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Finding Your Brave

"I remember the visceral pain of auditioning: feeling small and alone as I stood on the empty stage waiting to be judged, like livestock at an auction."~Kimberly Davis

We’ve all been there, at some point in our lifetime. Swirling waters and tumbling waves—this is how turbulent and tempestuous the condition of our mind becomes when we’re sacred, and worse yet, it’s the shaky and numb feeling that we experience physically, as if it were a life and death moment for us.

When I first read Brave Leadership: Unleash Your Most Confident, Powerful, and Authentic Self to Get the Results You Need by Kimberly Davis, I was totally stirred. I never knew I wasn’t alone in having felt this feeling. Luckily, Jeff Haden featured an article around this wonderful book yesterday, and I just didn’t miss this chance to ask about it from my friends about how they viewed their brave, and what it meant to be for them. The answers have amazed me, and I would love to share them with all of you:

(1) Starting Small

Subi Nanthivarman believes in taking small steps towards the big goal in order to reduce the fear factor. Here’s what she says about how she finds her brave:

Going into unknown territory. Understanding others perspectives. Being open minded. These are the phrases that come to mind when I read this line. Not everyone can be like Christopher Columbus. But we can take baby steps to make this a reality.

(2) Facing It

Mirella Scalise believes in facing fear, than running away from it. Here’s what being brave means to her:

Dealing with things we don’t always want to because they’re just plain difficult to deal with. Bravery is strength and empowerment.

(3) Believing in Divinity

Tsuwa Thompson strongly believes in the power of divinity. He deeply contemplates, and here’s where he derives his ultimate brave from:

As me I dare not take another step but I see so many footprints behind me and wonder how.

(4) Playing Safe

Leah Kopel believes in avoiding panic, and playing it safe. Her brave comes from taking calculated risks, and here’s how she explains it:

I think I tend to go into denial and watch myself from a far and talk to myself. Sometimes I say to myself, if I fail, what’s the worse that can happen, I am not working in an emergency room even though sometimes people seem to act as if it is..

(5) Using Logical Reasoning

Susan Case believes in dealing with fear with logic. She thinks that fear and bravery are something we need to explain to our kids, so that they know how to differentiate between real bravery or lack thereof. Here’s what her beliefs about bravery are:

Parents both protect kids from harm/danger & encourage them to try the unknown before kids able to weigh pros/cons.It’s important we learn & teach what fear is & isn’t.

We often use “fear” to label phobias, anxiety or organic physical responses arising from past influences/experiences with perceived negative outcomes. This keeps us from reassessing current danger or believing we aren’t brave. Jitters, anticipation/excitement, adrenaline rushes, “phobias” don’t function to keep us safe in a new event. When viewed as fear, this implies bravery is only solution-in fact, bravery is useless unless it applied to current circumstance. Rising above fear (bravery) is possible when the fear signal results in not blindly discarding its purpose but also when we understand fear isn’t that baggage u carry w you year after year & justify allowing it to hold back your progress blindly assuming it’s a current warning.

If bravery is overcoming fear, it only applies to actual fear of current situation.Seeing yourself as not brave on an ongoing basis is indicator you’re not clear what fear is or isn’t.

(6) Using Fear as Fuel

Jessica M. Corvo uses fear as a catalyst for bravery. She strongly believes in taking action, and here’s how she defines her brave:

For me, In the beginning, I found my brave by thinking about the alternative: stuckness. If I was in the middle of a scary situation, lack of movement kept me in that situation, confrontation could cause me harm and pulling myself out would more or less guarantee success (or at least no more stuckness)(referencing Flight, Fight, Freeze). Over the years, I learned how to use Fear as Fuel.

(7) Freezing to Unfreeze

Steven Fallz believes in the freezing to unfreeze theory towards being brave. Here’s how he defines it:

Sudden realization of mentally freezing time to enact the necessary action and have a desired outcome. With this frame of mind, consciously unfreezing time to take action as bravery is pushed back stage afterthought and confidence rushes front stage in the actual act.

(8) Pushing Oneself

Douglas Suvalle strongly believes that being brave is all about stepping out of one’s safe zones. Here’s how he defines it:

Brave is the constant push on one’s comfort zone over its boundary to enact a positive outcome otherwise not possible.

(9) Learning Lessons

Dr. Lydia Hughes- Evans believes that being brave is all about learning lessons, in case of a failed attempt. There’s nothing to lose in her philosophy, and here’s how she optimistically defines it:

For me, the definition of brave is: to do it afraid, knowing that the worst possible outcome is simply a lesson learned.

(10) Making Comparisons

Craig Fuchs has a comparative approach towards being brave, and here’s how he defines it:

I think if this is the worst experience I have ever overcome, if it is not then I get through it.

(11) Taking Action

Michael “Fritz” Fritzius has a research-oriented as well as an action-oriented approach towards being brave. It ranges from a continuum of why to try. Here’s how he describes it:

My key to this is understanding when I’m feeling scared, and then drilling down into why I feel that way. It’s usually something that’s been blown way out of proportion, and I’m thinking about some weird edge case that’s unlikely to happen. But I also find that when I’m scared, I’m not moving. Inaction never fixes anything. So I act.

(12) Moving Step by Step

Rita Hart believes in taking a systematic approach towards bravery. Here’s how she defines it:

When I’m scared or feeling low, like just not wanting to go any farther, I know I have to dig a little deeper and find that place of courage to keep putting one foot in front of the other, step by step, knowing that with more time on my side, it will be okay.

(13) Focusing on Goals

Domenico Ranucci believes in focusing on goals, than being scared. This is how he explains it:

I forget the feelings and concentrate on my goals.

Kimberly Davis calls these goals “Super Objectives” in her book. Think of it as the “bow and arrow” approach. Why do we have to feel that the arrows are pointing towards us, while we’re on the forefront? Wouldn’t it be better if we can shift the direction of those arrows from outside-in towards inside-out? In this way, we would be in a much better position to focus on achieving our super objectives, and strive to make a positive impact outside us, than letting the outside forces keep us from being the best that we can be.

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