Being Brave; facing our darkest fears and finding inner resilience

Posted on 23/02/18 at 11:04 AM

It was an amazing experience in early February 2018, to be sitting on a leadership panel themed ‘Make 2018 your year to be braver’ at Nutmeg with four inspiring women who were there to talk about how they had been brave. Although we all had very different stories and examples to share, similar threads of wisdom emerged from each of us. We committed to sharing our personal accounts openly and without holding back any details. It made the evening so real and easy to relate to. I was absolutely blown away by the consistency of the underlying message behind being brave.

It started with Nicola, the host and Head of Human Resources for Nutmeg, asking us how we define being brave. The answers ranged from: goingoutside our comfort zone; doing things that we would not have thought possible before; not being afraid to show our vulnerabilities; facing our fears; standing up for what we believe in; and being and showing more of our authentic selves.

We shared who we thought had been brave, as well as our personal stories of bravery. Examples ranged from: a mother standing up for her children around a group of young thugs; parents charting the journey of their sick child openly in social media to help other people; and going from a job in compliance to the confidence to write and deliver stand-up comedy. Further examples, included: a daughter facing her daily fears of a new environment and achieving it with a level of resilience and even enthusiasm; leaving successful, predictable corporate careers to pursuing real passion and purpose or following totally different career paths; and an avid adventurer sharing her bravery and vulnerability on an expedition to climb Mount Everest.

We agreed that while being brave, we conquer the hidden fears we all have. We adjust our lives to fit to the new paradigm and we dream and intend a different or better life. Also, we agreed that the fears are never gone; instead, we have learnt to control them and live with them more easily. We have found ways to cope with our fears, to help boost our inner resilience, including:

  • having supportive people around us to talk to;
  • trying to quiet the negative voices in our head that question whether we can do it;
  • speaking to someone independent with a different perspective, such as a coach or mentor;
  • playing ‘The Expansion Game*’ which exaggerates personal fears to help minimise them; and
  • becoming more introspective, having more time for the self and learning to meditate.

Sometimes, the fears we have and the negative voices in our minds do not serve us. It is important to recognise these voices as mere internal dialogue and not the reality that really faces us. We can talk ourselves down an imaginary staircase, spiralling into a very dark place, or wecan see our greatest fears as an opportunity to unleash our greatest potential. As Jack Canfield the author of Chicken Soup for the Soul’ said, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear”.

In conclusion, we agreed that being brave is facing our fears and limiting self-beliefs and finding a level of resilience to confront these fears, when we encounter them repeatedly. None of us would choose a different journey or have it any other way.

*The Expansion Game; a game to release fears detailed in the recently published, bestselling book ‘The Expansion Game’ by Gosia Gorna, an award-winning, transformational coach and spiritual guru.

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