Why Not . . . Be Brave?

“I believe that the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare.” ― Maya Angelou ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #83 It is a frequent occasion that I find myself looking around the life I have the opportunity to live and wondering how I have the fortunate circumstance to be standing in my shoes. […] Listen now or continue reading below.


“I believe that the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare.” ― Maya Angelou

~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #83

It is a frequent occasion that I find myself looking around the life I have the opportunity to live and wondering how I have the fortunate circumstance to be standing in my shoes. On a far grander scale, I wonder if astronauts who have had the experience of orbiting Earth and returning to tell their tale or anyone who runs successfully for President or leader of a democratic nation ever looks around them in ah, asking how did this happen?

While each set of circumstance will no doubt be unique to the individual scenario, at the core bravery had to have been practiced. Without question, fear will be present when something we seek reveals itself to us. Often we will have to let go of our comfortable ways, change something within our minds or being with regards to how we go about our everyday lives, but if we realize that what we fear is often an indication of the direction we desire to go, if we are willing to tap into our bravery, the most amazing changes and life can begin to become our reality.

The entire month of January here on Monday’s posts/episodes has focused on “The How of Happiness” (see here, here and here), but the underlying foundation is the willingness to tap into the bravery, the courage so to speak, that resides within us all. And so, as this is the last Monday in January, I felt it only fitting that Bravery be our focus.

The benefits of being brave are immense and profoundly life-changing. In this post, I share in detail how to be brave, but today I’d like to share with you the carrots that are worth coveting if we have the courage to practice bravery in our everyday lives.

1. Become the director of your life

The only way to ensure that your life is your own, to not be led around by the nose, whether it be society, family or friends, is to have the courage to step forward toward what you are curious about. Choose to seek a career path that speaks to your strengths, rather than just your skills, decide to follow where your wandering mind leads you, be willing to do things on your own and often you will discover what makes your soul truly come to life.

2. Accept room for growth and choose to improve

Being brave is also about owning our mistakes, understanding that we are a work in progress and finding the strength to seek out guidance, support and information when we don’t have the answers to make the change or improvements we seek.

3. Grab hold of opportunities when presented

To reiterate what I find to be the true definition of luck, preparedness meeting opportunity, it is in these moments of opportunity that we choose to step forward and cease what could be rather than fear what could be lost. Life wants to reveal its awesomeness to us, but often we are too concerned about what we know and refuse to discover what we don’t know that keeps us from living the small life we aren’t truly happy with.

4. Embrace spontaneity from time to time

Yes, being brave by definition requires us to feel uncomfortable as we step outside of our comfort box. Being disciplined and making tough disciplines as we prioritize our lives is not always fun everyday moment of our journey. With that said, being brave is also about trusting ourselves. Knowing that we can be spontaneous from time to time, let our hair down and simply see where the moment takes us because we know we have established a strong foundation to return to when the spontaneous moment passes.

5. Accept that life’s events aren’t always in their hands

Similarly, when we know that we have a secure foundation, regarding our finances, our relationships (which includes the relationship we have with ourselves), it becomes easier to recognize what is and what isn’t within our control. And when we are cognizant of the difference, we can detach from results that we have no control over. When we detach, we can then relax, not wasting energy stewing, fretting or whining about what we wanted to have happen, but didn’t.

6. Allow authentic relationships to grow

“The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls.” ― Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Stanton’s statement continues to resonate with me, and having lived a handful of years fretting about what others think: about my lifestyle, my job performance, my looks, etc., the liberation that is now felt is probably not a strong enough word. The beauty of letting go, being brave enough to show who we really are is that we come to life. We begin to glow and radiate and that, that is attractive.

7. Introduce others to your talents

A scary task to embrace is to show others the heart of soul of who we are and what we can do. Those things we hold dear to us, that we are passionate about is to make ourselves vulnerable, and that is absurdly trepidatious. However, and we can do this slowly and gradually, when we do begin to show others our talents and passions, the people who we might work with, who might have similar passions and curiosities begin to gravitate towards us, and relationships, networking and opportunities begin to materialize.

8. Reduces unnecessary energy drains

Being brave can me saying no, letting go and walking away. Whether it is a relationship, a job, a way of life, this is not an easy decision, but after much contemplation, you know without question your life is not able to be what you wish it to be with certain current components in it, you must find the courage within yourself to let go. Energy is power and when our energy is used defending ourselves, getting trapped in others’ pointless drama, we take away energy for living the life that brings us to our best selves and helps us reach our full potential.

9. Discover something new about yourself

Listening to your curiosity without question requires us to be brave. Never tried skiing? Why not rent a pair of skis and take a jaunt up to the mountain? Always wanted to paint but didn’t know where to start? Sign up for a class and see what is revealed. Listen to your inklings, those ideas that tickle your conscience. See where they lead. That is being brave, and it may just lead you to your best life.

10. Realizing there are good people in this world

Maybe you’ve been lied to, cheated on, abused or taken advantage of. After such unspeakable and deplorable treatment, the walls can build so much so that we can’t see over them to realize amazingly trustworthy people do exist. We must be brave enough to continue to reach out, say hello and get to know others. It doesn’t mean that we ignore red flags, but it does mean we may have to recalibrate our intuition.

11. Experience the beautiful amazement of the world

My experience with being brave as it relates to this point is travel. Beginning when I was 21 I traveled internationally abroad alone for the first time. It was not easy. I will not lie. I was in tears at times, but more often than not I was amazed by the world I was seeing. An entirely different world that I did not know existed. That world was France. And perhaps because it was my first experience, it made a lasting imprint. One that has called me back again and again. And each time I return, I continue to fall more in love with the culture that has in many ways inspired this blog and the simply luxurious way of living. Be brave enough to see a world that you don’t live each and every day. What it will reveal to you may surprise you.

~Why Not . . . Travel Alone? (two part series)

12. Unearth your fullest potential

In yesterday’s Au Courant Weekly, the Thought to Ponder focused on why we should be brave. The idea being that if we aren’t brave, we lose what the world would like to reveal to us. We lose the amazing life that wants to be our life.

13. Turn your dreams into reality

“It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.” ― Erma Bombeck

Those dreams you have as you are daydreaming at work or while driving on the road aren’t random. They keep popping up again and again in hopes that you will do something with them, make something of it, bring them to fruition. After all, you will do something with that idea that no one else will because no one else is you. Your dreams can indeed become reality. To circle back to the top of today’s post/episode, each day I shiver at the thought of what if I didn’t take the risk and continue to try to move to Bend. I would be missing the opportunity to live in real-time the life of my dreams. Be brave.

~”Brave by Sara Bareilles

Here is a great list from Confidence Coach of specific benefits of being brave.

—SIMILAR POSTS from the Archives You Might Enjoy:

How to Be Brave

Holding On & Letting Go: What Falls Where?

Why Not . . . Move Forward Successfully?

Petit Plaisir:

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11 thoughts on “Why Not . . . Be Brave?

  1. I have followed your blog for what seems like forever, but have never commented. But today I had to, to say to everyone, go out there and be brave, step outside your comfort zone, it’s amazing what we can achieve when we set out minds to it. I never thought I could blog, but it seems I can, I never thought I would get any followers, but it seems I have plenty – it has opened up a whole new world. Just believe in yourself, smile and have a fabulous week 🙂

  2. YES!! So much yes to everything you said. This is the exact premise of my blog–following my fears to live a Big Life! Just like you said in #9, I have been immersing myself in learning and experiencing as much as I can even if–especially if!–it scares me. I stopped allowing my fear to paralyze me and now see it as a compass pointing me in the very direction I should be going.

  3. Such a great advice and thoughts… being brave is not an easy thing, but it certainly is worth it! It is the best way to discover new possibilities, to evolve, to meet new opportunities and new people. Not the easiest path but certainly the most interesting one!

  4. What a beautiful podcast!
    I have read your blog for years, but I had never listened to you and I loved it! You have such a calm, beautiful voice and I can sense how much you love the things you talk about.
    Congratulations, I love your blog.

  5. Bonjour Shannon,
    Love this week’s episode. (Well, I love all of them)
    When I was 21 years old I took a class on “New Towns, Cities, and Environmental Design,” through Oregon State University. We visited the UK, Scandinavia, The Netherlands, and Belgium. After the three-week course was over, my boyfriend (future husband) and I stayed on, visiting France and Spain. I gotta tell you, when I stepped out of the train station in Paris, and looked up, I gasped, and said, “I must live here someday.” I never stopped thinking of that dream, that goal.
    Fast-forward 30 years. Long divorced, and retired from 29 years of teaching middle school. I was invited to show a man I knew through my family, around Paris. After a week being a tour-guide, I stayed on for two weeks in a private apartment, paying only 25 euro/night, on Rue Vaneau, in the 7TH. Only a hop away from “Le Grande Epicerie de Paris,” and “Le Bon Marche.” I heard through the grapevine that the owners were considering a six-month rental, and I said, “Pick me, pick me.” They did, and agreed to hold the apartment until I had time to put my teeth back in my mouth, return to Portland, clear my home, and sell it for a tidy sum. I arrived in Paris on February 14TH, alone, with two suitcases and my cat. As I was fiddling with the “digi-code” of the door to my new building, the young taxi driver came running across the street, dangling a lacy black bra in his hand (actually, waving it like a flag), and hollering, “Madame, madame, c’ est a vous?” Gads….in my hasty packing, I’d stuffed it into an outside zippered pocket, and forgot to close the zipper! Red-faced entry to Paris!
    And so it began. What I found particularly interesting is that so many said, “You’re so brave to be doing this!” I could not comprehend this move as an act of “bravery,” though now I sort of understand. I went alone, (except for my cat, Buddy) and left everyone and everything behind. My dog joined me later, returning when I made the trip back to the French consulate in SanFrancisco. I was also surprised at friends who tried to scare me or to hold me back. I think that is something that I didn’t expect. Luckily, I don’t fall for that!
    Now, five years later, I am travelling to the UK next week, and will be married on Feb. 13TH, to the man who asked me to be his tour guide. La Vie Est Belle!

    1. Anna, I am tingling as I am reading your story. What an amazing journey you have been on. Thank you TREMENDOUSLY for sharing. I can picture exactly where in Paris your apartment is located, and what a dream of a locale to be able to start the day each morning. You truly are an inspiration. Thank you for your comment.

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