Wu Feng was a Manchurian diplomat in the 1700s who was posted with an aboriginal tribe in the outskirts of Taiwan.
He befriended the aboriginal chief, whose tribe beheaded one of its members every year as a form of sacrifice. Each year Wu Feng pleaded, with all his compassion and reverence for life, for the chief to put to an end to this custom. The chief would listen respectfully, then summon the chosen tribe member and without hesitation behead him.
Finally, after living with the tribe for 25 years, Wu Feng once more pleaded with the chief to stop the killing. But this time, when the tribe member was called forth, Wu Feng took his place and said, “If you will kill this time, it will be me.”.
The chief stared long into his old friend’s eyes. He could not kill him. And from that day, the practice of beheading stopped.
There are many kinds of leaders and all kinds of leadership, but the leaders we remember the most—the ones who remain unforgettable—are those who lead with courage.
The courageous speak up when no one else will.
The courageous step up and out when no one cares.
The courageous risk when no one else dares.
There is a stubbornness found in courageous leaders. They are not easily frightened and they allow their courage to rise, especially when they feel intimidated.
Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.
Courageous leaders speak their truth. Most people tell us what we want to hear. Courageous leaders speak their mind, never settling for less that what they know to be right. They lead with their integrity and what they know to be true; their honesty lies in telling it to others.
Courageous leaders lead with tenacity. Most people would rather go with the status quo then make waves.At times the truth can be severe and demanding, but courageous leaders stand up for what they believe even if the opinion is unpopular, and encourage others to do the same. Courageous leaders will dare, and dare again, and then dare a little bit more, and go on daring.
Courageous leaders stand apart from the crowd. Most people would rather just be part of the crowd rather than stand alone. Courageous leaders fiercely hunger for what is righteous. They stand apart from the herd and they don’t back down. When a principle is for the good of others, they stand bold and brave.
Being deeply fearless gives us strength, while being deeply courageous gives us character.
Only the real know what is real.
Only the authentic know authenticity.
And only the courageous know courage.
Fear is the panacea for those who lack confidence in their own decisions and their own leadership. It takes courage minus the fear to be who you really are!
Lead From Within: The courageous leader is not one who does not feel afraid, but the one who conquers that fear. Courage is not the absence of fear but the judgment that something else is more important than fear.
© 2014 Lolly Daskal. All rights reserved.
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.