I shared with him what I've come to observe over the years.
It's not the smartest or the most educated that wins, it's the one with the most courage.
I reminded him that the kids that get picked on are the meek and mild and those that are afraid. Those that hide the GameBoy in fear of mocking. The coolest kids are those with the most courage and confidence. He immediately thought of a couple kids like that and said their names and gave me examples.
I've also seen this in business as I've watched various clients and leaders. There are many leaders with great degrees and pedigrees but when it comes right down to it, they're afraid to put themselves and their teams out there to lead the pack. There are also some truly great leaders that are only as smart as the masses of leaders but they have courage and they rally the troops and galvanize a team around an amazing goal and with courage and gumption they go for it.
It takes courage to stand out. It takes courage to put yourself out there. My friend Julie courageously put her first blog post out into the interwebz with an honest heart wrenching post about the possibility that her son Matthew may have autism. She's scared out of her mind and I believe will become one of the most outstanding advocates there is. She's got courage.
It takes courage to leave a 15 year career because it's no longer serving you well and reach out courageously into the great unknown to find that next career. My dear friend Robin is doing that now.
It takes courage to sign up for the basketball team when you've never played a day in your life and most of your friends have played for a couple of years. When our 5th grade girl did that this year, my heart swelled with pride and appreciation for the courage that it took. I knew when the time came for that first game and her stomach was in knots and fear was setting in that overcoming it and putting herself on that court would be a lesson in courage, not in free throw percentage. She made 3 baskets the whole season and each one of them was another badge of courage to put yourself out there and take a shot.
Maybe we should start to measure courage. We have IQ to measure intelligence and EQ has become widely accepted to discuss one's emotional intelligence, so what about CQ? What's your courage quotient?
It takes courage to stay in a marriage that's tough and to work through it. It takes courage to leave a relationship when you know it's causing more damage than good. It takes courage to finally start that business you've always dreamed about. It takes courage to be a working mom and always feel like you're straddling the great divide of your time and attention. It takes courage to pick up the phone and call that therapist and say, "I need some help." It takes courage to show up to that AA meeting. It takes courage to sign up for your first 5K when you've only run to catch a plane a few times in your life and never with a paper number pinned to your shirt.
Look around at the courageous acts in your circle of friends. If you know someone that's taking the steps of change, applaud their courage, be in their fan club. Become inspired and up your CQ too.
At the last minute while getting out of the car, Dude reached back into the glove compartment and took out the Retro Cool GameBoy and flashed me a quick smile as he dropped it into his backpack. I smiled back and said, "rock it like you got it Dude". And off he went with another badge of courage in his CQ.