Could You Be Braver? (Of Course, but Here’s Why You’re Not)


Everybody wants to be brave. At least we say we do. But bravery, like courage, is not the absence of fear. It’s something completely different.

 “What are things that allow you to be brave?”

I was recently asked this question from an audience member as I exited the stage following my keynote. I was greeting attendees who wanted to know a bit about on Bravership®. Then came that AH-MAZING question….one that caused me to pause, just for a moment.

If you think about it, being brave all comes down to building habits and practicing them daily.  

Daily practice helps us build muscle memory, for both our mind and body. When situations arise, we are more prepared. In Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habits, he talks about leaders achieving success by focusing in on the patterns that shape every aspect of their lives.  

They succeed by transforming habits, which takes practice! 

In my forthcoming book “What’s the Bravest Thing You Can Do Right Now?” I focus on habits.  

What does it take to establish Bravership® habits? Here are a few habits you should consider:

1)    Say It out Loud!   

Own what you are afraid of and take a deep breath.  

Going into the unknown is scary for everyone – even if they don’t admit it. I remember being just a few months into starting my new practice upon leaving the corporate world and being moments away from taking the stage as a facilitator for a coaching workshop. There I stood – in front of 40 past colleagues of mine. And, boy was I was nervous.   

What was I worried about? 

The people in the audience had not experienced me as a business owner/facilitator. T knew  me as someone who worked with them as an intern many years ago.  And so the doubt set in.

Would they see me as an expert in the area of coaching? 

I had done all of the work -- the year-long certification, the hundreds of hours of coaching plus extensive testing to achieve my certification. 

Another colleague who was co-facilitating with me that day knew something was wrong. When sharing my fear with her, she said, "Nicole, get your butterflies in formation, use their energy and power." 

It was defining moment for me that day. 

As I am about to take the stage, kick off a new program, or lead a workshop, I say it out loud.

By verbalizing my fear out loud, get those butterflies in formation. Why?  It has a positive physical effect, and the fear loses its power.  

2)    Lean on Others  

Being brave is infectious, embrace your fears by saying, "Here's what I need from you right now."

About three years ago, I began to explore the possibility of bringing on a business partner – someone who would push me to be the best version of myself and to help lead a growing practice. 

What I have found is a business partner who will listen intently, challenge me with powerful questions and remind me that not all business opportunities are excellent business opportunities.

Jeff is always ready to be "leaned on.” I am so thankful the universe brought us together. 

By leaning on him, it enables me to be closer to the best version of myself. Jeff is a thought partner and trusted advisor.  

Another trusted colleague and friend, Laurie Baedke, reminds me often to curate my circle and the importance!  She informs us that top performers very intentionally surround themselves with others whose values and aspirations and habits will cull growth and excellence in them, and in whom they can encourage and influence the same in return.  I am a big fan of her podcast, Growth Edge Leadership, check it out:  Curate Your Circle

Living this habit can be tough for me.  I have to remind myself that it's ok to ask for help… in fact, for me to be successful in all aspects of my life, I need my circle, and I need to ask.

3)    Be There for Others 

Let people draw bravery from you. Helping someone else be brave can help you be brave.  

This requires us to be aware of what is going on around us, and pick up on what others might be trying to say. 

Recently, I was coaching a female executive client who shared her next role was to assume her boss’s role and ended the statement with "I will be a disappointment."   

Wait, what? 

At that moment, I had a choice. I could have gone back over that statement… or I could lean into her.

I chose to lean in.

I asked, "What's going on for you right now?" 

Being there for her and asking the question opened the path for in-depth exploration, alignment, and ultimately action for her to take. 

Author, Pam McLean shares in her book Self as Coach, Developing the Best in You to Develop the Best in Others a concept I love called turning up the heat.  

As leaders and coaches the best thing we can do in being there for others and willing to turn up the heat.  What does that mean?  Heat is a potent cauldron connecting head, heart, and gut in a mixture that creates an opening for meaningful breakthroughs – the sort that connect the dots, linking who we are today with our past, our narratives, our early attachments and the scripts we crafted in our early years that no longer serve us as well in our current lives.  Heat creates the possibility for new insights and epiphanies

 Being there for others is about turning up the heat for real transformation to take place.     

 As I am deep into authoring my very first book, I am sourcing some incredible stories of what Bravership® looks like in action. To do this, I’m asking leaders from all over “What’s the bravest thing you did today?”

Because I’m asking, I also want to share mine with you… today I wrote an article (this article!)  about a book I am writing called “What’s the bravest thing you can do right now.” 

For me, the time for thought is over. Now is the time for action – and that requires Bravership®.  


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Nicole Bianchi