By Hope Katz Gibbs
Be Inkandescent Magazine
“Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others,” Aristotle said.
This quote is but the first bit of thoughtful advice offered by author, speaker, and executive coach Margie Warrell.
Since meeting this truly amazing woman at a leadership conference in April, I have gobbled up the information outlined in her 300-page book.
What’s more, I have been carrying around in my wallet her business card, which offers 10 quick and easy reminders that the world is your oyster—if you can leapfrog over your fears and seize the opportunities. Here’s how:
Margie Warrell’s 10 Commandments of Courage
1. Think Bigger: Set your sights high and know that if you can dream it, you can do it. All great accomplishments first begin in the imagination.
2. Trust Yourself: No matter what happens, you can handle it. You are capable of more than you think you are.
3. Question Assumptions: The only limits you have are those you place on yourself. Assumptions are the death of possibilities.
4. Do What’s Right: Be true to yourself above anything else. Integrity is the only path upon which you will never get lost.
5. Stop Complaining: You can’t solve your problems by whining about them. Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t.
6. Resist Conformity: Don’t surrender to the opinions of others. Express your individuality. Be your own person. Forge your own path.
7. Speak Up: If there’s something you really want to say, chances are someone really needs to hear it. Be bold in your requests and brave in your conversations.
8. Don’t Quit: Success demands perseverance. Setbacks are merely opportunities to show the universe what you’re made of. Press on. Keep having faith.
9. Say No: Say no to the good to make room for the great. Don’t succumb to people-pleasing at the expense of your own sanity and fulfillment.
10. Take Action: Nothing great has ever been achieved without risk. So acknowledge your fear and do it anyway. Fortune favors the bold!
Find Your Courage: 12 Acts for Becoming Fearless at Work and in Life
Granted, Warrell’s 10 affirmations are not new or novel, but they are simple truths that are too easy to forget in the flurry of our uber-busy, and often hyper-competitive lives.
And that is why her book, “Find Your Courage!” which was published by McGraw-Hill in 2009, is still selling like gangbusters.
“I have been so encouraged by how this book has been received,” says Warrell, who in the last two years has shared her expertise as a guest on “Today,” “FoxNews,” and CNBC. She is also the resident coach on WJLA’s daily talk show, “Let’s Talk Live,” and has been quoted in Woman’s Day, The New York Times, The London Telegraph, Dallas Morning News and USA Today.
After publishing her book, Warrell was invited to co-author “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life,” with Dr. Richard Carlson (“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”), John Gray (“Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus”), Jack Canfield (co-creator of “Chicken Soup for the Soul”), Bob Proctor (author and life-coach), and Alan Cohen (“I Had It All the Time”). She also co-authored “Discover Your Inner Strength,” with Gray, Canfield, and Stephen Covey (“7 Habits of Highly Effective People”) and is currently at work on her newest title, “Soar!”
Of course, Warrell is simply following her own advice.
For instance, in “Find Your Courage!” she writes about what it means to dream big.
“Dreaming bigger means creating a vision for your life and for your world that is more inspiring and more daring. It means moving out of a state of resignation and demanding more from yourself and more out of life.
“You dig deep inside yourself and connect with the ideas that truly inspire you and bring vital meaning and fulfillment to your relationships, your career, and your life in general. When you have the courage to create a personal vision that leaves you feeling purposeful and passionate, your passion ignites the imagination of others, inspiring them to set their sights higher in life, and to ask more from it, and to give more to it.”
Behind the Courage
Warrell realizes, of course, that finding the courage to take a big risk—and then have it pay off in spades—is not always how life plays out. The point, she insists, is that you simply give it a try.
“I know it’s not easy to let go of your fears, but to find the real richness in life, you simply have to do it,” Warrell shared when we sat down in June for a chat at her favorite McLean, VA, coffee hub, Greenberry’s.
“In fact, I decided to write this book when my children were all very little, and my life was crazy busy, but it was simply something I had to do,” she says. “I knew I was taking a leap of faith, and I knew that this book might ultimately sell six copies—one to each of my four kids, one to my husband, and one to my parents. But even still, I summoned my courage, and got on with it.”
The native of Australia, who grew up on a dairy farm with six siblings, said her desire was born from years of struggle and growth. Not only did it take deep inner strength to leave for college in the big city of Melbourne, but also she supported herself as she got her degree in business.
She then spent a year backpacking around the world on her own, before settling down to work. She married Andrew Warrell 18 years ago, and since then overcame the sorrow of miscarriages, overcame bulimia, and in 2001 moved her family from Australia to Dallas—the day after 9/11.
“We had three little children at the time, and it was incredibly scary to make that move, much less the day after the terrorist attack when we didn’t have any idea what would come next,” she recalls. “But we did it. After all, we weren’t going to let our fears hold us back.”
Why do so many people let fear dictate their lives?
Warrell believes it is because those voices in our heads get the best of us. “Too many people hide behind those nagging questions: What will people think of me? What happens if I fail? What if I actually succeed?” she explains. “I, for one, never want to look back and regret that I didn’t take a risk because I was afraid. Do you?”
Pushing past our limiting beliefs is the key. And in the chapters of her book, Warrell walks readers through 12 lessons, which are divided into three parts:
Part 1: Develop foundational acts of courage. Take responsibility, live with integrity, challenge your stories, and dream bigger.
Part 2: Put your courage into action. Find the courage to be yourself, to speak up, take action, persevere—and to say no.
Part 3: Make courage a way of being. Start by having the courage to live with an open heart, let go, and be a leader.
In the end, she asks: “Are you ready to step up to the plate of leadership? Are you willing to rise to the challenge of being a leader in the truest sense of the world? If so, what do you intend to do about it?”
Seize your courage!