Courageously Fearful

Bill Treasurer Posted by Bill Treasurer, Chief Encouragement Officer, Giant Leap Consulting, Inc..

Bill Treasurer is founder and Chief Encourager at Giant Leap Consulting (GLC), a Courage Building company that helps people and organizations live more courageously. Bill is the author of numerous books on leadership and courage.

Courageously Fearful

I’m an ex-high diver. Every day for seven years I would climb to the top of a hundred-foot high-dive ladder (the equivalent of a ten-story building) and stand atop a one-foot-by-one-foot perch. Then, after a quick prayer, I would leap into the air like an eagle taking flight. Except eagles soar upward. I never did. I would always go down, careening at speeds of over fifty miles per hour into a pool that was only ten feet deep. Fifteen hundred high dives, all done with no parachute, no bungee, and no safety gear. Just me and a Speedo. Keep in mind,  I am profoundly afraid of heights.

Becoming a high diver was a culmination of a series of things I did to engage with, learn from, and ultimately dominate my fear of heights. Many of the lessons I learned from this experience are chronicled in my first book, Right Risk: 10 Powerful Principles for Taking Giant Leaps with Your Life (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2003). The book’s front cover has a picture of me diving while on fire. No kidding.

I’m so convinced of the importance of courage to business success that in 2002, after working as a change-management consultant for over a decade, I founded Giant Leap Consulting, a courage-building company. Our mission is to help people and organizations to be more courageous so that they can take whatever “giant leaps” they’re facing. Through the work Giant Leap has done with thousands of workers and renowned organizations, we’ve developed a track record of helping people to be more courageous at work.

Courage is not limited to extreme feats of bravery. There’s a more tempered, everyday experience of courage that is accessible to everyone. It takes courage, for example, to…

  • deliver upward feedback to your boss,
  • volunteer to take on a challenging project where others have failed,
  • fess up about a mistake that you or your company made,
  • give a presentation to your boss’s boss,
  • enforce new performance standards on tenured or seasoned employees.

If you aim to have a thriving career, or make a true difference at work, or lead other people, you should start by committing yourself to working with courage. Courage isn’t just for daredevils. It’s for everyone!