Are You Brave?

Are you Brave? 

Seriously.  Do you consider yourself a brave person? Or do you, like me,  save that terminology for firefighters and ER doctors? 

Recently, I’ve had several different friends tell me how brave they think I am.  They’ve called me brave for hiking the AT on my own.  For running my own business.  They’ve called me brave for something as simple as wading into a golden-colored, clay-bottomed creek on a hot summer day, unworried about the little fish nibbling at my legs.

I laugh.  

Me, brave?  

No, really, I protest.  

I’m a giant ‘fraidy cat.    There are millions-- billions!- of people so much braver than me.  Brave as defined by media and popular culture. Like soldiers.  Or Caitlyn Jenner.  Or like moms of kids with cancer, spending hundreds of days at St. Jude Hospital.  Or the kids themselves.  Or people who have it hard.  Who work hard.   Who have overcome trauma or genuine struggle.  So many kinds of brave. 

I’m just a regular person.  Doing my thing, in a mostly ease-filled life.  I don’t see myself as brave. 

Maybe you don’t feel very brave either.  Your mind might only be noticing all the things you aren’t doing because you’re scared, ignoring all the brave steps you’re actually taking. 

Truth is, it takes bravery to do so many things in this world.  To try something new.  To take a big or small risk.  As one of my clients recently said, to go ahead and “do it scared.” 

 Here are some ways my clients are being brave right now: 

Having a deeply honest heart to heart talk with their significant other about a topic both have been too frightened to bring up for years. 

Taking concrete steps to create a dream business even though it feels like such a distant possibility, and then feeling the possibility draw closer and closer. 

Making self-care something that actually happens in real life instead of just in their imagination. 

Leading their employees from a newly stable and compassionately focused position. 

Envisioning an ideal future that’s so beautiful, it brings tears to their eyes, then realizing it really isn’t that unreasonable to believe it could happen. 

Setting new and powerful boundaries with family and friends, and being surprised at how quickly those fresh boundaries are respected and even appreciated. 

Realizing that what they wanted when they were 30 is different than what they want now, and that’s ok. 

Discovering that there’s not one “right path” and that the one they choose will be the perfect one for the time. 

Realizing they’re not responsible for their family members’ happiness, and discovering how much this brings new peace and ease to their interactions. 

Deciding to stop watching television news because it’s upsetting and not actually helping anything, and there are other ways to stay “informed.” 

Being willing to tell or hear the truth even when it’s hard. 

Little steps of bravery that bring big rewards. 

Are you brave?  I bet you are.  And even when you feel like you’re doing something relatively easy for you, you’re inspiring someone else who sees you taking action they can’t quite yet manage, or being someone they aspire to be. 

Take a moment to think about this past week or month. Tell me a way you’ve recently been brave.  I would love to hear.  Mine are below. 

And when someone calls you brave, own it.  It’s true.

So my brave stories - Let's see. Well there was a week in early June out on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia with four amazing women- a lot of bravery happened on that trip!  Want to see what it was like in video form?  Click here to check out this sweet video compilation by Shutterbug,  one of the intrepid souls who joined my AT Sojourn - we had such fun and everyone reached at least one new personal best! 

Even braver for me lately is dancing - most recently performing at a fundraiser for hundreds of people with my dance group, Les ReBellles. That's me below, third from the left, in the Can Can portion of the song.  Cllick the picture to watch the video - there are even chairs involved!  The progress I've made dancing and performing this year has been truly life-changing, and the growth I've seen in myself boggles my mind. Not to mention the friendships I"ve formed with my incredible fellow dancers! 

I wish the same exhilaration for you this summer.  Step out and do something brave - something just for you. I can't wait to hear about it!