Image by Lothar Dieterich from Pixabay
When I used to daydream about having my own business, I always focused on the moment when I'd take the big leap of leaving a job working for someone else to be fully self-employed. That glamorous moment was the one glorious moment of bravery in my mind.
When I moved beyond daydreaming into actually working toward the goal, I discovered something very different. Bravery wasn't just about that one glamorous moment; I needed more bravery than I'd ever imagined all along the way.
It took bravery each and every time I put myself out there with a new product, a new offering, a new blog post, a new sale—each of which might be accepted or rejected or ignored completely.
It took bravery to learn and use new skills—not just in my craft itself, but also in technology, running a booth at craft shows, shipping, accounting and taxes, marketing, and the many other things necessary to run a business.
It took bravery to deal with customers. It took bravery to say no to requests I couldn't fulfill. It took bravery to say yes to requests that would stretch me in new ways.
It took bravery to prioritize my little business over all of the other things that I could have done instead, and saying no to most social events and engagements in order to focus.
Those are all small, mostly invisible things that nevertheless require bravery on a daily basis.
Yes, the "big leap" of leaving a job took bravery too, but it actually wasn't as big a deal as I'd always imagined it to be because it was simply a natural, logical next step on the journey by the time I got there. It was all those little steps of bravery along the way that made it possible.
In the process of learning this about starting and running a business, I've come to realize that it's true about life as well.
We tend to focus on the big, glamorous moments of life as the moments of bravery—and they may well be—but bravery is something we need every step along the way as well.
I found that the more I used (and acknowledged myself for using) my bravery in those smaller, invisible moments, the easier it became to use it in the bigger ones.
What does bravery look like in your life right now?
When we're in pain and struggling, bravery might be just making it out of bed in the morning. (If so, honor that!)
Sometimes bravery might be asking for help. Other times, bravery might be handling something on our own.
Bravery might be going to work each day at a job that takes a toll on us (emotionally, mentally, or physically) in order to best support our family or ourselves. Other times, bravery might be leaving that job to find something that fits us better.
Bravery might be spending time with our family at the holidays when relationships are strained or difficult. Other times, bravery might be choosing to miss the family gathering when it's more than we can bear.
Bravery might look like taking a risk to do something new, put yourself out there, or risk failing at something that matters. Other times, bravery might look like practicing patience when you choose to take more time to practice and develop your skills before you put them on display.
Bravery might look like taking the risk to share more of yourself with those around you to let yourself be seen. Other times, bravery might look like learning to say less so that you can listen better to others who need to be heard.
Bravery might look like choosing to cut back and spend less on the holidays (or any other time) to better honor your budget. Other times, bravery might look like learning to stretch and be more generous with your resources when you have extra to give.
Bravery might look like pushing yourself a little bit harder to do more, or it might look like easing off a little bit to let yourself balance work and rest in a healthier way.
Bravery might be reaching out to new people or groups to expand your circle, or it might look like saying no to social offers to focus your time on other things that matter more right now.
Bravery might be sticking up for yourself, or it might be choosing to return unkind behavior with kindness or compassion because you know their unkindness came out of their own pain.
Bravery looks different for each one of us and may even look different for us at different points in our lives or in different situations, but it's so often in the small, mostly invisible moments that it matters most.
Those small moments of bravery are the building blocks of growing into the people we want to become. They are in every step we make toward healing and every movement toward wholeness and growth.
It's easy to sit back and daydream about those glamorous moments of great bravery when we'll suddenly morph into the person we want to be, but it doesn't work that way.
Learning to recognize and honor those little acts of bravery each and every day is what makes it possible to take the big leap when it comes because by then it won't be a big leap at all for the person we've grown into.
Fear tells us that we run the risk of falling and breaking into pieces if we stretch or grow or do something new. And it's true, we might.
Practicing bravery helps us learn that brokenness is never the end of the story. We might fail at whatever risk we attempt, but we also know (from practice) that when we put the broken pieces back together, we can heal with kintsugi gold in the cracks that gets us closer to where we want to be.
What acts of bravery are you taking in your life today? Call them out for what they are and acknowledge yourself for the bravery you are showing.
Where would you benefit from showing a little more bravery? What small actions might bravery help you take to move closer to where you want to be?
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