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Courage: It's a soft skill

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

This month our theme at All Hands In is courage. I consider courage to be a soft skill because it is an interpersonal skill that when practiced regularly, can lead to effective decision making, problem solving, and greater empowerment.


Studies have shown that effective leader are not devoid of fear but rather they just practice courage on a regular basis so they become conditioned to face fear.


Developing a courage practice can take time, but once you've outline your needs you can begin to form the foundation of a practice that you're more likely to step into everyday.


How to start:


1) Identify How Fear Feels In Your Body.


Spend sometime using awareness to become familar with how fear feels in your body. Where does it tend to show up... in your heart? In your stomach? In just your hands and feet? Spend some time thinking about things your frightened to confront an pay attention to where that is.


2) List Your Fears.


Create three catagories for your fears. Highest level fears, scary but managable, uncomfortable fears you prefer to avoid but can do when pushed. List all you fears and place each one into one of the three categories.


3) Create a "Fear Scale."


Create a scale that goes from 1-10 (1 being "uncomforatble" to 10 "Highest fear").

1 - 3 = Uncomfortable

4 - 6 = Scary but Managable

7 - 10 = Highest Fear


4) Rank your fears on the scale according to each category.

Sit with each fear you listed and pay attention to how it makes you feel. BTW... doing this is also a great way to get additional time practicing the soft skill of awareness.


5) Use the scale to approach your practice.

For fears ranked 1 - 3 try and practice one of those daily.

For fears ranked 4 - 6 try and practice one weekly.

For fears ranked 7 - 10 come to these once you have developed confidence practicing 1-6. Then try to attempt it maybe once a month or yearly depending on how much fear you feel. If you have severe fears that you would consider phobias, professional help will be needed to confront and practice those.



Example of my fears.... Making eye contact and saying hello, Having to initiate difficult conversations, public speaking, acknowledging vulnerability, asking for my needs.


Uncomfortable Scary but Do-able Highest Level of Fear

1...........2...........3.....................4.............5.............6....................7..............8..............9.............10

Eye contact / saying hello

Initiating difficult convo's

Public Speaking

Acknowledging Vulnerability


Asking for my needs


My courage practice has taken decades to develop.

Quick Tip:


Pay attention and journal about your experience so you can monitor your progress.


Also.... don't forget to get creative with your solutions! Let's use my example above, I'd be expected to practice public speaking once a month. I may not have monthly presentations to give. So find ways to create opportunities- may this might look like- speaking up on a zoom, or public forum when given an opportunity to speak. Or it might look like, participating in public conversations on apps like Clubhouse once a month. You may even be able to turn it into a game.


Courage has taken time for me, but the upshot is that now I'm more comfortable with how I manage my fears. This doesn't mean I live without fear, but what this does allow is a way for me to acknowledge and confront my fears. When I identify my fears, it becomes easier to harness my courage and that is something I definitely need when I've got to kick ass in any arena.


We are all capable of kick ass courage, but it takes time, practice, and other soft skills to help us along the way. If you're struggling to step into courage, reach out and let see what tailoring a courage practice for you could look like!



Photo Credit: Howl & Rose

Kate Katz is the owner and founder of All Hands In, a soft skills development company. All Hands In specializes in soft skill development using play and puppetry. If you'd like to learn more about the work she does please visit: www.allhandsinworkshops.com or email her at kate@allhandsinworkshops.com


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