The WIT Network

Blog: Just show up: The courage to be inspiring

Just show up: The courage to be inspiring

Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor: the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant ’To speak one‘s mind by telling all one‘s heart.‘ Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences—good and bad.

—Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame

Our stories are potent. Sharing our authentic selves and our journeys with others has the power to free us and teach others. When people share their stories authentically, we learn and grow our understanding through empathy. Sharing stories builds connection and community, helps us navigate tricky situations, decreases isolation, and increases feelings of belonging.

And our stories are potent sources of inspiration. 

That‘s why we‘ve renamed our Mentoring Circles program WITspiration. Because it‘s more than just a place to mentor and be mentored, it‘s a place to come together to be inspired by each other and each other‘s courage.

Being a woman in tech takes courage

Because we can feel belonging only if we have the courage to share our most authentic selves with people, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.

—Brené Brown, Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience

We want more women to enter the technology industry and rise into leadership. It takes great personal courage to enter a male-dominated industry, persevere in it, and rise to the top. Once you‘ve reached the upper echelons, it becomes about inspiring courage in others.

How do we cultivate courage? We can inspire courage in ourselves and others in three ways:

1)By naming our own fears out loud and by acknowledging the fears of others. Recognition and naming diminish fear.

2)By preparing for what we fear or helping others prepare themselves to face their fear. Preparation transforms fear into something tangible that can be overcome.

3)By focussing on your purpose and helping others articulate and reach their goals. It‘s important to establish concrete reasons for moving forward for yourself. It is also highly beneficial (and rewarding) to help others achieve their goals and stay focused. Facing uncertainty without clear purpose increases feelings of fear.

A simple way to put these three steps into action is by sharing our stories in a safe and supportive space.

WITspiration Mentoring Circles: A safe space to come together

Over the years, The WIT Network has held many large and small mentoring circles, virtual and in-person. We‘ve taught people how to facilitate circles and how to use circles to the benefit of businesses. We heard from participants that these circles offered far more than mentoring; they were inspiring.

When we come together as our authentic selves and share our stories in a safe space, we inspire courage in each other. We are emboldened to chase our dreams, name our fears, and overcome obstacles.

Joe Tye, CEO of Values Coach and motivational speaker, says one way to build courage in extraordinary times is to lighten up and laugh—it is physiologically impossible to be frightened when you are laughing.

During our circles, we laugh a lot too.

In 2022, join a monthly WITspiration Mentoring Circle and get the support, inspiration, and laughter you need to get what you want.

Be here. Be you. Belong.

—Brené Brown, Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience

Be courageous. Register for a WITspiration Mentoring Circle:

Thursday, January 20, 2022, 12:00–1:00 PM EST

WITspiration Mentoring Circles—2022: Time to Leave the Past Behind

Thursday, February 03, 2022, 12:00–1:00 PM EST

WITspiration Mentoring Circles—Love is in the Air: A Journey of Self-Love

Thursday, April 07, 2022, 12:00–1:00 PM EST

WITspiration Mentoring Circles—Ready to Rise? Inspired Leadership

Thursday, May 12, 2022, 12:00–1:00 PM EST

WITspiration Mentoring Circles—Being Bold in Your Career

Thursday, June 09, 2022, 12:00–1:00 PM EST

WITspiration Mentoring Circles—Advocate for Yourself: You Can Do It!