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Courage In A Joke

By Sarah Carlson, CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®

A few years ago, a male colleague said to me, “For a woman, you have entirely too much confidence." “Wow!" I thought. I was surprised he would say such a thing in this day and age when women are taking leadership roles in every industry, and we lead at home and in business. His comment told me more about how he was threatened by me for whatever reason, and it had nothing to do with me but everything to do with his insecurities.

It got me thinking of courage and confidence and how my journey of working hard, failing, and perseverance has led me to the confidence I now have. Being a woman in financial services for the last 30 years, I have had many chauvinistic and masochistic things happen or words said over those three decades. I never bought into that way of thinking, and instead, I felt and still believe that your vibe will attract your tribe. Not everyone wants to do their financial business with a woman, but plenty of fabulous people do. Eventually, you will find your people and find the usefulness and pleasure of being of service to them. Do you want to do business with people who have limiting beliefs?

Fear is a thief that robs us of the richness of life. It whispers doubts and builds invisible walls, making us believe that staying within our comfort zones is the safest choice. But in reality, fear is not a guardian but a prison guard. Living in fear is not truly living.

As humans, we are hardwired to avoid pain and seek pleasure. This primal instinct has helped us survive but can also lead us astray. Pain and pleasure are often misunderstood; pain is not synonymous with fear, and pleasure is not the same as joy. Pain is a teacher and a catalyst for growth, while fear can immobilize us, preventing us from taking risks that lead to personal and professional fulfillment. Unlike fleeting pleasure, joy is a deep-seated sense of contentment and purpose.

To truly grow in courage, you must see mistakes not as failures but as invaluable lessons. Every misstep is an opportunity to learn and improve. Victories are satisfying, but it is through our mistakes that we gain profound insight and build our confidence. And when a person reveals to you who they are and what they think, believe them the first time.

I recently saw that male colleague again, and he congratulated me on an industry award. I had the courage to remind him of his comment, and he immediately said, “ I was just joking when I said that.” I knew whether he was or not; it had nothing to do with me, and I stood in the strength of knowing I work hard and have good intentions. There is strength in learning from mistakes and standing up for your values. In that exchange, he revealed who he is and was not part of my tribe.

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Important Disclosures:
Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Securities and Advisory Services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA & SIPC.
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