The Six Types of Courage

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The Six Types of Courage

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I’ve long been curious about courage. My most recent connection is to it being one of the 5 Scrum Values and when asked, it always emerges as my favorite value.

Why? Part of me doesn’t know why.

I am a big fan of the Wizard of Oz and the Cowardly Lion role. Always smiling when he—finds the Courage that was essentially always inside him.

Another aspect is that I think it takes great courage to show up as an agile leader, agile coach, or other change agent in agile transformations. It certainly isn’t for the timid or faint of heart!

So, imagine my delight when I found the reference on Lion’s Whiskers to their 6 Types of Courage and the thinking around it. It expanded the nuance and depth of understanding around the term. So much so that I thought I’d share it with you.

Although we often see a blend of two or more of these types of courage, there is generally one that dominates the occasion.

Here are the six types of courage:

  1. Physical courage: This is the courage most people think of first: bravery at the risk of bodily harm or death. It involves developing physical strength, resiliency, and awareness.

  2. Social courage: This type of courage is familiar to most of us as it involves the risk of social embarrassment or exclusion, unpopularity, or rejection. It also involves leadership.

  3. Intellectual courage: This speaks to our willingness to engage with challenging ideas, question our thinking, and risk making mistakes. It means discerning and telling the truth.

  4. Moral courage: This involves doing the right thing, mainly when risks involve shame, opposition, or the disapproval of others. Here we enter into ethics and integrity, the resolution to match word and action with values and ideals. It is not about who we claim to be to our children and to others, but who we reveal ourselves to be through our words and actions.

  5. Emotional courage: This type of courage opens us to feeling the full spectrum of positive emotions, at the risk of encountering the negative ones. It is strongly correlated with happiness.

  6. Spiritual courage: This fortifies us when we grapple with questions about faith, purpose, and meaning, either in a religious or nonreligious framework.

For each type of the six types of courage: pick a popular character from a book, TV show, or movie and provide an example of how that character showed courage. Each one should be about 3-4 sentences.

Next, for each of those above characters, extrapolate the example into one of your own. It could be a situation where you—

This exploration is just for you, for your consideration and reflection.

Courage is not something I’m asking you to grade yourself on. Nor do I think it helpful to dwell on your courage gaps or missteps.

I just think it’s something to consider in your self-awareness journey as an agile change agent.

I like to wake up each day and consider to what level I courageously showed up yesterday when I’m journaling each morning. I also consider how I must show up courageously in my planned activities for the coming day.

It helps increase my awareness of and focus on…my courage.

Stay agile my friends,


Here’s another interpretive reference to consider –

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