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Maybe what matters most is being brave

EDITOR’S NOTE: This blog is dedicated to the beautifully brave women in my life who have reminded me recently how awesome it is to both EXPERIENCE and WITNESS courage in action. Whether it’s facing a life-changing medical crisis and remaining strong and brave in the face of uncertainty, like my sister Lisa and my cousin, Donna. Or the beautiful and brave women who leapt despite their fear to put themselves and their health and happiness first as they embark on their own In-the-Equation journeys. To all the beautiful and brave women I know — this one’s for you. #brave #bravegirls #onebravething

lori-bravequote1When I was in the physical part of my personal transformation journey — nearing my weight-loss goal — someone asked me what the tipping point was for me. How did I find success this time when I had tried and failed so many other times?

To be honest, I don’t remember my exact answer. But I remember thinking later that I needed to know the real answer for myself. So I kept asking myself — what WAS different this time? How DID I do it?

A few days later, I noodled on a napkin the words: “Everything changed when I learned I could be brave and afraid at the exact same moment.” I lost 200 lbs and made my health, happiness and life a priority, the day I was brave and afraid at the same time…and acted anyway.

It was both the act of deciding and taking action that was brave. And little did I know at the time, but life with Lori-in-the-equation would require living a brave life — every day.

Too often we let fear stop us. The fear of putting ourselves out there, the fear of what others will think, fear of failure, fear of the unknown, even fear of success, can stop us dead in our tracks. When fear stops us, we play it safe. We retract and don’t go for what we really, really want. Often we stay stuck or living small. We don’t let ourselves truly shine. And for many of us, it means we don’t reach our personal and greatest potential. Can you relate?

There is another way. The brave life.

1053704Fast forward a year or so from the time I noodled on the napkin. That’s when I keepbeingbrave-brenebrowndiscovered the work of amazing author, storyteller and shame researcher, Brene Brown. According to Brown, COURAGE is defined as a willingness to show up and try. To let people know you care about something when you are totally afraid and don’t know the outcome. “The trying is the brave part,” she says. Putting yourself in the arena and daring greatly when you don’t know the outcome.

Well, yep, I was a living example of that! And for the past five years, I’ve been working to live a brave life. It’s not always easy, but it’s so worth it. And now, I have the opportunity through my work to encourage, coach and support others in their acts of bravery. And that is a very cool thing!

So why this blog about being brave?

These past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it takes to be brave. And about the role that being brave has in our lives whether we are trying to affect or adapt to big changes — some we seek and some that happen to us. How do we begin the process of finding our courage and deciding to act? How do we foster in ourselves the courage to show up and be vulnerable — even and especially when we’re scared and we don’t know the outcome?

My definition of brave

To me, being brave means going head strong into something really hard or scary, despite your fear. It means noticing your fear, acknowledging it, and then pushing past the worry, excuses and self doubt — that pit in your stomach that says, “Wow, I really am scared and I really don’t want to do this, but I know I need to.”

When it’s something that stretches you, challenges you, helps you grow and change and you go 100% all in despite your fear, well, in my book you get big bonus points. Those bonus points show up in your life when you do the work, as you practice your courage and take action.

P.S. you’re going to slip and fall and even fail. There will absolutely be times that you win and succeed and it feels fantastic and propels you forward. And then, there will absolutely also be times you will take the leap and fall flat on your face.

The latter is when you need to stop right where you are — while “you’re on the ground after getting the crap kicked out of you (figuratively)” — and feel what you need to feel (be mad, sad, embarrassed, angry, hurt…). Then, you figure out how to navigate what just happened (based on the truth, not your story about it) and eventually you get to the point where you learn and grow, and you’re ready to dust yourself off and get busy being brave again. But, it’s a process, and each person and each step is different.

Why bother living a brave life?

For me, this is fairly easy to answer. I’ve never felt more alive than when I’m in the conscious act of being brave or courageous! I don’t think you can achieve transformative change or perhaps even find true connection with others without being brave. For me, being brave was a launching pad to unlocking my greatest potential and achieving what I really, really wanted. And it still is! The more courageous I am every day, the less intimidating the BIG scary thing feels. And hey, conquering your fear feels awesome! This bravery propels me forward to the next hard thing, and the next, and the next.

Perhaps the coolest thing of all — for many of us an increased sense of worthiness comes from the very act of being brave and doing the hard thing. It was in the process of doing really brave things that I realized in the deepest part of me, that I am truly enough. The bonus for me of bravery was a leap forward in my worthiness equation! It was/is in the act of  bravery and by living a brave lifethat has helped me determine my real worth. I know longer allow myself to play safe, stay small or hold back the best parts of me.

Brene Brown points out in her body of work that worthiness, shame, vulnerability and courage are all connected. Worthiness is not something you just decide you have and magically you’re enough. Rather, as Brown points out, worthiness is “not an attitude, but a practice. It’s a street fight every day.” I get that. I am in that street fight every day — five years later and still going. I am a work in progress.

In my view, if we live with a growth mindset and want to be the very best human beings we can be — we don’t have a choice but to act put on our brave hat and act with courage. We have to tackle the really hard things or we remain stuck, small and sometimes pretty unhappy. And that’s not acceptable. At least not to me.

Do one brave thing

If today you find yourself reading this and feeling like you’re stuck or living small, I invite you to practice bravery. I’m living proof that it’s never too late to change. Start by challenging yourself to do ONE brave thing a day or a week, and then notice how it feels, watch how you respond. I am betting you’ll build your bravery skills by daring greatly.

I experimented with this myself by starting a “Do one brave thing” challenge in June of 2012 and again in Oct. 2013. (Read my blogs about it below.) I pushed myself to do things outside of my comfort zone on a daily basis — something that challenged me physically, mentally and/or emotionally. Often they were smaller things, but they were still brave — putting my heart on the line with a “boy” by letting him know how much I loved him, apologizing to someone first even when they hurt me, and climbed my first big mountain solo.

If you’re inclined to join the “Do One Brave Thing” challenge. Start here. Simply decide to do ONE THING every day that challenges you to think and act outside your comfort zone. It can be something that challenges you — physically, mentally or emotionally. Something you’ve been afraid to do.

You know best what is brave for you. Then note how you feel before, during and after your one brave act. If you’re so inclined, please share your experience. I’d love to hear from you!

Being brave and living a brave life is awesome! It’s not always easy or fun, but it is so worth it. Happy bold and courageous living, peeps!


#bebrave #livebrave #onebravething #doonebravething #motivationmonday #bravingthewilderness

Read my One Brave Thing Series

Check out Brene Brown’s work here:





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