After a recent visit to Washington, D.C., it struck me that all the war memorials were really memorials about courage.
Taking a stand, for anything, requires courage. Courage is knowing what’s right and then acting on it.
During the Nazi occupation of his country in WWII, King Christian X of Denmark noticed a Nazi flag flying over a Danish public building. He immediately called the German commandant, demanding that the flag be taken down at once. The commandant refused. “Then a soldier will go and take it down,” said the king.
“He will be shot,” threatened the commandant. “I think not,” replied the king, “for I shall be the soldier.” Within minutes the flag was taken down. The king was courageous, took his stand, and he prevailed.
Inspiring leaders don’t settle for what conditions are forced upon them. They don’t just buy into what everybody else is saying, and they don’t follow the beaten path. Inspiring leaders are constantly creating their own conditions for success by blazing new trails.
Courage is doing something you are afraid to do. The word “courage” is derived from the Medieval Old French term “corage,” meaning “heart and spirit.”
Rarely are leadership decisions clear-cut, so inspiring leaders take in available data, then muster the courage to make the best decision in that moment for the right reasons.
Those are tough moments. On Memorial Day, we honor those who had the courage to make those tough decisions and pay the ultimate price in the process.
For those of us who enjoy daily freedoms, every day should be a memorial day.
Courage is just one of 31 topics addressed in Leadership Matters.