In the past years, I have been told several times that I was brave: brave enough to leave my country to live abroad, alone with my 2 kids; brave because I didn’t cry when it was announced that my position was made redundant; brave to set up and register my limited company…
Then I started to think what it means to be brave. I think that being brave is moving out of our comfort zone to discover new opportunities. It is not easy and there are risks associated with it. But it is also risky to live our lives in the comfort zone: it is called “routine” and risks are few excitements, no progress in career, not really being who we would like to be. Leaving our comfort zone is sometimes impossible… or it looks like it is. This is where it requires demystifying some beliefs about ourselves and about others.
Stop labelling yourself and others
Labelling yourself or others as “being like this” (e.g. I am shy, I am not good enough, I am not brave enough, she is badly behaved) only puts barriers on your pathway. By putting your thoughts into the context, you can reframe it to how it occurred to you at the time, which does not mean anything about you as a whole person. Who hasn’t been shy in some circumstances or even badly behaved? That does not mean that this is how you are but if you keep facing life with that in mind then this is how it will occur to you.
Be committed to do, don’t be attached to the result
Being brave also means that there may be some unknown parameters affecting your path going where you want to be. Do you think I knew everything about my new country? No! But I was committed to live there and to live well. So I faced the challenges, one after the other. I was committed to have a house not ‘the house’, committed to find a good school for my children but not necessarily the best one. Being committed puts you in action mode. Do not be attached to the result or you will be disappointed because you cannot control all parameters. For instance, be committed to develop a new friendship, don’t be attached to be friend with this person; be committed to suggest a new technology but don’t be attached to whether the management will buy your idea. People have many reasons for not buying our ideas and we cannot know the reasons unless we take the time to go into their world and they are ready to share it.
Do not make you wrong for not succeeding now
When we are committed to do what seems important to us, it has a positive effect on ourselves boosting our self-confidence and opening up new possibilities. Other people will think about it even if they said “No” now. A “No” is only a “No” because the circumstances are not ideal and it does not tell anything about us. It is important not to amalgamate and confuse a “No” to what we suggested or requested with who we are. Do not make a “No” tell anything about you.
It’s been three years now since we, my kids and I, relocated to our new country. It was exciting and exhausting the first year, more settled the second year enjoying our life, and challenging the third year with the redundancy plus we moved house. But for three years we have had numerous opportunities to attend events we would never have attended, we have met wonderful people and we got to know ourselves better, our self-confidence increased. The overall result is that we are deeply happy for being here and enjoying all what the country offers. Being brave is rewarding.
So how brave are you to recruit the person who looks great but doesn’t have all the required qualifications? How brave are you to change that relationship that is ok but not great? How brave are you to share your opinions and ideas with your colleagues, manager and partners? How brave are you to live your life to the full extent?
I would love to read your stories and what you gained by being brave. Please share them in the comments.
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