By the way, if you live in the Seattle area and would like to hear Gus talk about the importance of courage and how to develop it, check out the event information here.
Gus has written both fiction and nonfiction books and it shows in his writing. It has a lyrical quality. I just have to share this brief introduction to "Part Two:"
We’ve seen the power of courage. We’ve also been reminded of the dangers of cowardice and apathy.
When an executive shows courage by facing her fears, even her critics are secretly inspired. But when a boss folds to uncertainty, the courage and capability of the organization become as usable as confetti in a tornado.
Courage is a stunning quiality: it is learnable. I, a former poster boy for cowardice, know this. In an inner city ghetto, I accepted fear as my master and made daily sacfifices to it from a quaking heart. Bullies cultivated a taste for my blood. Tiny tots and girls fed up by my crying could pound me. My two exceptionally clever moves of fleeing and blaming others proved unsuccessfulI. I shouldn’t brag, but I was a very entertaining little kid.
I was sent to a YMCA boxing program to save my life. The tank top kept falling off because it required shoulders. In shorts, black socks and scuffed Buster Browns, I looked like a toothpick in a tutu.
My coach recoiled, "Aw, cripe, kid, ya make me wanna cry." Facing a body bag that was bigger than me, I burst into tears. When Coach hit the bell for me to fight, I dove through the ropes, instantly smacking into a wall which acute myopia had failed to detect.
Coach Tony knew that training and practice reverse the habits of fear. It is the one way courage is learned.
With his interventions, I watched. I learned. I tried. I improved. Because the coaches were intentional and time is kind, I became an assistant boxing instructor, teaching younger lads the science of self defense. I’m not as active in boxing as I once was, but my understanding of the power of courage has grown even more steadfast.
A boxing ring can symbolize for us the ability to overcome fear and to learn courage. Today’s fast-paced corporate ropes are our learning labs, our modern gymnasia in which we can devlop and practice the specific skills that constitute the competence of courageous living.
Instead of facing right crosses, left hooks, kidney punches and jabs out of a clinch, we face people who withhold, cut corners, gossip, feud, exaggerate, blame others and spread angry criticism, stress and dismay. The business ring can be even more dangerous to your health.
In this next section, I can serve as your coach. Courage is relational. Learning courage requires a relationship with a coach, a mentor. In the chapters and stories that follow, you will learn the ropes of principled conduct and courage.
Courage is a deep-seated, fundamental competence that leverages our other abilities. In invokes within us our absolute best selves.
The tremendous results purchased by courageous behaviors can’t be replaced.
Let’s put on our gloves.
I love the line: The tank top kept falling off because it required shoulders. Gus looks at courage in a broad way and provides a compelling promise for the benefits of improving it within our organizations. The book also offers specifics on how to do this.
Another interesting quote later in the book: " The leader’s job is to ethically inspire others to their best selves so they can act for the right. We do this through relational power – by inserting courageous behaviors into intentional relationship building."
There’s a lot of talk about being intentional in this book – I like the way Gus coaches us on intentionality.
Provocative book – go get it.