Taking action and doing the right thing is not always easy. In fact, sometimes it’s downright hard!

In the face of challenge, push back, difficulty and discomfort, we may choose to step back instead of forward. But what compels us to move into the breach despite tough circumstances? Generally, what gives us courage to move forward is a connection to something we value highly – something we’re not willing to compromise on, no matter the cost. This requires a willingness to be vulnerable, brave, and make a conscious choice to do the right thing for the right reasons.

Since our world changed with the COVID 19 pandemic, we have seen so many health care professionals make conscious choices to step up with courage to do the right thing, live in alignment with their values, embrace vulnerability, and approach the difficult with confidence.

One such example is The Saban Community Clinic, a Federally Qualified Health Center, founded on the principle that healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Their approach enables sustainable change in the lives of vulnerable people who do not have access to quality care. I came across their powerful story through this Direct Relief video by Noah Smith. In this video we witness three of the medical personnel from the clinic take action and lead with courage despite the personal risk and cost to them and their families.

The following quotes exemplify courage in the face of hard choices:

“The fear that I have is I don’t want to be sick because I want to be helpful. I will be here until I die. So I want to stay healthy because I want to make sure that I’m helping everyone else.” Dr. Armen Arshakyan, Infectious Disease Specialist
“Scary when I started to see my colleagues as patients.” Josie Meraz, Registered Nurse
“Today I felt it going into the hospital, all of this fear and anxiety – you could cut it with a knife. Everybody’s so scared and they don’t know when this is going to stop.” Brendan Hickey, Registered Nurse

Not all of us are required to step into the middle of a pandemic in the way these professionals are, yet there are many opportunities to take action and lead with courage:

• Stretching into discomfort of any kind
• Speaking up to give constructive feedback to someone on the leadership team at work
• Approaching a family member, with whom we have a difficult relationship, about something we need or want from them
• Sharing a different perspective than what others have articulated
• Recognizing the physical feelings of fear and deciding to do it anyway when a natural response would be to flee
• Willingness to share deep feelings when unsure of how others will respond
• Taking a risk to do something we’re not sure we can do

When everyday people make courageous decisions, the extraordinary happens. When have you recently seen someone leading with courage? When has courage been required of you?


Carla Ruiz

Carla Ruiz

Carla’s mission is to fuel growth and development by affirming strengths, challenging beliefs, and igniting potential through Values Based Leadership. She presents, facilitates, and coaches in a variety of leadership programs and with companies intentional about strengthening their culture. In her role as a Leadership Development Coach, she is passionate about increasing emotional intelligence, which she believes is the cornerstone of effective leadership.

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