What it means to be brave

I’m really excited to revive my guest post series today, because a) I somehow always get fabulous submissions like today’s and b) I’m crazed as hell and happy to occasionally let others do the content creation for me. Today, I share with you the lovely Ashley Wilhite of Your Super Awesome Life. She’s an ambitious entrepreneur, a talented writer, an insightful life coach, and a dedicated runner. (She just ran her first marathon last week!) And her post couldn’t be more fitting for what this space has been about lately, so I’m going to let her do the talking about being brave.
witty title here guest post

Have you noticed when people say “You’re so brave,” what they don’t seem to notice is that you’re trembling inside?

They see you embarking on a solo vacation, sharing your story with others, asking for a raise, or doing some other monumental thing that they perceive as outside of their comfort zone.

But they can’t feel how your stomach is full of butterflies and your toes are tingling with fear. They can’t see that your palms are sweaty or that your mind is racing with anxious thoughts, questioning whether this a huge mistake.

That’s the thing about bravery, though. It feels like fear, but it looks like courage.

One of my favorite authors, Brene Brown, says, “You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability,” and that encapsulates it perfectly.

To everyone else, you appear confident, fearless, and heroic. But on the inside you feel nauseous, shaky, and hesitant. You feel vulnerable.

via Flickr user paix_et_amour

When I think about what it means to be brave, I think about being afraid, but doing it anyway. I think of the times I wanted to quit because I was scared. I think of the moments when I didn’t know how it would end, but I kept going anyway.

I think of the months when I was floundering, trying to start my business. With a heart full of passion, ambition, and determination, I threw myself into this new adventure. I started before I felt ready. I jumped in before I knew how the chips would fall, before I had all the answers, and I figured it out along the way.

I think of the moment when I launched my newest program, Cake for Breakfast. I believed in the power of what I had created, but I was still scared to share it. It’s a vulnerable thing to put yourself and your work out there for other people to judge. Looking back, it was one of my bravest moments, but at the time I felt exposed and insecure.

I think of the day I ran my first marathon. I woke up knowing I would run 6.2 miles further than I had ever run before, but I didn’t know how I would make it through. I felt nervous, but I started on the course with the other runners, put one foot in front of the other, and kept going until I crossed the finish line.

Bravery isn’t a magic spell you cast upon yourself. It isn’t a matter of ignoring your feelings or never being afraid. It’s about trusting yourself, locking in on your faith in your ability to follow through. It means pushing through your fear and choosing to hold on to courage instead.


Your Super Awesome LifeAshley Wilhite is the founder of Your Super Awesome Life, where she coaches 20-something women and helps them figure out what the heck they want to do with their lives + find the confidence and courage to actually go through with it. She is a huge fan of hot pink nail polish, sparkly cupcakes, and only doing what feels good. You can find Ashley and get your free copy of her e-book “The 5 Things That Hold You Back From Living A Life You Love” here.






Want to write a guest post for Witty Title Here? Be sure to check out previous guest bloggers’ posts first, then shoot me an email at wittycassiehere (at) gmail (dot) com. Wow me with your (thoughtful and grammatically correct) pitch!

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  1. Awesome post, and I totally agree with your definition of courage.

    I always think it’s funny (albeit lovely and flattering, of course) when I am called brave for things like continuing to function through the fallout of a bad breakup or cracking jokes while living life with a scary health problem. I don’t feel like, in my case at least, those are particularly brave things. When the option is fall apart and let every part of my life crumble because one part has OR move along and look for the positives, why on earth would I make the first choice.

    What I think is brave is that willingness to be vulnerable. To acknowledge that you might fail or be hurt or look stupid, but doing the thing anyway, be it in the name of personal growth or social good or plain old love.

  2. Sometimes I wonder if bravery is a trait that only others really see. I’ve been called brave for travelling solo and living in France, but those things were so important to me, things I wanted so badly, that doing them didn’t feel brave, it felt necessary. There was plenty of fear going into those things, but determination outweighed the fear.

  3. So much truth in this. Lots of people called me brave when my boyfriend and I moved from Minnesota to LA with no apartment or job lined up, but it was a no-brainer for me because I wanted it SO BADLY. It didn’t come without its share of stress and breakdowns, but it was so worth it in the end. I’ve actually felt more brave from doing little things in the two years since we arrived in Los Angeles, like accepting jobs I was 100% convinced I could never successfully do (I was wrong), or going out on a limb to make new friends. Great post =]

  4. Another thing that’s funny about bravery is that a lot of people who are perceived as brave sometimes don’t even feel like they are. The decision to do whatever they have to do is just ingrained in them based on principle or really strong belief, and even though it scares them to no end, they wouldn’t be able to live with themselves if they just stood by and didn’t do anything. I think that’s why writing appeals to me so much. It is the ultimate challenge of my life and tests my bravery more than anything.

  5. i agree. i don’t think bravery has anything to do with not having fear.. it’s making the decision to push through despite the fear. 🙂 great post!

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