One of the many tributes to civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis came from activist Packnett Cunningham. In Time she wrote:

“Any observation of John Lewis’ life, from his early years to his many terms in Congress, communicates a simple truth: courage is a discipline. In order for courage to change the course of history, as Mr. Lewis’ did, it cannot be episodic – it must be unwavering. We should count ourselves blessed to have witnessed a case study in the continual practice of the discipline of courage from a master teacher in our lifetimes.”

Those words really spoke to me: “Courage is a discipline.” I tend to think of courage as an act, a one-time thing, a momentary decision whether or not to be brave right now – not as a lifelong way of being. But maybe that has been the problem with all of us – we stand up or speak up for something that arouses our passions, and then our ire and voices fade away. We don’t practice the discipline of being courageous continually; of persisting until the wrong is right, and instead retreat or divert to the next crisis at hand.

John Lewis offered many lessons throughout his life. Maybe this is one you can adopt to make it part of who you are going forward.

Source: Marching Orders by Brittany Packnett Cunningham, Time, August 3/August 10, 2020, p. 43

 

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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