Thursday, October 15, 2015

Comfortable with Bravery

I recently participated in an edchat with the great folks at #CSISD.  The chat is usually moderated by @Aaron_Hogan and is the usual mix of leadership, digital questions, relationships, etc...all the hot topics in education right now.  This time the question of courage came up.  Just this morning I read a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that said "do something every day that scares you."  In response to one of Aaron's questions, I asked, "I wonder if you can live your life so courageously it becomes comfortable to be brave?"

I think that every time bravery is required, I have to talk myself into it.  I'm on a quest to live a life that says, "What's the worse that can happen?" but not in a tongue in cheek way. Rather, what would happen if .....? in an authentic, living, breathing, organic way that opens the mind to new possibilities.  It's so easy to play it safe, and sometimes, as in my life, I've had to play it safe out of necessity.  But now I'm in a season in which there's some more wiggle room, and I'm considering the what if's a bit more.
In her book The Gifts of Imperfection:  Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are  Brene Brown states, "The universe is not short on wake-up calls.  We're just quick to hit the snooze button."  What Brene Brown calls the universe I attribute to God, but nevertheless the point is the same.  How many times has that still, small voice whispered in my ear to "Wake up!"  "Pay Attention!"  "Notice this!"  "Be present!"  It's so easy to get bogged down in the mundaneness of managing our lives that we numb ourselves to those things in us, or beckoning us, that require courage.  

There is a tendency to think of bravery as things like jumping out of an airplane, or climbing Mt. Everest, or sailing solo around the world.  For sure - that takes courage.  But I think it's easy to miss the less obvious places in our lives that require bravery.  Do you try something new when you could opt out?  Bravery.  Do you force yourself out of your comfort zone?  Bravery.  Do you have a difficult conversation, in fear and trembling, but you do it anyway because it has to be done?  Bravery.  Do you make tough decisions that will affect other people, but you do it because it's the right thing to do?  Bravery.  Do you just keep showing up every day when you wish you could just disappear?  Bravery.

 If we really stopped to take stock of what we did and said each day, thought about how we acted and the decisions we made, I think we would be surprised at how brave we were that day.  Things that don't seem brave to us at all are fully courageous to someone else.  I think my challenge to us all is this - begin to notice when you've been brave. When did you do something you didn't want to do because it was right?  When did you take the high road when you wanted to do anything but that?  When did you take a deep breath and try one more time to do that one more thing?  You've been brave, my friend.

Mary Anne Radmacher said, "Courage doesn’t always roar.  Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying I will try again tomorrow."  

I think we're braver than we think we are.