I Wanna See You Be Brave

May 20, 2016

Have you ever watched someone gain confidence in themselves for the first time? I have.

I saw it just the other day and it was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever witnessed.

I watched an amazing person light up with joy and excitement. Fists were literally raised to the sky in excitement. It was beautiful.

It’s not every day that a daughter gets to watch her mother gain newfound confidence in herself, but I did. You should know, my mom is an incredibly talented woman. She would never say this, but she is an artist. Her simple doodles are works of are that, no matter how much time I spend practicing, I will never be able to create with my own hands. Her mind works in creative ways I will never be able to understand but I’ve always admired. My mom has always had remarkable talent.

When I was in middle school, I would intentionally leave my homework for my art class sitting on the kitchen table in the hope that my mom might sit down and improve the drawing if she was restless at night. Many nights I would go to bed on a Thursday night with a “decent enough” drawing and wake up on Friday morning to find a masterpiece waiting to be turned in. Unfortunately, I grew up in a small town. My art teacher knew of my mom’s talent and it wasn’t too long before I was sent home with a note asking my mom to stop working on my assignments.  I was not pleased.

Her talent, however, didn’t stop with her ability to draw. My mom always had a way with words. She wrote beautiful, melodic poems for us and gave us a love of reading. My talent with words comes from my mom. I think I understood that before she did.

The one thing my mom didn’t have was herself for a mother. I grew up with two parents who encouraged my art and read every poem, story, and blog I wrote. They told me I could be great and they helped me share my work. My mom didn’t have herself as a mother.

So, that very brief background brings me to the moment I witnessed the other day. My mom recently attended a workshop for authors of children’s books. She submitted her work to the instructor and, a few days later,  she received the feedback.

Without getting into great detail the feedback told my mom one thing: your work is great.

My family and I have been celebrating her gift for as long as I can remember, but those words came from someone who had already lived what she was working towards. He gave her permission to believe in her work.

At 25 years old, I was able to watch my mom follow her brave. And it was incredible. The woman I’ve always turned to for advice on style, life decisions, creative ideas, and so much more finally saw the magic and the beauty she had always carried with her. For the first time in my life, my mom was seeing herself in the same light I have always seen her standing in.

It takes great bravery to submit something you’ve created to an expert and ask for feedback. It takes great bravery to write the story. It takes great bravery to get out of your own way, to ignore the voice that tries to convince you to be afraid. That voice will only get louder if you let it. Fear likes to keep you small because staying where you are feels safe and comfortable. You know how to live the life you already have. You won’t have to step out of your comfort zone if you listen to fear. You wont have to learn something new, face criticism, or embarrass yourself. If you listen to fear you wont have to do anything at all.

But now I know from personal experience that choosing brave in your own life and watching someone you love choose brave is an incredible experience for everyone involved.

I was able to watch my mom gain confidence in her ability. For the many times my mom has believed in me and watched me gain my own confidence, I was able to do the same for her. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Whether you’re 12, 18, 25, 37, 42, 50, 70 or any age at all, you can still choose brave. Your past does not dictate your future. You have the opportunity to choose. When will you choose brave?

Today, I have one challenge for you: take the next step. Maybe you’ve already started a project but you’ve gotten to a point that requires you to make your brave a little bigger than you’ve asked it to be thus far; take the next step. Maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to do but you’re not sure how; start researching. Maybe you’ve started a project multiple times but you’ve never been able to finish; make a plan. Maybe, like my mom and I, you’ve let the fear of falling short of perfection paralyze you into inaction. If that’s your story I want to share some of the greatest advice I’ve ever received: sometimes good enough is good enough. Perfection is elusive and, honestly, a total dream killer. Set a goal to get it done and tell that nasty little voice that constantly tries to derail your progress that it doesn’t get to sit in the driver’s seat anymore. It is now a backseat participant and you’ll be taking the wheel from now on.

You get to choose your brave. You can start today and make a little progress or you can choose to keep procrastinating, keep listening to fear, keep standing still.

The choice is yours.

My mom chose brave and she gave both of us a gift.

When will you choose brave?