November is a set of 3 episodes called 15-minute life hacks. I’m calling the November nudges. Each episode is a quick reminder of a life tool to inspire and help you connect to the world around you as you create your best life story on purpose.
Today is week 3 and we’re all about courage. It’s called Little Bites of Bravery. This life hack is about how to tackle the scarier, bigger things in our lives, and Jessica Burrell, owner of Life Amplified is with me for all 3 episodes.
Come with us for a quickie. This one’s about taking it one step at a time.
Tune into the audio program for my discussion with Jess about the importance of being brave - even in small increments.
We talk about things like:
What is Bravery? — the quality or state of having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty.
I first heard the saying “Little bites of bravery,” from Lady Gaga on her interview with Oprah on May 31, 2022; Your Life In Focus Tour
Lady Gaga started the Born This Way Foundation, (Foundation to support mental health) they encourage courage with “Little Bites of Bravery”
She said, “Just be a little braver every day. If you feel like you can’t do something, just go take a little bite of bravery. I promise you before you know it, you’re taking a big ol’ bite of bravery.”
Be Brave for 10 seconds. What can I step into for 10 seconds? Think about that...
A couple quotes we like on this topic:
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
― Nelson Mandela
“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
― Theodore Roosevelt
Tune in while I tell the story: The Giant
I found this story in the book -Lead with a Story, by Paul Smith. (American Management Association, 2012, Pg 144-145)
Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived a very bright and trustworthy young woman. Having learned all she could in her own village, she set out to explore the neighboring lands. After some time, she came upon a great city surrounded by a huge castle wall. “Surely I can learn something new from the people here,” she thought to herself. But after entering the city, she found its people too frightened and depressed to share any wisdom. “Why is everyone here so sad?” she asked. One trembling citizen answered, “Today is the day the giant comes.”
“Giant?” she scoffed in disbelief. “There’s no such thing as giants.”;
“Oh, but there is,” came the response. “He stands over 10 feet tall! So tall, he can’t rightly be called a man at all.”
Skeptical, but intrigued, the young woman pleaded, “Tell me more of this giant.”
So the frightened citizen nervously explained to her, “Every year, on the same day, and at the same hour, he comes down from the mountain where he lives. He stands at the edge of the clearing and yells, ‘Send out your bravest man for me to fight, or I will knock down these walls and kill everyone inside!’ Each year, one poor valiant soul steps out to face the giant and there he stands, mesmerized by the giant’s enormity and the impossible task ahead. Every year the giant slays the poor warrior where he stands before he even draws his sword. The warrior doesn’t even move. It’s as if he is hypnotized.”
Eyes wide with fascination, the woman begs, “Can I see this giant?”
“The only way to see the giant,” the citizen explained “is to face him in battle.”
“Eager to learn, the woman responded, “Then that is what I will do.”
Shortly thereafter the voice of the giant rang through the village and the woman stepped out to meet him.
She looked out across the clearing to the edge of the forest at the foothills of the mountain. Sure enough, there stood an enormous giant! For a moment, she just stood and stared at him from a distance. There was a gentle rise in the ground separating the two, so she could only see him from the waist up. It was difficult to tell exactly how big he was, but he was clearly taller than any man she had ever seen or heard of. She was struck with the same awe and terror all of her predecessors surely felt at that moment. The giant was real. Facing him today she would surely die. She considered running back inside the castle walls, but she had given her word to the people to face their giant, so with all the bravery she could muster she began to walk tentatively toward the giant. And, the giant began to walk toward her.
After a few paces up the gentle incline, she gained a full line of sight to the giant and she could see his whole form. With the better angle, she could tell he was not nearly the 10 feet in height she first believed but was perhaps only 7-feet-tall. He was still massive, but at least now in human proportions. She was still no match for him, but at least she would meet her defeat at the hands of something recognizable.
With that element of the unknown removed, she was able to walk at a normal pace and after a few more steps the giant appeared to be smaller still. Was this some strange optical illusion? The giant appeared to be not much bigger than she was now. She might actually have a chance! With this new hope, her pace quickened. And with every step, she could tell it was no illusion. The giant was actually shrinking before her very eyes and the faster she ran, the faster the giant shrank.
Her terror had turned to hope, and now that hope and turned to confidence. Certain of her victory, she was now in an all-out sprint toward the giant. As she reached the middle of the clearing she stopped and stood toe-to-toe with the “giant” who was now only 12 inches tall and still shrinking. She reached down and picked him up in the palm of her hand. She only had time to ask one question before he disappeared. “Who are you?” she said.
The giant responded in a tiny and dwindling voice, “I am known by many names, but to your people I am known as fear.”
We all have fear. That’ is part of being human. There is no shame in recognizing or admitting that. Some of our fears we understand, like self persecution, avoiding rejection, some things scare the hell out of us and we don’t know why, but either way, moving through a meaningful life means we have to face fears, we have to call on courage. Fully becoming means we push past the banshee voices of anxiety, judgment, doom, certain social ostracization, and face our fears with little bites of bravery.
Throw yourself forward one little step at a time, if that’s all you can muster.
Share this episode and let’s keep up our forward momentum.
See you in two weeks for the next great episode - it's holiday time. We've got some fun December episodes coming up.