In the face of unprecedented adversity, we’ve all had to access our inner strength and resilience this past year — for our health, and for that of our families. But at work, it’s often challenging to stay strong. With so much economic uncertainty, there can be a tendency to focus on survival at the cost of our well-being, growth, and creativity

That’s where tapping into courage comes in. “This is the time to tap into your innate strengths and intuition in order to be more fulfilled,” entrepreneur and author Paul Miller tells Thrive Global. “I see courage as a secret power that can lay dormant or be released at any moment.” It’s true: By displaying courage not just at home but at work, we can unlock greater depths of success and well-being, and further strengthen our ability to persevere through turbulent times.

Here are four strategies to help you bring out your inner courage at work today:

Take small risks

Risks can feel scary, but stepping out of your comfort zone can be immensely rewarding — especially when the days begin to feel the same, as it does for many who are working remotely. Next time you meet with co-workers and an idea bubbles up in your brain, try sharing it with the group — even if it’s something you wouldn’t normally say. While you’re sharing, Miller recommends pausing to notice what the experience feels like, and then giving yourself a little internal pat on the back. This self-acknowledgment will help you become comfortable with the art of risk-taking, and as time goes on, you may even begin to enjoy it! 

Encourage each other

The etymology of the word “encourage” comes from the Old French word “encoragier,” meaning “make strong, hearten.” Essentially, then, by encouraging someone, we inspire them to be courageous. And encouragement has a positive ripple effect: When we help others access their strengths, they often do the same for us. Miller suggests arranging a regular call with a colleague to brainstorm ideas, listen, and offer feedback. Not only will your fellow courageousness bounce off each other, but you’ll also enjoy some collaborative fun. 

Ask for what you want

Whether you are hoping for a promotion or looking for help with a problem, it takes courage to request what you want. You may be concerned about asking for a pay raise, for example, in these tough times. But if you don’t ask, it’s unlikely that your wish will be granted! Try writing down what you want to say before having that conversation. The worst that can happen is your boss will say no, but at least you’ll know where you stand.  

Be kind to yourself 

When you do something that requires courage, take a moment to congratulate yourself — even if your efforts don’t go according to plan. One suggestion: Try repeating positive affirmations, either out loud or inwardly, to rewire your brain for positive thinking. You can say, “I am great at my job” or “I have fantastic ideas.” Once you identify an affirmation that works for you, just keep going! In no time, you’ll see that courage really does pay off.


  • Elaine Lipworth

    Senior Content Writer at Thrive Global

    Elaine Lipworth is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster who has reported for a variety of BBC shows  and other networks. She has written about film, lifestyle, psychology and health for newspapers and magazines around the globe. Publications she’s contributed to range from The Guardian, The Times and You Magazine, to The Four Seasons Hotel Magazine,  Marie Claire, Harpers Bazaar,  Women’s Weekly and Sunday Life (Australia). She has also written regularly for film companies including Fox, Disney and Lionsgate. Recently, Elaine taught journalism as an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University. Born and raised in the UK, Elaine is married with two daughters and lives in Los Angeles.