(3 minute read)
Who would think such a plain-looking book – black and white cover, A5 in size, a little odd because it appears to be printed landscape – could instil such inspired courage? Over the Christmas/New Year break I read “Chapter One,” by Daniel Flynn, Co-founder of Thankyou, an organisation committed to ending world poverty. Thanks to Dani T for this gift! I found that I couldn’t put this book down. I read it in approximately 24 hours; it is particularly dog-eared and has ideas scribbled all over it – the signs of a good book in my library.
As I read Chapter One, I was overwhelmed and inspired by the courage demonstrated by the team at Thankyou – courage that was demonstrated on a number of occasions. The courage to:
- Act on the question, “what if it were me?”
- Leave university to pursue the goal of “ending world poverty”
- Engage many different stakeholders, including the general public – that is, us – in their goal
- Not take on investors
- Take on global competitors in the FMCG industry
- Keep going when people around them were asking questions and making comments such as:
- “What if it doesn’t work?” To this they replied – “What if it does?”
- “You’re not going to last.”
- “Don’t bother, they’ve got the market covered.”
- Put the cart before the horse
- Keep going while experiencing failure – repeatedly. Thankyou considers failure to be a “master mentor.”
- Be vulnerable and share the journey that is Thankyou to date
- Print a book in landscape, not portrait. At first, I was quite put out, but seriously, it’s a lot more comfortable to hold and read!
How has this inspired courage in me? Well, firstly, we know that we are inspired to courageous acts after witnessing or experiencing the courageous acts of others; I have just experienced 250+ pages of courage as well as jumped on Thankyou‘s website, read some of their blogs, and watched a couple of their videos on YouTube. Secondly, I am going to humbly and courageously (I am holding tension as I write this) suggest that there are parallels in our journeys, which further inspire courage in me.
Daniel writes about understanding your “why” and belief that “it will work” as this has kept him focused and committed to their goal; he writes that every individual has a story, every person has value, and also of the importance of unlocking the potential inside people. My why, which is “to open doors,” is about unlocking the potential in people as they step through their own doorways and soak up the other side. My belief that courage can unlock potential and success in people and workplaces motivates me to discuss how to develop courage so that it is a robust, operationalised skill.
Daniel writes about David and Goliath; at insium, we feel a little (a lot) like David as our competitors are global and “have things covered;” but we know that while there are many programs and books about courage, these are not based on research and evidence. We are offering an evidence-based program, with the intent to continue to strengthen the evidence as we collect data.
Thankyou is about impact rather than product; about buying a vision not just water. The vision for our “Courageous Communities” program is to grow the courage reserves of Australia. Here is an opportunity to create impact by being a part of something that is bigger than self, something that will bring benefit to our community.
As I read Daniel’s words of how a team can support you through fear, I was reminded of the time I was about to take the stage at the 5th World Congress of Positive Psychology in Montreal to launch “Leading with Courage” and was feeling nervous (where was my courage?!). I was surrounded by Marcia, Judy, Roz and others, and Rachel reminded me of why I was there – of my purpose – which helped manage my nerves. I also know my support crew at home, particularly Geoff and Brian, had my back. Thank you all for your support.
What has reading Chapter One inspired me to courageously do? As you know, we will shortly be publishing a number of interviews with leaders in the field of courage as well as interviews with courageous leaders. This book has inspired me to have the courage to contact Daniel and ask him for 15 minutes of his time in order to be interviewed. I have some momentum up now; I’m going to fight to keep it. Daniel, if you happen to be reading this, a letter will land on your desk within the next week. Looking forward to catching up!