I consider myself to be pretty well-versed at living bravely; I've made several big lifestyle and work changes in recent years based on instinct and calling, I adventure regularly when I can giving most of my spare time to the mountains, and I live by my own measures of success in ways that others might or have raised an eyebrow at. Nevertheless, there's always scope for growth, and this week has been a new and welcome lesson for me in the specifics of working bravely.
Faced with a decision that I had only a split second to make, I went with intuition and decided to face the consequences afterwards, as and when they arose. I agonised over it at first. I whined to myself. I felt the palpitations come and go. I ate the food that comforted me. But as the week wears on, I feel curiously convicted of my position, the anxiety has passed, and I feel emboldened to trust my own voice again next time it matters the most; when I'm on my own and only I can provide. If it goes wrong then I will say confidently 'I Had My Reasons; here they are...' At the root of this change, was the fact that I fundamentally trust myself and my judgements.
This experience, combined with the fact I have just finished Brene Browns Braving the Wilderness (which invites the reader to brave their inner and outer wildernesses in order to discover true belonging), set me on a train of thought about what working bravely really means. Whilst examples of what it means to work bravely are infinite, and will be different for everyone depending on their starting benchmark of comfort, I identified the following factors which made sense to me:
- Crossing borders and not being afraid to walk on for the extra mile in service of what is calling you to act.
- Holding firm to your values as you would your favourite bag as you make your journey.
- Taking intuitive risks without yet knowing what the path and 'pay off' will be.
These might sound obscure or even 'nothingy' at first glance, but within them is, I think, the essence of something universal and a bit radical in the face of 'the way things are done round here' narrative. Working bravely isn't one choice you make at the point of a career change, or one decision you make every blue moon; working bravely is about making courageous decisions every day. Every day, keeping an attitude of openness to your work that allows for tenacity, fearlessness and vitality. Working bravely, necessarily invites mystery, requires independence and brings authenticity. Afterall, you can't work bravely, without standing inside your whole-self to back you up.
I'd love to hear your tales of working bravely, either here or on Instagram - do you cross borders for yourself or others? Do you want to but struggle to trust yourself? Are you unsure of what your guiding values are?