Be Brave!

“I don’t want to wake up one day and realize I forgot to live my life.”

I read the Globe and Mail every morning. Just one of my habits that I enjoy – get up, stretch, walk dogs out to get the paper, make coffee, read and find out about the rest of the world. I delight in finding what is written in the paper. Believe it or not, the statement above is from the Globe’s Business Section, in an article about a financial planning advisor who manages his clients’ money very cautiously. Yet the rest of his life is involved in taking both physical and social risks. He is a living, breathing example of the theory that suggests risk takers in one realm may be timid in others.

I think I am like that as well. I love taking risks, flying by the seat of my pants – sure, I can (insert correct word) ski/ride/run/hike that! So what? it’s just a little steep/long/hot/ dangerous, but I’m confident I can do it! Of course, one broken leg from a spill in Jackson Hole, crushed and broken bones in a foot from a bad soccer tackle, knees full of cinders and scars…but I’m still out there playing to my heart’s content!

But it is the social risks that I often find challenging; the bravery involved in doing or saying something important or meaningful, or looking someone in the eye and saying what I really mean, instead of what I think they want to hear.

Obviously there's something I'm not saying!

Obviously there’s something I’m not saying!

Like the man said, I don’t want to wake up one day and realize I forgot to live my life just because I was too anxious to say what I really mean. Perhaps that’s a thought for everyone to consider. How often do we want to say something, but we hold back because we don’t want to hurt feelings or we are concerned about the repercussions? In the end, it is often our own feelings that are most hurt. The words we want to say get buried under our skin, and we let life go on, as if they don’t matter.

But they do matter and they don’t go away. The words we don’t say, just like the ones we do say, remain with us and influence our decisions, our actions and our lives.

I don’t want to be held prisoner by my own fear of words. I want to be more brave when it comes to my words. Really, I just want to say what I mean to say, what I want to say, but often don’t have the courage to do it. So, in thinking about that while I finished the Saturday Globe, I came up with these three steps to help shape the way I speak and allow myself to take some risks without hurting anyone, myself included:

  • Ask myself “what would I say if I didn’t care if I was right, or wasn’t concerned about people’s reactions?”
  • Then, think about how to deliver those words succinctly and with clarity, without blame or pain.
  • Then do it!

Maybe its my stage of life, or perhaps I am just weary of holding on to fears that may never materialize. My history of silence hasn’t done that much for me.  I will do as Sara Bareilles sings in her song “Brave” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUQsqBqxoR4

“Say what you wanna say

And let the words fall out

Honestly, I wanna see you be brave”

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