Let’s be honest.
It may be different than you’re expecting.
- having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty: having or showing courage
Currently, there is a consistent message coming from both the private and professional arenas: Be Brave.
Have the courage to do that thing, be that person! Use your bravery to speak up, speak out, be loud, make your voice heard! Be bold and unafraid, it’s okay to fail! You must try and take risks or you’re not really living!
There is most certainly some truth here and encouragement is so important, especially for the quiet, less adventurous among us. While listening to those motivational speeches, we tend to associate bravery with a string of related words: courage, heroes, the heart of a lion, winners, medals, cheering, thankful crowds and other Disney-esque, romanticized notions.
Have you ever wondered why? Why the sudden focus on the need to Be Brave? Why would you need so much encouragement and support to be open and honest? The truth is, what you’re about to do or think or say may be wildly unpopular.
The reason you’re encouraged to Be Brave and inundated with pep talks and inspirational memes is, being brave is hard. If you choose to Be Brave, to take a calculated risk, it is commendable, but know this: Being brave can be lonely.
Think about it- If everyone agreed with you, there would be no need for bravery.
When you take an unpopular stand, there may be consequences. When you voice your opinion, take a leap of faith, or venture down the road less travelled, you may be mocked, shouted at, argued with, laughed at or, maybe worst of all, ignored. Even the people who encourage you to Be Brave may react this way, if your bravery doesn’t fall within their acceptable parameters. You may feel betrayed. You may feel like the only person on Earth who thinks this way or does this thing and you may even question yourself. Being lonely isn’t fun.
This is not to discourage you; the current sentiment is right on. You absolutely, positively should Be Brave.
This message is to prepare you, so that you’re not caught off-guard in those times when the reaction you receive is different than what you may have imagined or expected. If you are armed with the knowledge that there are many ways in which your message may be perceived, you’ll be ready for it. Instead of shrinking back defensively, feeling hurt, you can take the next step and keep moving forward. Instead of caving to doubt and running back to the comfort of the consensus, you’ll be ready. You won’t have to stop and catch your breath and recover from the surprise, but you will be ready to stand your ground and proceed with conviction.
There will be amazing opportunities for truth-telling, where the reaction is, “me, too.” Someone might say, “I agree,” or even, “I hear what you’re saying, but I think you’re wrong.” The best part is, you already know the benefits, the truths and the realities of your choices. You will choose to Be Brave, not because of the opinions of others, but because it is time to share that message, take that stand and become that person.
At some point, you will choose to Be Brave and no one will cheer for you. This is still okay. Your truth and your convictions are still your own. Conflicting beliefs do not make your truth any less true or any less yours.
So, go on, take the risk and speak your truth and have informed opinions that you can stand by.
Do these things with your eyes wide open; be ready to Be Brave.