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Be Brave

A few years ago, it came to my attention that a young family member was struggling with anxiety and depression. I was able to share with her a bit of my own struggles, and let her know she wasn't alone.

Bravery - artist Arzu Yontar
A few weeks after our talk, I saw the movie, "Brave." It struck me that the young protagonist, Merida, modeled a great quality. She was indeed brave.

Being brave is not about recklessness. It is not about confidence. It's not about being foolish, or looking for glory in the eyes of others.

Bravery is about doing what is right, even when you are a quivering mess. It's about knowing that things may not turn out the way you expected, but forging ahead anyway. Being brave is standing by the hospital bed while a loved one is dying, and all you really want to do is turn back time. Bravery is standing up to a bully, when your legs are screaming for you to run. Brave is doing what needs to be done even when you're scared and tired and feeling helpless and hopeless.

I sent that young family member a piece of jewelry with the word "brave" engraved on it, to remind her that she was brave.

I'm not feeling too brave right now. My last two jobs were ones I LOVED. I loved the work, the people, the feeling of doing something with meaning. And in both cases, my bosses encouraged me, stood behind me, challenged me, and assured me that I was doing a great job, and that I played an important role in the organization.

Until both of them told me I was no longer of value to the organization. Pack up your stuff and go home.

Just before I was let go from my last job, I passed a plaque on the wall in the office. It designated employees who'd worked there for 10, 15, 20+ years. I thought, "My name is going to be up there one day. I cannot imagine working anywhere else." And within a day or two, I had to scoop up all my personal belongings and haul my butt out of there.

I'm struggling right now with the idea of going into an interview with confidence. I still have no idea what happened in both of these cases - why I lost whatever my bosses had valued in me. How do I know it won't happen with the next job? How can I possibly trust another boss, make friends with co-workers, speak up, when I know there is a very good chance a day will come when I'll be called into the office and told: "You don't have a place here anymore."?

I'm trying to be brave. I'm trying to keep my chin up. I feel like a baseball player whose gotten hit with too many pitches though, and he is skittish about standing in that batter's box. I'm sitting in the dugout, trying not to throw up, because I know my at bat is almost here.

Brave. Be brave.

I am acutely aware that brave women run in my family. For now, though, it's enough to know that I've been brave before and I'll be brave again.

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