Want to Find Your Courage? Here's My Blueprint

From our sponsor

This feature was produced by Hiscox, and does not reflect the opinions or point of view of Vox Media or Vox Creative. Vox Media editorial staff was not involved in the creation or production of this content.

By Hartley Sawyer, host of Courageous Leaders

It's a Thursday evening and I sit at my desk in my Los Angeles apartment. I've been procrastinating on some work, my mind drifting to thoughts of how I could or should structure everything to be the most effective and productive that I could be. I made the decision in this moment to sit down and write this road block out - and I might as well share it with you, as it brought me to a profound realization.

I began to reflect on the six individuals I spent time with for Courageous Leaders. It's been a fortnight since I wrapped my work on the project. Doing this work changed me in a way that I didn't expect, and tonight I may have realized what the crux of that change is.

I went into the project with no expectations, and yet I found myself absorbing these individual's attitudes as I talked with them. If there is one masterstroke that I connect as an overall commonality between the Leaders, it is their positive and capable attitude as an individual - which is, after all, one of the few things we as individuals can actually control. But what is the root of their attitude?

It is simple: decision.

These men and women decide their attitude - they are not victim to the context of a given circumstance, project, or life. And after all, we are all often met with circumstances in our personal and professional lives that are out of our control. These Leaders reminded me that one decision on what our attitude will be will set the tone for our response to these circumstances; and thusly it will exponentially influence the next rare thing we can actually control - our actions.

The idea of action can be a struggle for me - so often I am "all or nothing," I am either burning the candle at two ends or I am rendered ineffective from doing so.

But "all or nothing" is not sustainable. I can't run myself twenty-four hours a day. And as Ben Lerer pointed out, I don't need to have the resources to take a weekend away to recharge.

We can all carve out time in our schedules to detach from our work and reconnect with our lives. I can call my dad, mom or my brothers. I can meditate, walk my dogs, have a workout and then get back to the tasks at hand. I can thrust myself into starting a new creative project, formulating a new business idea or dealing with a colleague. But I can always reconnect with life as long as I decide to do so.

We all rely on other people or institutions to supply us with necessities that we need - emotional, financial, or creative. I don't have to do it all in one day and if I am attempting to do it all then I have not charted my course effectively.

It is not my charge to be omniscient in business or life, it is my charge to approach each day with the most positive mindset I can manage so I can ask of myself the most effective action I can manage. I don't have to handle everything - these highly successful people ALL delegate tasks to professionals with either more time or more knowledge. This delegation allows the Leader to invest their energy, resources and passion into the area they have their focus on. If I feel like I need to handle absolutely everything, the bottom line is I probably won't have the energy to ground myself and DECIDE to have a decent attitude. And if my attitude suffers, my action will follow suit.

Even now as I share these thoughts, I feel invigorated by the break from my routine. In the gap of jotting down these mental meanderings I have come down to planet Earth. I have plenty of food in the kitchen, I have a roof over my head and a support system emotionally and practically should - Heaven forbid - something ever fall through.

But it all started with a decision.

Over and over with these six Leaders I had a front row seat to observe the power of decision - decide to ask for help, decide to rely on your loved ones, decide what you will do and what you will not do, decide to be honest with yourself about what your passion is and then decide to pursue it - no matter how perilous the path may appear to be. Decide your attitude, then your action - decide to decide if you have to! Too often in life we cling to the mast of our ships and brace ourselves against the weather. No more for me - it is time to grab the helm each and every day and do my best.

The power of decision is the blueprint for courage. Set your attitude, make the decisions, and fill in the rest with action.

And guess what? If it all goes south tomorrow, I can take a page out of Dennis Crowley's book and decide to get up the next day and "keep tinkering."

That one bad day might be the best thing that ever happened to me.

This feature was produced by Hiscox, and does not reflect the opinions or point of view of Vox Media or Vox Creative. Vox Media editorial staff was not involved in the creation or production of this content.

More from Hiscox


Adam Mariucci is Literally a Real Estate Rock Star.

Musician turned real estate power broker Adam Mariucci shares his tips for handling rejection like a boss and finding the courage to keep moving.


Why Interior Designer Ross Cassidy Always Carries a Trampoline

Hear how interior designer Ross Cassidy bounced from dollar draft bartender to 'million dollar decorator.'


Think YOUR Publicist is Fearless?

Why would PR maven Jocelyn Johnson start a firm with less than a month's rent in her bank account and zero clients? Five words: "Fear is a death trap."


Thrillist's Ben Lerer Talks Work, Family and Finding the Courage to Evolve

How Thrillist Co-founder, Ben Lerer is mastering the art of evolution and why after a decade, he's still having fun.