CFD 539 – Bill Treasurer On Courage Goes To Work

Bill Treasurer is chief encouragement officer of Giant Leap Consulting, a courage-building company. For over two decades, Treasurer has worked with thousands of leaders across the globe, strengthening their leadership influence. He is the author of the new internationally bestselling book international bestseller Courage Goes to Work: How to Build Backbones, Boost Performance, and Get Results. 

His previous book, A Leadership Kick in the Ass: How to Learn from Rough Landings, Blunders, and Missteps, provides practical tips for building confidence and humility. His other bestselling book is Leaders Open Doors: A Radically Simple Leadership Approach to Lift People, Profits, and Performance. His clients include NASA, Saks Fifth Avenue, UBS Bank, Walsh Construction, Lenovo, Hugo Boss, Children’s Miracle Network, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. More at and

Podcast Highlights

  • Who is Bill Treasurer?

Bill grew up in the suburbs of New York and they tend to have a particular swagger due to trying to people trying to make their way in city that is crowded with other people trying to do the same. Bill found springboard diving as an avenue to compete in and started winning championships, ultimately getting to the point where he was having scholarships offered to him. The trouble was, Bill was afraid of heights and wasn’t experienced with any high dives, which were a requirement to get those scholarships. Lucky for Bill, he had a coach that wouldn’t let him quit.

Bill’s coach put him into gradually increasing situations of fear, raising the board higher and higher, eventually getting him to the point where he was able to do dives in excess of 100 feet.

Human beings don’t grow in a zone of comfort, we grow, progress, and evolve in a zone of discomfort. If you walk through the fear instead of running away from it, there are rewards on the other side.

Bill basically didn’t enjoy the idea that his own fear was the only thing in his way and holding him back from having a life experience that very few would ever get.

  • High Diving Into Business

When Bill was the captain of his high diving team he had no idea who he was as a leader so he modeled the leader he knew best, his father. This didn’t turn out well. He started to read books on leadership and ended up working with companies that worked specifically with leaders. Eventually, after accumulating a lot of experience, Bill wanted to take his own big leap and start his own courage building consultancy.

You have to know what your values are in order to be congruent with them. For Bill, that meant creativity and independence, which is why working at someone else’s business wasn’t the best fit for him. It eventually became a soul question, he realized that if he didn’t make the leap he would be suppressing his soul forever. He wasn’t prepared to live a life of dangerous safety.

“Most men live lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” -Henry David Thorough

What will you regret the least? Will you regret taking the chance and failing? Or not taking the chance at all?

  • Why Courage?

Bill wanted to have a risk leadership company, but the term risk didn’t really resonate well with executives that Bill wanted to work with. Bill worked with Mark Levy on the brand and he pointed out that the core concept was really courage so that’s what he should focus on. Once Bill realized that, it all came together.

  • Courage Goes To Work

You have to do something to make the courage happen, and it usually involved discomfort. Courage is not something you are, you have to go out and get it which is how courage goes to work.

Courage has a relationship with fear, if you’re not afraid you’re not applying your courage. Courage is not fearless, it’s acting despite the fear. For entrepreneurs, failure has a way shaping us. If you’re not failing, you’re never really extending yourself or growing. Innovation and experimentation happens when you are able to fail forward.

If you’re on the cusp of taking a big risk, you need more than a pro and con list. If you can answer in the affirmative for the five P’s, you are much more likely to succeed. Do you have passion for the thing? Is it connected to some principles you hold dear or that are important to you? Is it connected to your purpose in life? Is it your own perogative or is something forcing your hand? The final P is profit, what will your potential reward be? Run it through the five P’s and you will increase your odds of success and also being happy with the result afterwards.

  • How do you measure courage?

Courage has three different buckets that can be measured. The first one is Try Courage, your ability to try something you’ve never done before. Try Courage is the courage of action and facing the unknown. The second is Trust Courage, the ability to be vulnerable. It’s trusting others to get things done and yourself to see things through. The third is Tell Courage, the ability to express your own beliefs knowing that they will be open to scrutiny.

Reference: Courage Goes to Work: How to Build Backbones, Boost Performance, and Get Results, Bill Treasurer

  • Bill’s Takeaway

First answer the holy “what do you want?” Many people don’t know, and it’s not up to others to tell you. Then think about where you may be playing it too safe, that may be where you need to take your next risk. Once you’ve identified where you want to go, you can start taking taking the little leaps that will get you to the giant leap. You don’t have to take the giant leap all at once.


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