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What does courage look like to you?

Maybe you picture a soldier fighting on the battlefield. Maybe you picture a fireman running into a burning building to save a life. You might even picture one of your children, jumping off of the diving board into the pool for the first time.

When you hear the word “courage”, usually you imagine a bold and daring act of bravery. What you might not think about right off the bat? Gratitude.

Just a few decades after Japan’s warrior class was abolished, U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt raved about a newly released book entitled Bushido: The Soul of Japan. Author Nitobe Inazo interprets the samurai code of behavior: how chivalrous people should act in their personal and professional lives.

Within this code, there are seven virtues that people followed in order to level-up their lives. And I know that these virtues will change your life. They will allow you to unleash a better version of yourself, both professionally and personally.

Every great empire has a code, and every great leader believes in these virtues that helped them grow their empire. The virtue I want to talk to you about today is courage. Because I know that courage goes hand-in-hand with gratitude, which will evolve your homebuilding company into a time-honored empire.

Courage is the key to unleashing your most successful self. You need courage to begin something. There is so much uncertainty that exists in our day-to-day lives, and the only way you will a achieve any of your goals is to fight uncertainty with gratitude for the challenge. At FPG, we define gratitude as the unyielding fuel for courage.

The Samurai embraced the idea that if you feared death, you would die. They were brave, and they faced their challenges with gratitude and honor, which lead them to have courage far greater than their enemies. They honored the difference between bravery and courage. To the Samurai, bravery was to do something despite fear. Courage, however, was to do something fearful because it is the right thing to do. So how do you build a courageous and grateful team?

1. Be intentional about a culture of gratitude.
A team culture of gratefulness doesn’t come automatically. It develops because the leader models, promotes and recognizes gratitude until it becomes a natural part of everyday life. These leaders set a tone of gratefulness for their company, their team members, and even their challenges. They express gratefulness whenever effort makes a difference. Think about this right now - How can you be intentional about your gratefulness on a daily basis?

2. Explain the ways that gratefulness improves their results.
When you’re in a state of gratitude, you’re focused on what you have instead of what you don’t have. You’re focused on what’s possible, not what’s impossible. You’re focused on why you win business instead of why you lose it. You’re focused on what you like about your job and your company and your colleagues instead of what you don’t like. Remember, gratitude is the unyielding fuel for courage. When you have gratitude, you jump out of bed and into the ring instead of hitting the snooze button.

3. Don’t send the message that your employees are only as good as their results.
Their results are one dimension of their success. So is their growth, and what they contribute that helps improve the results of others, and their willingness to put the needs of the company above their own. Always remember, celebrate the process and the results will follow.
I make it my mission every day to foster an environment of gratitude in my team because I know that a grateful team is a courageous team. I’ve encouraged my team to see their hardships and struggles as happening for them and not to them. Once you feel grateful for what you’re working on and going through, you will have courage to tackle your tasks head-on.

Gratitude is the key to courage. And courage gives you the power to put aside your fear of failure and take the first steps towards your goal. How will you be courageous today?