Empowering Word – Brave

I am. Brave, that is – I am brave. At least that is what I am told. It is not a word I would use to describe myself (that would be enthusiastic!), but people always say that I am brave and so I must be! What does that mean – to be brave?

When I think of bravery, I think of slaying dragons; taking on big business; running for elected office; entering a cocktail reception full of strangers, alone; repelling off a cliff; white water rafting; driving a motorcycle; swimming the English Channel; jumping hurdles; or being a single parent. Anyone who does those things is brave in my book!!! So what makes me give people the impression that I am brave?

Perhaps it is because I am not afraid of public speaking. In fact, I love public speaking! Is it because I travel independently? Italy anyone? Or maybe it’s the cancer thing. Yes, that must be it. I am a 7-year sarcoma survivor whose treatment involved the amputation of my dominant left hand. I have had a life experience – undergone something painful and unpleasant – for which there is no preparation or training and have endured. I am here to tell the story. Yes, I think that is what being brave is all about – facing the unexpected circumstances of life, moving forward with and through the fear, and coming out the other side to tell the story.

I speak as often as invited. My goal in telling my story is to encourage and inspire others to live life – everyday – experiencing all of life’s moments as they contribute to the authenticity we all long for. Life is full of issues and challenges not of our choosing. What we do get to choose is our attitude and how we respond to those moments. That is where bravery shines. Helen Keller said, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

I don’t believe being brave means being fearless. On the contrary, it is acknowledging the role that fear plays in our lives and taking action in spite of it. Bravery is moving forward through these fearful experiences and opportunities to be awakened, to have your vision cleared, for your soul to be strengthened, your ambition inspired, and your success achieved. It is having faith that life is worth living; that there are lessons to be learned everyday; and that by choosing to be present in as many moments of life as we can, we have the opportunity to create memories for ourselves and those around us with unforeseen outcomes.

If my willingness to adjust to an unexpected experience has given people the impression that I am brave, then I will accept their description. I am brave. I am.
For more empowering words – please check out Empoword. My dear friends, Stephanie and Wendy have created concepts and products to assist all of us in focusing on what is important as we pay attention during our day. Gratitude, Faith, Breathe, Giggle and Imagine are among my favorites!

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