From women climbing the highest mountains in the world to everyday women raising kids and just trying to make ends meet, I know a lot of brave women. If you’re reading this, you’re one too 🙂
After all, bravery isn’t reserved for mountaineers or people who run into burning buildings or attempt to stop crime. It’s also found in the small, everyday acts that force you to take a deep breathe, ignore the sweaty palms, somersaulting butterflies and the voice in your head that say you can’t - and do “it” anyway.
“It” being whatever the hell you want; resign, apply for a new job or promotion, put your hand up for a project at work, call off an engagement, enter a race that scares you, skydive for your 40th or simply have a weekend away from the kids.
I’ve noticed most, if not all, share a number of common traits - aside from their wicked smart sense of humour. These traits allow them to put their fear aside and keep moving forward towards what's important to them - in spite of their fear.
I’m sure you’ll recognise these characteristics in yourself too:
Quieten the mind (meditation not required)
Brave women hear the stories going through their mind (the "I can’ts”, “I should”…) and have the ability to reality check their stories and re-write their stories into much more practical, positive and reality-based statements.
Even if sometimes the only way to do it is to remind themselves to “breathe in confidence, exhale doubt.”.
Don’t let fear drive the car
Brave women know how to move forward with their fear, rather than allowing their fear to become a complete dead-end roadblock on their journey.
Elizabeth Gilbert says it best: Fear should always have an opinion, a say, in what’s happening. But it’s proper place is in the backseat, buckled up tight and along for the ride. It doesn’t get to navigate (your life) and it sure-as-hell doesn’t get to drive.
Time for a reality-check
Brave women ask themselves: what’s the worst that could happen?
Too often we over-dramatise stories and the possible outcomes of situations, burning our fears more deeply into our self-belief so our "stories" become more dramatic, and more likely to occur in our minds, with each re-telling.
But brave women take the time to reality-check the story and ask themselves: what’s the worst that could happen? They know (contrary to popular opinion) you really won't die from embarrassment!
Ready for a new challenge?
Brave women know that challenges are fun and comfort zones whilst, well, comfortable are boring.
From time to time, we’ve all slipped into the cycle of work - home - chores - sleep. It’s easy to get stuck in that cycle and suddenly realise 6 months - or 6 years - have passed by. Perhaps that’s why women lose so much of themselves; because we spend much of our 20s and 30s giving to others.
But brave women are open to new challenges and adventures. They appreciate life is short and take the time to explore what interests them - rather than waiting until they are “ready”, the time is right or life quietens down.
Don’t wait to be fearless
Brave women know that everyone on the face of the planet has fears and doubts and that those women who have achieved (some of) their goals and dreams didn’t wait until they were less afraid.
Brave women know that being “fearless” is a myth. Instead, they prioritise their dreams over their fears.
Be the black sheep
Brave women aren’t afraid to be the black sheep and choose the road less taken.*
They will say “no thanks” to opportunities or invites that don’t interest them and reject the expectations others have of them. Brave women chase their own goals and do what’s right for, or important to, them and their families - even if it means choosing a different path through life from their extended family or close friends.
Find your wolf pack**
Brave women have a “wolf pack”, a core group of fiercely protective friends whose can be relied on without doubt or fear or judgement.
These women who their biggest fans, who wait at the finish line for them to finish their race in the dead of night, in the blazing sun or the pouring rain. They pick you them, dust them off and ply them with coffee / alcohol / cake when you fall. And they call you out when you start letting fear in the passenger’s seat again. These women share your “glass half full” mentality and Have. Your. Back. No matter what.
Always be inspired
Brave women surround themselves with inspiration.
From the books and magazines they read, to their friends, sporting heroes (like Anna, Chrissie and Ronda), the communities they are part of and the campaigns they support, brave women know that motivation ebbs and flows (like any other emotion) and so they keep the (inspiration) well full by surrounding themselves with positive and inspiring women doing epic shit in their lives.
Brave women know that as much as they look up to and are inspired by other women, they are looked at in the same light. Other women are inspired watching their journey.
Brave women do all they can to encourage, support and inspire other women to step into their bravery and courage so the cycle of inspiration, support and opportunity is passed forward.
Do their best
Brave women know they are doing their best and accept that it’s enough.
Sure the laundry hasn’t been folded and the dirty dishes are piling up in the sink and the house is a pigsty. But they don’t set unrealistic expectations (of perfection), nor do they beat themselves up over it. Brave women do their best and know that it - and they - enough 🙂
I'm curious - what else would you add to this list?
* Not sure how many metaphors in one sentence is too many but both work here so I’m running with it 🙂
** The ‘wolf pack’ concept comes (to me) from Emma Chambers at Rebelology - another amazing woman doing epic shit in this world.