Six Types of Courage

I recently read an article about six types of courage — the concept resonated with me. I know that one needs courage to do difficult things. What I hadn’t spent a lot of time previously thinking about was the different types of courage one needs to lead and to instill meaningful change.

Courage is a prerequisite for change to happen because change creates uncertainty. And uncertainly can lead to fear and apprehension for the change. So, being courageous as a leader is important.

Take a look at these different types of courage.


  • Physical Courage: To keep going with resiliency, balance and awareness.
  • Social Courage: To be yourself unapologetically.
  • Moral Courage: Doing the right thing even when it’s uncomfortable or unpopular.
  • Emotional Courage: Feeling all your emotions (positive & negative) without guilt or attachment.
  • Intellectual Courage: To learn, unlearn and relearn with an open & flexible mind.
  • Spiritual Courage: Living with purpose & meaning through a heart centered approach towards all life and oneself.

Now, go back and read the definitions again — but this time picture yourself as a leader in your school, district or other organization. Personalize them — think of a leadership example that relates to YOU. Really let each definition percolate before moving onto the next.

I’ll wait until your done — I’ve got a few minutes as this is an important part of the post.

When I read them in this context, a particular descriptor jumps out — a concept that unites all 6 into a single leadership trait — BEING GENUINE. To be courageous is to be genuine — both to yourself and others.

Here’s how:

  • Physical Courage: You are purposeful in seeking the balance that you need for yourself — that place of providing yourself with what you need to be as healthy and strong as possible.
  • Social Courage: Whether you are an introvert or extravert, you are proud and accepting of who you are in this world.
  • Moral Courage: You do what is right even if it is difficult. You are consistent towards others by honouring your own moral code.
  • Emotional Courage: You embrace your emotions. You accept you for being you.
  • Intellectual Courage: You stay true to the known facts, yet still remain open to the reality that you may be wrong.
  • Spiritual Courage: You lead with your heart and with meaning. You are genuine towards others.

Once you find that synergy or balance — that ability to be both comfortable in who you are yet also confident enough to accept personal change — you will be that person with determined courage who can lead in an environment of uncertainty and anxiousness.

With courage you become:

  • Confident without the arrogance
  • Consistent yet open to personal change
  • Comfortable yet still not satisfied

So, look for the opportunities to be courageous — in both your personal and professional lives — in all 6 domains. To lead is to be courageous. And, just like the Lion in the Wizard of Oz, you may be surprised to find out that you already have what you may be seeking.

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow’.

Mary Anne Radmacher

6 thoughts on “Six Types of Courage

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