The courage to step in

Last week, while chatting to a dear friend, I was reminded about a big courageous moment early in my career. And the life-changing sort, that teaches you what’s possible when you somehow shut off the noise, step in and have a go.

I wanted to be comfortable standing up and presenting to people. To do this without fear, and instead, with confidence and clarity. For me, that meant not having my thoughts freeze up, and not shaking uncontrollably or stumbling over my words and gasping for air!

At heart, I needed to actually believe that I could do this well.

So I started training in skills around behavioural and emotional state flexibility. Really, it’s a fancy way of saying: in any given situation, how else could you think and feel and act that would be better?

Needless to say this came in handy, rather quickly! 

I was on a project for an executive leader who asked us to present and prepare her team of around twenty people, to be ready for rollout.


I remember hanging up the phone that day, and my colleague and I looking at each other. Shock and fear smeared across our faces. Neither of us saw ourselves as facilitators, so this freaked us out. Then, I just blurted out, “Well someone has to do it, so I will.”

Yep, I nominated myself. I’m not sure why I chose to take the lead. It sure felt more stupid than courageous.

Equally, I didn’t have time to worry. My focus shifted to the fact we had a great client and our job was to serve her and her team well.

Now, fast-forward to twenty minutes before session kick-off. No-one’s here yet and I’m staring out the window and over these great views across Melbourne. In a moment of calm, I have a flash of insight: “Dani, you’ve picked up some tools that you can whip out right now!” And this will change how I think and feel in this whole meeting. So that’s what I did, right before the leader wandered into the room.

And it shifted my inner game. 

It allowed me to move more comfortably into my first shot at stepping in to something that was ‘huge for me’. I didn’t vomit or freeze or curl up and die. I actually felt alright and stayed focused. And the best bit was the feedback and the results – happy leader and happy team, all ready to step out and get the job done! Which they did successfully.

Years down the track, I can say that it’s become easier to have a crack or step in to something new or different. Even when it scares the bejeezus outa me. 

Sometimes courage or bravery is simpler than it sounds. Parking some loud and bossy thoughts and feelings to one side, grabbing support or resources within you, and choosing to take a step out of your routine or comfort zone. 

What bossy or loud thoughts would you like to park or push aside, so you can connect with your courage?