are interested in what you have to share.

Sharing your experiences with others, particularly the mistakes you've made along the way, takes a lot of courage and trust in others, but can be incredibly powerful. When you are willing to share your lessons learned through the lens of an opportunity, it allows others to lean into their own mistakes and consider the positive side of those as well.


Recognize the super power that courage is and find ways to incorporate it into your day-to-day in order to encourage those around you to be courageous and to grow with you.

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