BECOMING BRAVE –
3 PRACTICAL WAYS YOU CAN START TODAY
WE ARE TIRED OF DOING HARD THINGS.
Over the time I have spent with people during the grueling last two years, one thing has become clear. We are tired of doing hard things.
Maybe 3-5 years ago, maybe you felt happy, globally prosperous, free to travel, and generally well. One or two of your friends might have been suffering at any given time, and you kept an eye on them and gave them extra support.
In that state of mind, and with the luxury of general peace, it is easy to rise, strive, seek, and to hold the perspective that hard things are hard, but they can be overcome.
Over the course of a long pandemic and the time that has passed since you may have fallen out of the constant fight-or-flight and into a state of sheer exhaustion. The empathy and compassion you once saw in your workplaces may have been replaced with a more raw and exacting razor’s edge as businesses try to figure out how to deal with resignations and king-sized changes in their industries.
In short, you are not alone.
We are tired of doing hard things.
Bravery is one of those things we need access to, but it is one of those concepts that can feel to wide and vast during times like this.
Sometimes we have to start with small and simple steps.
Here are three easy things you can do to become brave today:
1. Recognize Your Individual Sovereignty
As we grow up, we operate under the values systems of our parents, then replace that with the values of our friends. Frequently, we reference the values of the culture or country we live in and the groups we identify with, including the place we work in and the people we work with. We may strive to “merge” with the values systems in the collective for comfort, and the perception of safety. However, in doing so we often lose sight of our individual behavioral styles, our boundaries, and our personal needs. And if our individual sovereignty isn’t aligned with the groups we are operating in, we feel out of sync, out of alignment, disconnected, and we may even operate in “cognitive dissonance”, or denial of who we are and what we need in order to suit the needs of others. When asked, most people, even very self-aware people, cannot tell you off the top of their heads what their core values are.
By recognizing who you are at your core and acknowledging both the shadow and light elements of your personality, identifying your intentions and your vision for the future, you take back ownership of the road you are naturally meant to be on. From this perspective, you can either choose to change your mindset toward the systems in the collective which don’t align with you and see it all as an opportunity to learn, or you can choose to change the situation you are in – job, partnership, friends, groups, etc.
Task for today – Take 15 minutes to really think about who you are, what you are about, and how often your needs are met. What is the outcome of this “mini-audit”?
Meditation for today: I bravely choose myself.
2. Operate from Clarity
When we are operating within the comfort zone of a system, we are often guided (or inclined) not to “rock the boat”, to create harmony, and to find innovative ways to let the ruling perspective reign.
It might even be tempting to mentally neutralize stress and headache we are going through because it might sometimes feel like something we have responsibility for, or it might feel like too much to deal with. Particularly when there are interpersonal issues or one-on-one conflict, it is easy to feel as if you must take middle ground to “settle” something, but the middle ground may create more ambiguity.
Clear is kind, it is whole, it has a start and a stop and a rationale. Ambiguity typically hurts, isolates, and creates room for all sorts of stories which lead to dangerous conversations and dead ends.
Task for today: Think about your last confrontation or conflict. Were you 100% clear with the other person, as well as being curious and compassionate about their experience and perspective?
Meditation for today: I bravely operate from clarity.
3. Prioritize Integrity
The idea of holding integrity might seem like common sense, but in an overly transparent and overly globalized world, it may feel that the flywheel of “integrity” doesn’t have a common set of standards like it once did.
Integrity is the quality of being honest and holding morally upright principles in place. Integrity may mean going against a standard order of things in a group to maintain a principle that is important to you. Integrity may mean creating standards for a group that needs or being the one person who holds curiosity and generosity about the perspectives of others while taking responsibility for our actions, good and bad. Integrity is often correlated with the concept of courageous authenticity: owning your part of a conflict while also addressing the role another person plays in the conflict.
Task for today: When was the last time you met with a line of moral ambiguity? Can you think of daily situations which may task or challenge your sense of integrity? How can you address these differently?
Meditation for today: I bravely prioritize clarity.
A large part of being brave is practicing bravery, and the confidence which builds within you when you do.