Courage comes in many shapes and sizes

Even before Clayton could talk, he had a gaze that would follow Grace across the room, mesmerized and happy. He was born to love animals and Grace has learned to trust that; she seems to watch over him at times. Here she is in a relaxed yawn keeping him company in his bed. Thanks to Clayton

Curling up for a peaceful nap with a friendly companion in a comfy bed doesn’t conjure up images of a courageous act. But those of you who have read previous posts about Grace’s aversion to children, you know differently. It takes a ton of courage–a major leap of faith that the small person snuggled up beside you isn’t going to scare you. Or hurt you.

Grace stayed with friends this weekend while we were out-of-town and you can imagine my surprise when I received an email update to say that Grace had taken the initiative to curl up beside their toddler for a quiet hour-long nap! That took courage.

Courage: it’s a theme I’ve heard several times in the past few days. In our workplace environments, being courageous can be rare. There seems to more inertia to preserve the status quo than to make significant change, even when it makes sense to do so. Courage is the ability to move forward, despite the doubts or fear you face. It takes courage to stand up for things that we feel are right, especially when others around you may be actively resisting your initiative.

Think about your own role. You may be in a situation where you need to be courageous. Or you may be in a position to support a person doing something courageous. It can be as simple as when someone comes to you with a new idea. No matter what you first think of the idea, it’s probably worth exploring. Our first reaction may be to resist, but what’s holding you back? Why not explore? Great achievements take initiative, support, change, and courage.

Being courageous comes in many shapes and sizes. To you, something may seem easy (like taking a nap in an adorable Thomas Train bed on a lazy afternoon), but it might be monumental for the other person. And moving forward takes someone to lead and someone to support. Whatever role you play is important for a successful outcome.

Smart Tips Served Straight to Your Inbox

Want to build healthy, productive workplace relationships??? Join our community of Graceful Leaders/Managers and get access to tips, insights, and resources right in your inbox.

BONUS: Sign up now and receive a FREE animal-inspired gift: “3 Management Tips from Dog!"

Share with a friend using one of the buttons below. Then sign up so you can receive stories, tips, and guidance to help you develop healthy workplace relationships in your organization!


  1. sara on April 19, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Grace must have had a lot of learning oppertunities this weekend. I proud of her and glad for you.

    • PeopleSense Consulting LLC on April 20, 2011 at 11:03 am

      Thanks, Sara! I do think it’s good to expose Grace to as many experiences as we can, as long as it’s not too overwhelming for her. I think we all gain confidence from taking baby steps in any new endeavor. Thanks for your support of Grace and me!

  2. didiwright on April 20, 2011 at 10:12 am

    That’s such a lovely photo, Robin. Kids and dogs happen to be my favourite subject in the whole world! I’m really impressed with Grace for allowing a little boy to get so close to her. She must have felt he is a special child. George is weary of kids, too, especially young ones. The only other child he’s comfortable with apart from Brianna is my little nephew Jake who is 2 and, just like Clayton, was born to love animals.
    I agree with everything you say about courage. It’s relative and cannot be measured by a single standard. We don’t all have to be heroes, little things can require a lot of courage, too. Recently, a friend of mine wrote about her dog overcoming her fear of stairs. To me, that’s courage.
    Nice post again, Robin. It’s nice to be back and be able to catch up with your blog 🙂

    • PeopleSense Consulting LLC on April 20, 2011 at 11:09 am

      Thanks, Didi. The photo does bring a sense of contentment to me; Clayton and Grace are both demonstrating a sense of ease and peacefulness. It makes me very happy. And yes, courage means so many different things, depending on our own level of fear and discomfort in the thing we need to face. I was just talking to someone this morning who has some fear of driving; yet for many people, it’s something that we wouldn’t think about twice. We can’t judge how difficult it is until we walk in their shoes. And I always admire when someone acknowledges it so that support can be offered when needed. It helps to bring compassion to the situation because what is difficult for one person might be very easy for another. (It is great to have you back, too!)

Leave a Comment