Brave does not equal Fearless

This summer I’ve had the opportunity to speak to a couple of groups of students about my book, The Secret Labyrinth.  The main character of the book, Halley Armstrong, is brave.  At one of the schools we talked about what it means to be brave and some of the brave things that each of the students had done. Some of the stories were pretty scary, from holding a (large) snake, to jumping off a roof into a pile of leaves (ouch), to speaking in front of your classmates (gulp). When we started discussing synonyms for brave a few of the students suggested fearless. 

I disagreed and here’s why. Being brave doesn’t mean that you aren’t afraid. It means that you ARE afraid and you choose to do it anyway.  If you’re fearless you don’t have to brave. If it doesn’t bother you to hold a big snake then you don’t have to be brave to do it. If you’re calm when you think about speaking in front of a room full of people, you do it and enjoy it, no bravery required. It’s the things that frighten us that require bravery.

My friend and fellow life coach, Sarah Curnoles, is running a 40 day challenge to help people face their fears. I haven’t fully participated but I have taken on some of her challenges and it’s been eye opening to notice how many things in my life require bravery. Some of the things don’t scare me at all and may be things I already do, like going somewhere alone. Others are really scary, like #11 Fail On Purpose or #17 Lie on the Floor of a Mall for 60 seconds (what?!)

I’m curious to learn about what you’re afraid of. Sometimes our biggest dreams are what scare us the most. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of not being good enough, all of those fears can prevent us from doing what we really want to do.

If you’re letting your fears stop you, maybe I can help. I’m not saying I can make the fear go away, but by using some of the tools I’ve learned I can help you find your own inner bravery.

Be BRAVE, not fearless. Your dreams will thank you!


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