When you hear the word brave what do you think it is?
Almost two weeks ago we were in the urgent care, yet again, getting tested for COVID. My oldest was up first and didn’t like the process and fought it, saying he was scared but then we talked through courage and he let the nurse swab his nose. My youngest, on the other hand, sat up straight and didn’t flinch. Two totally different responses to the same exact test.
“Mom, I was super brave, wasn’t I?!” My youngest exclaimed as we walked through the front door. My oldest almost immediately slumped onto the couch, clearly disappointed. “I wasn’t brave at all.”
So often we get discouraged at our life just like my oldest got discouraged about getting his nose swabbed. We end our days feeling like we gave way to fear, stuck, overwhelmed, lacking passion, and boldness in our lives. The defeat builds onto the defeat and the next thing you know you are just going through the motions of life. Unfulfilled, passionless, and discouraged.
I’ve been in your shoes friend, more times than I’d like to admit. I remember feeling utterly defeated, knowing I needed to make some serious changes in order to get unstuck. But I was so overwhelmed. I heard a still, small whisper saying, Just Be Brave Nicole, don’t give up.
That began my journey of digging into what it meant to be brave and it wasn’t what I was expecting.
I was hoping and even thinking, that once I decided to be brave I would wake up the next day and have this lion-like courage and just like that feel unstuck, in control, and even, fulfilled.
What I didn’t realize was that no matter how much I told myself to be brave, I was still scared. Fear paralyzed me. I knew I had change to make, but what were those changes supposed to be, what did I want out of life, what did it mean to actually live and live a brave life?
Did I want to continue to just chase this dream of being brave or did I want to go out there and live it?
At the end of my life, I want to be able to answer these three questions; Did I live brave? Did I live bold? Did I live wild?
BRAVE. Did I live with a spirit of courage or a spirit of fear?
The first thing I had to do was make a mindset shift. I call it the mindset of courage. Courage Isn’t just something we wake up with one day, it’s a mindset we choose to have, a mindset we develop and strengthen. We are going to be afraid, fear is a part of this life. Brave isn’t an absence of fear, but a mindset of courage. Courage says, “I see you fear, but I am choosing to take action anyways!”
BOLD. Did I stand up for truth and love without bounds?
Next, I had to take inventory of my life. What was my truth? Where was I, what was I getting stuck on, who was I? Self-awareness is a powerful tool. We don’t like to dig deep into our own hearts and souls because we can be our own harshest critic. But truth is, in order to know our truth, we need to own the rough reality of our lives as well as own our strengths. We will never know this without digging into and defining truest selves.
WILD. Was I deliberate in my mindsets, habits, and actions, making sure they aligned with my innermost values and truth?
Then came the action part. Full of fear, with a new sense of where I was at, I knew I needed to come up with a plan. I had a slight idea of where I wanted to go, so I started creating habits and mindsets around this plan. I also had to give myself the room and the grace for this plan to change and grow with me. which wasn’t always easy at times. Surrounding yourself with people who will make you better and encourage you in truth and love is absolutely necessary through this process, but especially this part.
A major factor that is so very important when pursuing a brave life and stepping into a life well lived is self-compassion. I don’t know about you, but I can give other people grace so easily. I can see their challenges (most of the time) and it’s my pleasure to offer them compassion and grace. But when it comes to myself – it’s a completely different story. (insert face-palm here). Give yourself grace through this journey. Don’t try to white-knuckle your way through. Healing and alignment take time.
Brave is not a destination, it’s a journey.
It’s a hard journey, you have to give up the comfort of the hamster wheel, you have to give up your excuses, and sometimes even the idea of what you thought your life would look like. But friend, as a girl who once prided herself on checking all the right boxes, the Brave Life is so much more fulfilling. At the end of each day, I felt like I lived and lived well. I am connected with myself, aligned – mind, body, and soul. Best of all, I know that I am leaving a lasting legacy in my children’s lives and an impact on those around me.
Remember that story from the beginning. The two little boys, one who felt super brave and the other who felt defeated? We all learned a lesson in self-compassion that day, that brave looks different to each one of us. Just because one handles a similar situation differently than another doesn’t make that one any less brave, it only means that he listened to his gut and knew where his boundaries were. And although he was scared, he put on a mindset of courage and took action. That my friend is being brave. Alignment – mind, body, soul.