15 Things Every Successful & Courageous Keynote Speaker Has In Common

I’m regularly speaking and working with successful Keynote speaker across the globe especially about courage and leadership. Since 2007, I’ve spoken to over a 1,000 CEOs, executives, authors, politicians and even neuroscientists .When speaking to these individuals, I always notice common traits that they all have, which lend to their success. I’ve boiled all of these into the top 15 things that all of them have in common. If you can think of any additional ones, leave them in the comments.

1. They courageously know when to stay, step up, start up and when to leave. Successful and courageous people know exactly when they should change organisations, start a company or step into a role which will challenge them. They have good intuition and aren’t afraid to make hard choices, despite opposing forces.

2. They go above and beyond even if it takes courage. They view their roles and job description as just the beginning of what they can do with their job. They will always ask to take on more projects that challenge them. They are even willing to take on the that boring work too that no one else wants to do in order to be a team player.

3. They are willing to courageous fail so they can eventually succeed. All successful and courageous people know that it doesn’t come easy and they are bound to fail more than they will succeed at anything. They are willing to learn from each failure, as it will help them make better decisions that lead to success later. While many people give up after failing at something, a successful person will persevere.

4. They have an action bias. There are a lot of leaders today who are hesitant to act. It might be fear of repercussions, fear of being wrong, fear of making the wrong decision, or fear of making mistakes. But these are not courageous leaders. Courageous leaders have an action bias. Using a clear mind, delivered through the mastery of fear, they formulate a plan that will work and deliver it. In times of adversity, they are out there, leading from the front. Delivering positive change. Inspiring their teams to follow them.

5. They set real and courageous goals that they can accomplish. Courageous people wake up and they’ve already planned their day. Their goals are very focused, big yet obtainable and are aligned to their strengths. They know what they are capable of and will invest all of their efforts in it. They are also not afraid to have someone help them achieve their goals. What are your goals for 2021 – and can we help?

6. They truly take accountability for themselves and their actions. They don’t rely on other people to get the job done or if they do, they take accountability for the outcomes. Courageous people are self-aware and are trying to find the solutions, while leveraging their current assets. If they make a mistake, they own up to it and immediately think of ways that they can do better next time.

7. They lead change instead of being affected by it. Courageous people aren’t waiting around to be affected by economic trends or give up when things don’t go to plan. They are the ones who are creating the trends, thinking of ways to lead change, reinvent themselves and making things happen. This year we decided to reinvent McDonald Inc. and we haven’t looked back.

8. They can communicate their story and what they stand for. If you walk up to a successful person and ask them what they do, they will be able to tell you everything in a concise manner. They know who they are, what they do, what they stand for and can make you believe in them. They have the courage to own their story as they know if makes them who they are.


9. They ask the right questions to the people who can deliver the right answers. Successful people know they need to solve problems by tapping their networks and connections. They don’t fear emailing or calling the best person who can answer their questions. They are always prepared with the right questions and are always willing to help the other person out in return.

10. They are life-long learners who push themselves out of their comfort zones. While most people think that when they graduate university or school, they are finished being a student, successful and courageous people remain life-long students. They are constantly learning new things and have new experiences. They aren’t afraid to try new things and to fail at them.

11. They know who they are and their place in the world. Successful people are confident and can lead themselves, as well as others. They have their own vision and mission and seek to bring it to life on a daily basis. They also know who they aren’t and don’t waste time on things that they aren’t good at or they aren’t satisfied with.

12. Using setbacks as steppingstones: Many times, leaders get discouraged by setbacks. I’ve felt it myself. I’ve poured my heart and soul into something and it hasn’t eventuated. But courageous leaders use these setbacks as learning opportunities. This is a growth mindset. Think about the magical WD-40 spray that is so popular for preventing rust and freeing up metal locks, hinges, etc. It’s called WD40, because it was the 40th formula that the makers tried. The 40th one finally worked. The other 39 could have been seen as setbacks and failures, but the team used them as steppingstones and learning opportunities to get to the final product.

13. They are more driven about the journey than the outcomes. Successful people ignore any monetary rewards. They are more dedicated on building sustainable and great careers and leadership through hard work, risk taking, courage and creativity. They enjoy the journey, despite the obstacles, because they are doing something that has meaning in their lives.

14. They create instead of just consume. While most people are busy reading emails, watching TV or browsing social media, successful and courageous people are creating new tools, presentations and coming up with ideas. They are the ones who are making things that other people need instead of being on the other end of the spectrum, consuming them.

15. They don’t shy away from tough conversations: Courageous leadership is about being uncomfortable. It’s about being honest. Successful people have those tough conversations and they don’t put them off. A lot of times situations only gets worse with time. They have the conversations early and have them with purpose and kindness.


Sonia will give a new level of Leadership inspiration and motivation when booking a Leading Keynote Speaker or Facilitator for your next event, workshop or conference.

As a proven world-class professional speaker and facilitator she has the skills, drive and tools to inspire courageous action and great leadership.

Her energy, empathy, kindness and humour will have your audience and leaders asking for more.

Courageous Leadership inspires courageous actions.

When Sonia partners with, advises and inspires others for greatness and courage; transformation, empowerment and success happens.

  • Author of Three Leadership Book – Leadership Attitude, Just Rock It! and now First Comes Courage
  • 1000’s of leaders inspired, empowered and succeeded.
  • Featured across The Australian, Smart Company and Business New Media.
  • One of Australia’s Leading Advisors, Facilitators and Keynote Speaker.
  • Named in the Top 100 Entrepreneurs in Australia and Top 250 Influential Women across the Globe by Richtopia
  • CEO & founder of LeadershipHQ, McDonald Inc. and the Outstanding Leadership Awards