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'Are You Afraid to Be Gutsy?' from Cie Murray: Got the Power?

Are You Afraid to Be Gutsy?

Date: Sep 30, 2016
Category: Peak Performance Motivation 

by Cie Murray

Tom Noonan, was 5 months behind on his mortgage, had maxed out 37 Visa credit cards for cash advances to pay for business expenses and had used all the personal cash he had for his internet security company.  With a wife and three kids at home, he felt he had a virus in his head.

Just a few years earlier in the 1990’s, at the start of his company the CEO of a large tech firm in California wanted him to serve on their executive team. He sent the CEO an email to tell him no, I’m starting an internet security company.  The CEO replied “That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard.  If you ever get any money in that company I’ll come to Atlanta and drink champagne from a prostitute’s shoe.” 

It’s a good thing Noonan was stupid, because in 2007, he and his co-founder Chris Klaus both Georgia Tech grads (my alma mater) sold Internet Security Systems Inc. (ISS) to IBM for $1.6 billion dollars.

Was Tom stupid. Of course not, he was gutsy. What is gutsy?  It’s the courage to stand up for what you believe in. The nerve to do what you believe. And the fortitude to stick with it.  Let’s explore how you can use these three keys, courage, nerve, and fortitude to win at work & life.


Courage in the Face of Criticism

You are in a staff meeting and a great idea just crossed your mind that might be a great solution for what your department is confronting.  The idea is novel and has an element of risk to it, but it could solve your department’s problem. 

Just when you were about to share it, you look up to see Barry Bummer “the critical know it all” starring at you.  Your head is shouting don’t say that, Barry’s is going to rant and rave about your dumb idea.

Don’t listen to the loud thoughts shouting in your head. Instead listen to the quiet voice of your heart.  What is your gut telling you to say? Then just say it. And say it with boldness and confidence even if you don’t feel bold and confident.

Standing up for what you believe, enhances your self-worth and gives you a sense of power. 


The Nerve to Do It

Rosa Parks, a seamstress, had the nerve to do what she believed, so that other people could sit down.  While riding home on the Montgomery Alabama city bus, Parks, was ordered and threatened by the bus driver to give up her bus seat to a white man.  She knew to remain seated would mean jail time and very dangerous consequences in 1955. 

Parks wrote she stayed seated, because “I was not old, I was 42, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”  Her spunk ignited the civil rights movement and the end to segregation in America.

Where did she get the nerve to be willing to face dire circumstances in not giving up her seat on the bus?  Parks wrote “that from my upbringing and the Bible, I learned people should stand up for rights”.  

Parks was fed up with the status quo and injustice and decided to be gutsy, not to take it anymore. You can do the same as Parks.  Use an upsetting situation, unfair policy, or injustice to give you the nerve to move into positive actions at work.


The Fortitude to Stick with It

In the early nineties, Sally Herndon had a mission to increase the health of Americans by decreasing cigarette smoking.  She was gutsy enough to start the initiative in North Carolina, the tobacco industry’s own turf. 

As the program manager for Project ASSIST, she and her team spent two years planning their move.  Just when they were set to roll out their program, they were faced with a terrible set back.  The tobacco lobbyists convinced the North Carolina legislature to enact a law to require 20% of office building space to be used for smoking.    

Going back to the drawing board, they decided to pick a fight they couldn’t lose.  Their target became public schools.  Tobacco farmers even agreed that their kids shouldn’t smoke.  Her team had to hit the road to reach each school board, winning victories one board at a time.  It took 17 years to get 100% of the states’ districts to go tobacco free.

Herndon also tackled hospitals, prisons, the state General Assembly and restaurants.  Over a 20-year period, the adult smoking decreased nearly 25%.  In addition, millions of North Carolina residents were saved from the negative consequences of second-hand smoke.

She has continued to endure in the pursuit of her long term goal……protecting the public from the dangers of tobacco use.  Motivated by her goal, Herndon had the fortitude to keep on keeping on and achieved tremendous increase in Americans’ state of health.


Cie Murray is Your MOTORvator® from Atlanta, Georgia. She delivers powerful keynote presentations and workshops for organizations who want to get the “Very BEST” out of their teams. View her Video at  To have Cie speak call her at 770-631-7031 or Visit her website at     

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