“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela
At first when I think of someone being brave, I think of heroes. Firefighters who run into a flaming building to save someone inside. Sully Sullenberger landing an airplane on the Hudson River. Teachers who stand up for a vulnerable child. Passersby who help someone in a life-or-death situation. Have you ever noticed that if any of these receive media attention, they deflect and say, “I just did what anyone would do”… and yet we are transfixed because we wonder, “Would I? Or would fear get the best of me?”
Fear and Bravery are like two sides of a coin — in order to be brave, you must have fear and overcome that fear. Without fear, bravery doesn’t exist. Sometimes, our fear is about life and death or security (physical or financial)… but most often, it is our fear of what people might think or our fear of the unknown. Those are the fears that get in the way of our being brave day to day.
When we take daily acts of bravery — of overcoming our fears — we’re focused on growth. What is it that makes you uncomfortable? Instead of avoiding those things, try leaning into those things to build your bravery intentionally. Small acts of bravery will soon grow into greater ones, with relative ease.
This week’s Challenge: This week, I choose to do something because I am afraid, and celebrate my bravery!
Avoiding being Reckless (overuse): If you consider the “heroes” I used as examples above, each one of them did something for a greater purpose — saving lives (either in the literal or figurative sense). Other examples of a greater purpose might be staying true to your values, bringing your creative ideas to the world, building stronger relationships or building something sustainable as your legacy. Jumping into action without a compelling “why” (or with total disregard for risks) isn’t brave — it’s reckless (and maybe even foolish). Before taking a brave action, consider why you are doing it, what impact it will have on others and the context — what is brave in one context might be reckless in another.
“Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.”
- Brene Brown, Rising Strong
Commendable Trait: Brave
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