How Can You Be Courageous So You Can Be Brave?

These days, I spend most of my time asking people to change. Mostly I coach them just to change the way they talk about themselves but change nonetheless.

Recently, I was meeting with a group of remarkable women, listening to how they would apply what they’d learned from my coaching. I must admit, my heart sank a little. It sank because while the room understood that they needed to evolve how they branded themselves and how others saw them, they were still afraid to push the necessary boundaries.

These eager and successful women were really afraid of being their bold, authentic, unique, and compelling selves. My heart sank because I knew exactly what they were feeling: I’ve been afraid too. My heart sank because, in my eagerness to teach the idea, I had forgotten about the fear. Not acknowledging that fear was my fault. Subsequently, it inspired me to add some language to my workshops where I point out the proverbial elephant in the room. I focus hard at fear and give the participants tools to smack it down when it rears its ugly head.

The “pointing” starts with how we define of courage and bravery and further discussion on the differences. In these conversations, the participants separated courage from bravery with the inclusion of experience.

  • Courage is knowing something is frightening but doing it anyway.
  • Bravery is having the expertise to manage a frightening situation.

In real terms, a regular Jane who runs into a burning building to save a child is courageous. A firefighter is brave.

If you agree with these definitions or not, they serve a purpose. These definitions might help you realize that when branching out into something new, you might not have all the skills to be brave. However, with practice and experience, you will get better.DSC07018

Back in the workshop, I ask, “Will you be courageous so you can be brave?”

Like almost everything I’m doing these days, the lessons I’m sharing with my audiences are often lessons I need myself. The whole journey of building a brand new career requires me to be courageous daily and brave often in ways I never thought I would. It’s terrifying but exciting at the same time.

So I ask you, what do you have on the horizon that you’re nervous about? Can you ask yourself to be courageous so when it really matters, you can be brave?


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