“Fear is at the root of so many of the barriers that women face. Fear of not being liked. Fear of making the wrong choice. Fear of drawing negative attention. Fear of overreaching. Fear of being judged. Fear of failure. and the holy trinity of fear: the fear of being a bad mother/wife/daughter.”
-Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In
It is so hard to be brave sometimes.
It is so hard to be brave most times and that is why we choose to remain in our comfortable spaces. We find our successful spot with our friends, in our family, our work and stay there trying to avoid as many bumps as possible.
The first problem with the comfortable spaces is there is very little room to grow, to explore, to expand.
The second problem is that no matter how comfortable you make your space, life happens. And bumps become larger hills that become scary mountains that require a lot of courage to summit. And also bumps become holes that become canyons that require a lot of courage to climb out of. But we do. We summit and we climb out, because we are brave when we have to be.
Women are fiercely courageous. We are brave for our friends; we fight for our family, and would battle an army for our children, but what about ourselves.
When it comes to personal courage we falter. We are so bold for others that we cannot allow ourselves to become vulnerable for fear it will diminish our abilities to be courageous for everyone else. But, in reality the exact opposite is true
In order to be better for our families, our children, our communities we must first be brave for ourselves. We must make the choices we are secretly afraid to make, we must open ourselves to judgment and criticism and disdain. We must follow the dreams we are afraid to speak. Because with every failure we find success in our courage. With every stumble we get steadier. With every risk we get stronger.
You are brave for everyone else, now it is time to be brave for yourself.
Tell yourself and picture it. Affirmations work. If you tell yourself you are [fill in the blank], you will think just a bit differently. If you then picture your actions and the positive results that will come from them it will increase your ability to act. Uncertainty is paralyzing. Envision what you will do and the outcome in order to move forward.
Understand the why. Simon Sinek has a great book called Start With Why. It is about leaders motivating their team by having them understand why something is being done. You must understand not just what you want to do, but why you are doing it?
Understand failure is inevitable. You will fail. Every successful person fails. Wouldn’t you rather fail on your terms. Wouldn’t you rather fail during the act of bravery than fail when you are safely encased in your comfortable space. Also understand that failure is really just a lesson in learning.
Remember Your Brave. You have been brave many times in your life. Remember those times, even if they were for someone else. You have the courage in you any time you want it. Tap into it. Use it often. Be brave daily in big ways and small ways. Make intentional courageous choices and soon nothing will stand in your way.
This is not practice, you don’t get another chance at this life thing we are all doing. When you are gone and your children talk about you to their children wouldn’t it be great if they described you as “the bravest person they knew!”