Every article, book or conference I attend these days is about the same messages. Be brave! Take risks! Go for it! What does this mean?
It means that so many people have the same message.
The path and story is unique to each of us. Some of us have a tolerance for more than others. Like muscles in our body, though, bravery has to be developed, redeveloped, toned, or even enhanced.
For me there’s bravery and then there’s just becoming fearless. You can’t get to brave without serious ongoing introspective and focus on toning and honing these muscles.
Ok…Here’s the big secret.
We need to stop talking about being brave and start tapping into what we already have. We were born unbiased, naked and for most of us, swaddled in a plain white sheet. The struggle with this simple statement is somewhere along the way our experiences (good, bad and ugly) shape our bravery muscle. They either build it or cause it to lose its beautiful shape. Good ole life happens and we find ourselves scrambling to make sense or meaning.
To build bravery, we must know, own, and grow. To extend bravery to fearlessness….we need to share and act. So, let’s break it down.
- Knowing – Know thyself (really well). Before you can get anywhere in work or life, you must feast at the banquet of knowing who you are and who you aren’t. I know this sounds SO simple Self-awareness is a key social and emotional intelligence skill that we must master. It goes beyond knowing yourself but being able to define what you value and what’s a priority. It’s what keeps us relevant, on our toes and developing these muscles. And knowing yourself is something that takes time. Knowing yourself allows you the space to explore and define who you are and where you want to go. But knowing IS NOT just the awareness piece. The hard part of knowing is being able to separate what you control and what matters. It’s that space in between and being able to stay consistently focused on that.
- Owning – So once you get to know yourself, it’s time to own it. This is where we get to take what matters most and what we control (the space in between) and own all of it, proudly. It means owning the great, the good and the awful. When we own it, it means we’ve accepted it’s WHO we are and WHO we’ve become. This is a hard space, friends. We live in a crappy world where toxic people who need to focus on their journey, try to inject themselves in ours or put their problems on us. Or, sometimes we fail to focus on what matters most (our journey) and begin to look at others to see what they are doing. I call this rubbernecking. Stop that! Watching what others do robs you of precious introspection you can use to make yourself better. Don’t be distracted. Own you. It’s all you control so focus on it and nothing else.
- Growing – So once you know who you are and own it, you have to grow it. Growth is about who’s there with you and what you do with the feedback you’ve got to excel to the next level. Most people who get to know (and own) struggle with growth. If they’ve made the commitment to grow, they have to be sure they have the right people and tools to bring with them. And growth is where people lose a ton of toxic weight: the weight they put on themselves and the weight they’ve allowed others to put on them. If you’ve got good peeps and a willingness to change and respond to feedback, you’re on your way!
- Sharing – You have to share it. Sharing fearlessness is about humility, the ability to laugh at yourself, love yourself, and show others how loving life and who they are is more important than trying to be brave. They already have what they need and just need to tap it.
In this world we need to be brave. But being brave to me is about being yourself. It’s a recognition that we are all on a journey to figuring out who we are and what gifts we bring, owning those and being okay with putting them out there.
Know. Own. Grow. Share.
You don’t need bravery.
Be yourself and live fearless.