Return On Courage: A Game Plan for Fighting Fear

Case in point: J&J was partly inspired into existence by this book's creation

Ryan Berman is onstage during San Diego’s Interactive Day.

Ryan Berman believes courage is “regret insurance.” He strives to live by the motto: “Don’t just look at the world differently. Do the world differently.”

He’s written a book that ambitiously aims to operationalize…courage. Full disclosure: I edited the first draft of Return On Courage. Fuller disclosure: The experience of helping Berman crystalize his philosophy is a large part of what led me to launch

Courage is a competitive advantage, says Berman, who has created a model to train individuals, teams or companies to shed fear and take thoughtful, calculated risks.

That model can be boiled down to a five-step process called PRICE, an acronym that entails: Prioritizing through values; Rallying believers; Identifying fears; Committing to a purpose; and Executing your action.

Berman began his professional career on Madison Avenue. He left New York City and co-founded i.d.e.a., a San Diego-based creative agency. From both coasts, he’s worked with brands that include Caesars Entertainment, Hilton, Major League Baseball, Puma and Bumble Bee Tuna.

When he left i.d.e.a., Berman founded Sock Problems, an apparel company that makes socks with designs that illustrate the “socking” of problems (racism, prostate cancer, etc.). A percentage of all sales go to charitable organizations working to sock that problem. The company is in conjunction with a Courageous consultancy, which also offers a Courage Bootcamp. 

On the eve of the book’s launch, I caught up with Berman to revisit his inspiring recipe for fomenting courage:

The author and his hot-off-the-press book.

J&J: Why write this book?

Ryan Berman: It started as me working on a project to position my creative agency as a Courage Brand. Then I started learning about courage from the leaders of Amazon, Apple, Google and so many companies. And this process gave me the courage to find myself, move on and create a new company. I had to live the premise.

J&J: Who is this book for?

RB: It’s for anybody looking to make a difference or a change—in a company or in their life. It’s written as a business book, but it’s a playbook for anyone looking to make a courageous change.

J&J: What’s the biggest takeaway for readers?

RB: The book outlines the actual process for creating courage and making a change. It’s for people who need the “how.”

J&J: Are there examples in the hospitality/tourism industry of brands that are courageous?

RB: I’d point to Airbnb. Look at the success of that idea. The tourism industry can’t say they didn’t see it coming, but many people just didn’t take it seriously. I’ll say this: Fear and courage are brethren. One comes with the other, and the Airbnb concept came with shares of both.

J&J: When you were working on this book with me as your editor, did you have an idea you’d inspire me to take your advice to heart and start up a travel website?

RB: (Laughs) That’s great. At the time, I was working on embracing my own reality and looking at my own fears in my journey. It makes me happy to hear that this process was a bit of a catapult for you.    

(Return on Courage launches on January 15, and is available for pre-order on Amazon. Kindle and audio-book versions are forthcoming.)  J&J