Recognise This! – Courage can be demonstrated in ways both big and small, all important.

I’m flying today. I’ve heard too many comments to count along the lines of, “You’re flying on 9/11? Your crazy!” or “You must have a lot of courage to fly on 9/11.”

Choosing to fly on the anniversary of a tragic day is not courageous. I’m just doing what needs to be done in the course of my regular work. True courage was defined on 9/11/2001. Running into disaster instead of away from it. Knowingly risking your own life to save others. Pushing, pushing, pushing to help, past the point of exhaustion and even reason. Some of those truly courageous people would also say, “That’s not courage, that’s just doing my job.” Yet “courage” is part of their job.

On the Recognize This! blog, we write a lot about how to make your core values real in the daily work of all employees. And courage is a not-uncommon value at many companies. But it is often a misunderstood value. Courage can be big and dramatic, and it can be little and nearly unremarked. But it is no less important. Right now, I’m thinking of the people who lived relatively close to World Trade Center that welcomed people running for their lives. Giving them shelter from the debris and water to clear the dust from their throats. The world was turned upside down that day. The easy solution for these people would have been to lock their doors and shut the crazy out. But they didn’t. They showed courage, too.

Today, to remember the victims and to honor the survivors and first responders, perhaps take a moment to notice the courageous acts – both big and small – happening around you. Then pause to appreciate those people who are themselves courageous. Tell them thank you.

What does courage mean to you?