First times can be scary. First days of school, of work, of meeting a special someone, even of trying on a new habit for your health.
Making any changes, whether they are our choice or not, brings with it an element of the unknown.
The first time I stepped onto my college campus, I felt sick to my stomach. I kept thinking that someone should be giving me permission to make my choices and be telling me how to think.
The first time I went out with friends after my marriage ending, I remember feeling like the awkward explanations I was giving people wasn’t enough to convey why things turned out the way they did.
And the first day I launched Brave Soles I remember feeling vulnerable, foolish, and like I was never going to figure things out.
That’s why it’s called change. Change means that something is evolving and that life as you knew it in relation to that specific item, thought, person or situation will no longer be the same.
At times, those changes yield desirable outcomes like increased time, money or relationships. We all like those kinds of changes.
However, at other times, change means difficult choices, being vulnerable, and facing unpleasant shifts in our finances, time, familiarity, and relationships.
It happens to all of us. From the first new day on the college campus by yourself to the decision to finally end something you have been unwilling to give up on.
We live in a world that is addicted to picking out patterns and making ideas, situations and people fit into those patterns. Our mind automatically seeks to polarize an experience or situation as good or bad.
But I have come to realize that change just is. It may be scary as hell at times, but ultimately, it’s what we decide we want it to be. Change is indifferent; it’s us who are the ones that try to make it personal.
I can write volumes on what I think I have lost. Can you? Those volumes can include everything from innocence to money to faith in others who let you down. Tracking what you have lost doesn’t take any effort, it just seems to roll out of the old stories you believe about yourself and where you have come from.
But what about considering what you will gain as a way to embrace change? What if acknowledging the immense possibilities of the unknown became the way we integrated change into our lives?
Recently I heard a wise person use a quote that I love:
“Your mind will only measure what you will lose, it cannot measure what you will gain.”
Tracking what we will lose when change comes along is not difficult. We can all do that with a simple pen and piece of paper that has a pros/cons list that we dutifully fill out. Tracking what we will lose doesn’t take any courage or personal development.
And, in case you can’t find a paper and pen to write down what you will lose, there will always be someone around you who is perfectly willing to remind you - without or without your permission ;)
But what about what you will gain - how can you measure that?
The answer is that you can’t - and that’s actually great news!
- When you have to make a difficult decision that is a result of things beyond your control, it’s easy to see what you will lose by taking stock of what you had. However, what you can gain as a result of things shifting and changing in your life is filled with infinite possible outcomes. Why assume it’s going to be bad or that it needs to be feared?
- When you step into a new opportunity and things are not as they were sold to you on the brochure, it would be easy to measure what you gave up to embrace this new direction. But what about what you will gain through wisdom, growth, and new relationships?
- When you enter a new situation, you lose your familiarity with how you react - but you gain a new depth of understanding of what you are actually capable of creating.
Bravery isn’t only for cute red-headed cartoon characters. Nor is only for a select few who seem to carry themselves with such conviction that you are intimidated simply by the thought of being in the same room as them.
Bravery is simply the ability to feel fear as part of the forward movement of our lives. It’s about acknowledging that you don’t yet know how it will turn out, and being willing to take the next step in spite of that unknowable outcome.
Is there something in your life that is calling you to think, act, live differently? This month, let’s get honest about what it takes to be brave.
I would love to hear about what’s calling you to be brave. Will you share it with me? Send me an email, drop me a line, or post on FB and IG. Tag us @bravesoles.life #BeBrave.
I want to celebrate the bravery of all of our Souls and I can’t wait to hear from you.