Don’t Be Brave
When I signed up for Chris Brogan’s Brave New Year course one year ago my primary intent was to learn something about how online courses work.
I had an idea for a course and I figured I’d better take a few courses first, to experience the different ways an online course could be structured. Chris’s Brave course was priced reasonably and seemed to offer content that I’d enjoy.
In hindsight, I think it was something more than happenstance that Chris sent out an email promoting the course the same week as my birthday. Since my birthday is in late November, I always use the Thanksgiving holidays as a time to reflect on the past year, my dreams, where I want to go and where I am on the path. 2012 marked a particularly significant birthday for me.
So I purchased Brave New Year on November 26 and the first module landed in my inbox the morning of my birthday.
And that video from Chris Brogan launched me on a journey that has opened my eyes and expanded my vision for the future beyond anything I’d imagined since I was 25.
I wasn’t really looking for bravery, at least not as it’s typically defined. I’ve always been brave in the face of adversity.
But bravery is about more than steadfastness in the face adversity. As Chris says:
The opposite of bravery is not fear; the opposite of bravery is surrender.
Bravery is also about living with your whole-heart. We associate bravery with courage and courage is all about heart. The French word courage is derived from the Latin cor, or heart.
I'd already turned the corner but a few years ago I might have been on the verge of surrendering. And the course turned out to be just what needed to kick-start my visioning for another phase of my life.
As I worked through my birthday and December reflections, aided with the questions raised in Chris's Brave course, I started to realize I'd stopped dreaming big. I was dreaming safe. I was dreaming small. I wasn't really dreaming, I was just following directions for a pre-defined path.
I wasn't following my heart.
Deep down, I already knew this. But the times in my past when I’d ventured forth in pursuit of something bigger, I’d stalled either due to my own missteps, procrastination, (perceived?) lack of resources, or maybe just being ahead of the curve.
What I discovered when I worked through that first hour-long Brave video was a renewed enthusiasm for vision, for a specific vision I’d had since childhood. I could sense how I would weave the colorful threads of past experience into a coat I would wear into a new stage of my life.
As I continued into December 2012 and early January 2013, the vision began to coalesce into something more tangible and I took a few more steps on the path.
This week marks the 52nd week since I began the Brave journey with Chris Brogan.
And my first week as an official Instigator.
The most astonishing thing is that I've come to realize over the past year that everything in my life has happened exactly as it needed to happen to prepare me for what comes next.
In Greek mythology, the Moirai–the three fates–control destiny, subject only to the overriding veto-power of Zeus.
In the same way that Dickens offers us the ghost of Christmas past, present and yet to be, the fates sing of things that were, are and will be.
I don't believe we are resigned to live as puppets in a destiny controlled by some external, all-powerful force.
We spin our threads and weave them into own tapestry by the choices we make, the actions we take.
But I also believe that we are inspired and designed to achieve something greater than our individual selfish desires.
When I was 17, I didn't get something I wanted. What I got was so much better. And in that process I was introduced to the symbol of the distaff. What does that matter, you ask?
The irony is, as I that I began writing this post and doing a bit of Wikipedia fact-checking to verify my memories of Greek and Roman mythology, I discovered a thread of connection.
I discovered the distaff is the symbol of weavers in all ancient mythologies and cultures, as well as the three Moira, the fates.
Is it a coincidence that my grandfather owned a cotton ginning company?
In any event, I make the connections because I'm writing my story.
To quote Chris Brogan again:
You are the author of what's coming next.
Another way to put it: You are the one who weaves the tapestry of your life.
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We need to be brave if we're going to weave an original tapestry.
If you want to be brave, you must have courage. You must have heart. You must have love. Because courage comes from love. And as I say in thesis one of my Happy Life Manifesto: It all starts with love.
Over the next few days I'll be sharing some of what I've been working on for the past year, some of what I envision. To be quite honest, some of the details are still a bit nebulous and are unfolding day-by-day.
I'm the author of my story, the weaver of my tapestry, but I don't yet know the ending.
Lesson: Don't seek to be brave if you want to dream to small.
What about you? How's your heart?
What story are you weaving out of the threads of your life? Leave a comment below and lets start a conversation.
And if you're interested in the Brave New Year course you can sign up here. (affiliate link). Chris is offering a 55% discount through December 2, 2013. Use the code OWNIT (case sensitive). Here's where I explain affiliate links, if you aren't familiar with this concept.