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Why Do You Need Courage in Your 20’s?

Definition: Courage – Acting despite perceived or actual risk.

You are in your twenties, working hard and trying to make a name for yourself. Conquering the skills required to be considered for the next step in your career is critical. That is just the first step to reach the next rung on your career ladder. For many people in your position, that next position is going to put you in charge of some project or a group of people. So, what do you need to do now to prepare for your next step? You’ve built the competencies you need to to be appointed to the role, but have you prepared to be a leader?

Leadership is a blend of competence and character. We define competence as knowing what to do and how to do it. Competence is what schools and initial employers prepare you for. But being a leader requires more.

Being a leader requires character in order to inspire others and build successful teams. Our character is the sum total of our habits – our good habits and our bad habits. Courage is perhaps the most important Habit of Character a leader needs to develop. Why? Because without the Courage to exercise character at the moment you are tested, character is just another academic discussion.

Courage is the Habit of Character that makes every other character trait possible. Courage is not the absence of fear. The only people who don’t have fear are sociopaths. We exercise Courage when we take action despite our fear.

What does fear sound like in our heads?

  • This might not work the way I hope, so I'll just stay quiet.

  • I’m too young or inexperienced to say something, so I’ll let others speak.

  • If I fail, I may never get promoted, so I’ll play it safe.

The only way to defeat those voices and prepare for the bigger challenges we will face when we get the chance to lead in the future is to face our fears (or discomfort) now. Courage is a habit. Each time you turn and face your fears or things that make you uncomfortable, it will make it easier the next time. The more we exercise Courage, the more courageous we become.

This blog series is meant for everyone who is about to or has just started their professional life. If you want to be prepared for what comes after that first job when you are an individual contributor, the time to get ready is now. Our goal is to help you think through what it means to exercise Courage now so you are ready for when they ask you to lead in the future. It may be next week. It may be next year. Therefore, the time is now to get ready and begin exercising this Habit of Character.

You don’t have to wait for someone to offer a leadership class at school or at work to start preparing yourself to lead. The biggest mistake people make is to wait until they get a leadership title before they start working on their leadership. The number one reason people will follow you in your twenties, or your forties or your sixties, is the character you display. You don’t need a title to exercise character, but you do need Courage.


  • What are those voices saying that prevents you from taking action

  • How are those voices keeping you growing as a leader?


“Would you follow you?” That is a critical question we all need to ask ourselves if we want to become Leaders of Character. Research has proven that people want to follow character. But where is your character today?

Here is a quick assessment that will take you 5 minutes to figure it out. Nobody will ever see your results but you.

Warning: If you are not going to be honest with yourself this is a worthless assessment.

To take the assessment use the QR code above or go to

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