Finding Courage to Do Something Great

For a little more than a year, I’ve been involved with ECHO, an organization that helps people start charitable clinics based on the model of Church Health in Memphis. ECHO has ambitions to make a huge positive affect on creating access to high-quality healthcare for the underserved.

It will be a big deal if we reach our goals. Getting there will be difficult. In trying, I’ve learned a lot about myself and about what it takes to make a big difference. But I think it ultimately comes down to one thing:


Driving innovation in any industry takes guts. By definition, you’re doing something (probably) not in your job description, new to the company, and that’s never been done. You might be sitting alone in your garage trying to start something. Wherever you are, your nerve and will to succeed will be tested.

If you look for a way out, or a reason to stop, you’ll find one. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll learn things the hard way. You’ll find out a piece of your brand-new, spectacular, world-changing idea is already being done by someone else. These failures, big and small, are humbling and it takes courage to overcome them.

Opportunities will present themselves at a rate that will not afford you the luxury of time to get used to your surroundings. You have to have the courage to take them anyway. Along the way, you have to keep challenging yourself to succeed and grow into your new role or as the shepherd of a world-changing product or service.

There will be a downside. Anxiety. Doubt. Stress. The fear of failure. These things and more will nag at you at every step of your journey toward innovation.

There’s a few things I do to find the courage to succeed in innovating with ECHO:

1. Trust yourself: you have to believe in and be committed to your vision. Stay informed about what’s happening in the world around your innovation so you can pivot and refine as necessary.
2. Appreciate your team: whether you built your team or not, appreciate the skills they have that can help the innovation succeed.
3. Talk about it: validating the innovation (within the confines of disclosure) with people you trust can make a world of difference. It feels good to hear others say it’s a good idea.

I’d love to hear about the ways you find the courage to do something great. Feel free to email me with your thoughts: