Webster’s simple definition of courage is “the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous.” Dig deeper and you’ll see:

  • Mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty
  • Firmness of mind and will in the face of danger…
  • …determination to achieve one’s ends

Seth Mattison, being the millennial he is, believes courage is a muscle. It’s not that we don’t have any courage; it’s just that we haven’t exercised it in a while. Seth is going to be talking about the future of work, the power of relationships and innovation at this year’s IABC World Conference.

Innovation requires courage

Courage is an important part of innovation. Innovation represents change and we’ve gotten pretty good at doing things the way we have been. So, to innovate means we have to change how we do things, use a new tool, work with different people. It is “difficult or dangerous.” Heck, it might even incur fear.

But, as J. Stewart Black says in It Starts with One, it’s easier to continue doing the wrong thing really, really well. At least until someone paints us a very clear picture of how we can do the right thing really, really well. Even then, it takes courage to make the leap.

We’ve watched some of our clients jump onto the innovation bandwagon in the past year. They add it to their vision statements, incorporate it into their objectives and make it part of the business plan. But, what does it really mean to be innovative?

Webster defines innovative as “introducing or using new ideas or methods” and “having new ideas about how something can be done.” Innovation also is about changing mindsets, attitudes and culture. You need this to happen to make it stick. Sometimes, that takes a long time.

If courage is a muscle, is authenticity a tendon?

Seth is going to talk about authenticity in his keynote too. I think authenticity serves as a support and connecting mechanism the way tendons serve the muscles. It supports in that authenticity makes courage stronger, more feasible. It connects because authenticity opens the door for others to believe, to listen, to accept.

People can tell when you aren’t being authentic. Courage taken without authenticity won’t get you far and might even put you at greater risk; it’s danger multiplied. Taken with authenticity, however, courage can shift mindsets, move organizations, make a difference.

See what Seth has already told us about authenticity.

Using the courage muscle

Perhaps Seth will help us understand how to exercise our courage muscle to be more innovative. For each of us it might mean something different:

  • Doing public speaking
  • Getting involved in a project with people you don’t know
  • Starting a new job
  • Learning a new software
  • Writing a blog post (I think my inner monologue just slipped out)

Regardless, I’m on the courage bandwagon. It would seem to be the best mode of transportation to true innovation.

Register today and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a registration for the 2017 World Conference! It takes some courage to put that on your calendar so early, but someone has to do it.