Recently a prominent author and “virtual mentor” posted the following on Instagram: What would you do if you were brave?
It’s a good question. And I understand why he is asking it. But I have been reading so many questions like it recently, and I’m not sure it is always the question we need to hear.
Sometimes the question needs to be: What have you done because you are ALREADY brave? Because it isn’t always about moving ahead with career goals and doing bigger things. Sometimes it’s about recognizing that people do brave things every day.
If I keep looking at what I would do IF I were brave, I just might get caught up in the race to do more. And maybe some people need that nudge. But many of us are brave a million times over. And recognizing that might give us the confidence to breathe deeply and enjoy the moments we are in.
There are people doing brave everyday: caring for aging parents, loving a struggling teen through hard choices, choosing to have hope in seemingly hopeless situations, getting out of bed when it all seems too hard, walking through fear when confronted by a less than positive report, fighting for a special needs child, holding a family together all alone, navigating loss or rejection. To name only a few.
I am preparing to go to the gym while my body loudly reminds me I have rheumatoid arthritis. It says I should lay low. That I should be on the big drugs. That tomorrow could be worse. Some days it seems brave to simply believe that my thoughts have more control on my body than my diagnosis. I am going to the gym.
Sometimes my pain will affect my “to do” list but it ain’t gonna touch my “to be” list. If I sit around thinking what I would do “if” I were brave, I would be wasting time. Because I already am.
Identifying our skill sets and evaluating what is already there can help us with future decisions. Oh, I can do this next brave thing. Look at all the brave things I have already done.
Sometimes I think that’s better than asking what we would do IF we were brave. Let’s be those who see not only our own brave, but the brave in those we interact with everyday. Brave isn’t all about getting to the mountaintop; it’s mostly about the climb. All of us involved in a climb choose to point our feet up the mountain. There is brave in all of us.
What can you do because you are ALREADY brave?