How to develop your inner courage

Unleash your personal courage as a leader, whether in the workplace or anywhere else in your life.

The Surdek Team
September 25, 2023
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In the fast-paced and ever-changing world of work, personal courage is a priceless asset that can help you become a more conscious and impactful leader for your teams.

As Steffan stated in a previous article, cultivating personal courage does not mean being fearless. Rather, it is about acknowledging your own fears and doubts, and finding the strength to face them head-on.

In this article, we will explore practical steps to help you develop your personal courage at work and unlock your true potential as a leader.

1. Identify your fears

As with many things we talk about on our blog and with our coaching clients, the first step towards developing personal courage is self-awareness. Take some time to reflect on the fears and insecurities that may be holding you back in your professional life.

Are you afraid of taking on new responsibilities? Are you anxious about public speaking or sharing your ideas in bigger meetings? Identifying these fears is the foundation for overcoming them. You can then identify specific intentions for each of these fears.

One of our greatest superpowers we have is our ability to choose how we perceive a situation. It is like a filter that we can decide to apply to what is being said or to what is happening. What are the stories that you are telling yourself that are negative or disempowering?

2. Embrace a growth mindset

Adopting a growth mindset is critical when it comes to developing your personal courage. This next step means that you need to understand that your abilities and talents are not static.

It is actually quite the opposite: you can develop yourself and grow your skills through dedication and hard work. When you view challenges as opportunities for growth, you will be more willing to step out of your comfort zone.

Another thing is that you can do is to reframe your mistakes. Try not to see them as failures, but rather as learning opportunities by asking yourself: what did I learn from this experience? This slight change of perspective can help take some of the fear out of trying new things, and help you take on new challenges more easily.

3. Set small goals and celebrate achievements

Building personal courage is a gradual process. However, your leadership journey will not be a perfect line pointing straight towards the sky. It looks more like a staircase, with each new step bringing you up a notch.

Start by using your intentions from step 1 to set small, achievable goals that align with your fears. For example, if you want to have more courage to speak in large gatherings, you can start by hosting an informal lunchtime presentation to talk about a popular subject. This is a way of learning by doing.

As you face each fear step by step, celebrate your achievements, no matter how small they may seem. This way, because you are recognizing your progress you will reinforce your confidence. In turn, this will give you the motivation you need to tackle more significant challenges.

4. Seek support and coaching

While you make your way on your leadership development journey, you will undoubtedly run into some bigger challenges or situations. It is OK to not do it alone! Sometimes the best thing you can do is to bounce ideas off of someone who can support you.

Take a look at the people around you in your life. Who do you know that has the skills you are looking for? How can they help you or mentor you? You can also find a coach to help you prepare and talk through the challenges you may have.

Do not be afraid to seek this support from a mentor or coach. Talking about your fears and aspirations with someone you trust can provide valuable insights. They can also offer you encouragement when you need it most. This guidance is really valuable to inspire you to develop your personal courage even further.

5. Look for new opportunities

Step out of your comfort zone by volunteering for tasks or projects that challenge you. Coming back to our previous examples, you can embrace opportunities to speak in public, lead a team, or present your ideas.

By volunteering to do these things, you are opening yourself up to learn and grow. You are opening the door to new experiences that will contribute to developing your personal courage.

Personal courage often requires taking risks. But ask yourself: How much of a risk are you really taking? Is this just a story you are telling yourself?

While you may find risks intimidating at first, remember they are also opportunities for your growth! You can still be careful to assess the potential outcomes.

Do not throw caution to the wind because of personal courage! Courage does not mean being foolhardy or reckless. You should still weigh the pros and cons before making decisions. By taking calculated risks, you will develop a sense of courage and resourcefulness that will serve you well throughout your leadership journey.


Developing personal courage and inviting it into your leadership is an ongoing journey. It requires acknowledging your fears and embracing a growth mindset. Remember that personal courage is not about being fearless but about facing your fears and doubts.

By taking small steps, seeking support, and seeking out new opportunities, you can unlock your inner courage. In turn, this will help you thrive as a an empowered leader.

Be kind to yourself as you embark on your journey to develop personal courage. Accept that there will be moments of self-doubt, and that is OK. Setbacks are a natural part of any leadership journey. This is why resilience is a crucial aspect of personal courage. Treat yourself with the same compassion and understanding you would extend to a friend facing similar challenges.

What step can you take today to unleash your inner courage? How could it help make your leadership more impactful?