Saying “No” to Abuse—the First Time

by Sandra Ford Walston

Experiencing abuse one time was simply enough for CEO Donna Cameron. “Sometimes, the most courageous thing we can do is leave a toxic workplace or stand up and say, ‘this is who I am, and if that isn’t what you want here, let’s get that out in the open right now,’ ” she said.

Donna’s experience provides rich insight into averting denial (the thoughts or feelings that keep us trapped and closed to creative options) in the workplace.  Of course, if you have plenty of other prospects, or no financial worries, that is probably much easier to do than if you desperately need that paycheck to make the mortgage payment and buy groceries.

However, are you limiting your options based on fear?

In order to overcome denial, our perceptions about our personal courage play a key role. Do you base your reality on the limited perceptual range of your senses thus limiting your options?

Anyone Can Be an Ally

Donna expanded her thoughts about how perception slices and limits courage. “Many people perceive courage as something extraordinary. They think courage is what you summon when tragedy strikes. Equally important is the everyday courage, the quiet courage that is with us when we go to work or spend time with friends and family. Courage is more often in the little things—revealing our vulnerability, saying what needs to be said or keeping silent when itching to say something hurtful.”

blossoming to full potential

There’s a quote that speaks to me of reaching the point where one must claim one’s courage: ‘And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.’”

Is Donna’s type of courage consciousness familiar to you? If not, practice letting go of attachments to outcomes. As you succeed in letting go, unhealthy desires and emotions will begin to diminish. With contemplation you achieve a clearer perspective versus allowing your desires and attachments to shade your view of reality, a subtle form of denial.

The rampant state of denial perpetuates itself in many forms, all of which can easily be overcome simply by simplifying your life. One of the easiest, most effective examples is trading your television time for some form of spirituality (stopping, meditating, reading sacred texts, praying, etc.). As Albert Einstein once said, “Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

Sandra Ford WalstonSandra Ford Walston is known as The Courage Expert and innovator of StuckThinking™. Featured on the speaker circuit as witty, provocative, concrete and insightful, she has sparked positive change in the lives of thousands of leaders each year. She found that there is a direct correlation between your success quotient and your courage quotient.

She is the internationally published author of bestseller COURAGE The Heart and Spirit of Every Woman, the follow-up book The COURAGE Difference at Work: A Unique Success Guide for Women (formerly STUCK) and FACE IT! 12 Courageous Actions that Bring Success at Work and Beyond. All three books are on based 21 years of original courage research. She is certified in the Enneagram and MBTI®, and she is a certified Newfield Network coach. Please visit

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© Sandra Ford Walston, The Courage Expert

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