The Bravery to Keep Going (Even When It’s Hard)
Welcome to the the 50th episode of Make It Brave!
A big reason I’ve made it this far is because of you. Because you’ve been showing up and listening. Because I know there is someone out there, maybe you, who needs to hear my words. So, thank you. Thank you for listening and for being the reason I keep going. I’m grateful for you.
Also, to celebrate this milestone, I’ve got a giveaway happening on both Instagram and Facebook! I’m giving away two t-shirt and tumbler sets and I would love for you to be the winner! So, head to those channels on Friday, August 14 and enter to win!
Why I Didn’t Publish This Episode Six Months Ago
I originally wrote this episode at the beginning of the year, not long after I launched the podcast. And in fact, I had already recorded it and planned to release it, but something didn’t feel right about it.
And then the pandemic hit.
And to be honest, a message about how to keep going just felt wrong when so many people, myself included, were running themselves ragged trying to care for kids and keep up with their work, all while social distancing at home and trying to stay safe.
It all felt so exhausting and I knew that what most people were longing for was a break. So, telling people to keep going felt like it would fall on deaf ears.
So, I shelved it.
And this episode has been just patiently sitting here and waiting for the right time to be released.
And you know what? I think there was a reason I didn’t publish this message earlier. Even though I wrote this to encourage other people, it’s something I needed to hear right now in this moment.
Experiencing a Shame Spiral
You see, a little over a week ago, I had a complete meltdown. I was scrolling through social media and shame washed over me as I saw the success of other people around me. People who started their businesses when I did and have achieved far more success and have written several best selling books. People who started their podcasts after me and have already hit the top charts.
That gnarly gremlin of comparison creeped in and I started to tell myself that I wasn’t worthy of success. That my work, my writing, my podcast were not good. That I haven’t worked hard enough. Or that I didn’t know enough. Or that I just plain wasn’t good enough.
But you know what?
None of that is true. Those are lies I have told myself. There is no evidence to support any of those ideas. And logically, I knew that.
But in those moments of shame, they felt really real. And it would be really easy to let those voices win out. It would be easy to fold up shop and quit.
Maybe I haven’t hit my goals yet. But that does NOT mean that I’m not valuable or unworthy of success or good things.
It just means my time hasn’t come. That there’s another lesson be learned or that there’s more to my journey.
It does NOT mean that I should quit or give up.
Far from it.
You see, to me, this is where the bravery comes in. Being brave enough to push past the lies we tell ourselves and to fully own our brilliance. To keep showing up, even when it’s hard.
How We Tend to Celebrate Bravery
But so often, when we think about bravery, we tend to celebrate two things –– the starting point of the journey and the success.
We often think about the bravery of taking the leap into the unknown. We applaud people for starting or launching. We get excited when we start something new or when we see someone else take their first steps toward a new adventure. It’s exciting, fun and full of promise.
We also love when someone reaches the mountaintop on their journey––when they achieve big milestones, reach a certain level of success or gain recognition for their work. When we hear about these high achievers––especially when they come, seemingly out of nowhere––we call them an overnight success.
We applaud them for slaying the dragon. Or crossing the finish line. Or reaching the mountaintop.
But, for those people who achieve success, what we didn’t see was all of the miles in between the start and the finish. We didn’t see all of the times they decided to keep going when the temptation to quit was really, really strong.
And while it’s good to celebrate the achievements, it’s important to remember that’s not where the bravery happens.
Successful people only get to the mountaintop when they decide to keep going when things get hard.
If you ask me, the brave part of the journey is the decision to keep going. That’s where the real battles are waged. That’s where the temptation to stop is the loudest…
When no one is watching.
When no one is cheering.
When it seems like all of the work you are doing is for nothing.
When you doubt why you started in the first place.
When you seriously consider quitting.
Lessons from Running a Marathon
Six years ago, I ran my second marathon. It was an especially hot spring day in Nashville… almost 90 degrees.
And for a runner, that is your worst nightmare. The heat is not something you want to battle when running 26.2 miles.
And that day, when I hit around the 22-23 mile marker, I was beat. The heat was almost making me delirious. The grass in the park looked so inviting. I wanted nothing more than to lie down in the cool grass under a shade tree. I wanted to stop. I wanted to quit.
Thankfully, with the help of my running partner and a friend on the route who had some ice and a cold sponge, I was able to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
I was able to finish.
Yes, it felt good to celebrate when crossing the finish line.
But, that’s not where the bravery happened. The bravery happened a few miles earlier when I decided to keep going. To keep working toward that finish line. To not give up.
The Journey isn’t Always Easy
Sometimes, I think we over glorify the start and the finish so much that we think the journey will be easy.
We wonder why success doesn’t come sooner because when we read the book, watch the movie or hear the story of others, we think that success truly comes overnight.
We wonder why we aren’t farther along in our journey after a week, a month or a year or even several years. Have you ever felt that way?
I certainly have.
If I’m being honest, I feel that way with this very podcast sometimes. Yes, it’s only been several months since I launched the show… and yet, I wonder why aren’t more people listening? Why isn’t the show gaining more traction? Why am I not farther along?
Not long after I launched the show, I was beating myself up over these things and my friend, Beth, reminded me that I’m just getting started. The show is still brand new. And I’m still new at this.
She made a good point.
I mean, what was I expecting? Overnight success? To catapult my show into stardom overnight? That’s just silly, but based on what I was telling myself, it certainly sounded that way.
It reminds me of a recent graphic I saw about the creative process.
It shows the start, and how we feel awesome at first, but we quickly move to the phases of “this is tricky. This is hard. This sucks.” And from there, we move into the “I suck” zone. And we stay there a long time before we start saying, “This might be okay” and “This is awesome.”
The Bravery of Pushing Through the Yuck
That sticky, yucky middle. That’s where bravery comes in. It’s the audacity to keep going and putting one foot in front of the other when it seems like it’s not worth it. It’s believing in your dream when no one else does.
Sure, there are definitely times when it makes sense to quit. And there’s bravery in that too. I’m not suggesting that we all tilt at windmills and put our lives, our health or our families at extreme risk. But, I would encourage you (just as I’m encouraging myself here) to keep going when things are hard. To not give up too early.
Just think about all the wonderful things that you could do if you stuck with the hard work. And even if it doesn’t turn out like you’d hoped, one thing is for sure–you will learn and grow from the experience.
Just remember that the brave people who are doing big, bold, amazing things kept going when no one was looking. The road to get to where they are now was undoubtedly laced with thorns, obstacles and setbacks. So, before you think that they had it easy, they didn’t.
Because if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Everyone would be successful. Everyone would build and create new things.
The brave ones are those who keep going even though it’s challenging and it feels success is a long way away.
They are the winners. Even though they haven’t crossed the finish line or won the award…. yet.
Falling in Love with the Journey
Recently, I read the book, Atomic Habits, which I highly recommend, by the way.
In the book, James Clear says that successful people are the ones who are willing to stick with habits even when it’s boring. It’s about falling in love with the process and showing up to do the work even when it’s hard. Even when you don’t feel like it.
Getting to where you want to be is more about falling in love with the process and finding ways to enjoy the journey toward your goals.
We tend to glorify the achievement. But where bravery and success is truly made is in daily practice. It’s showing up and learning to love the process. It’s deciding to keep going when most people quit.
I don’t know what this looks like for you, but I encourage you to find ways to fall in love with the process and celebrate the small wins along the way. Look back and acknowledge just how far you’ve come.
And armed with that confidence, keep going. Keep showing up and commit to the process of getting better every day. Commit to keep learning and growing. Commit to showing up. Commit to sticking with it.
You have a brave warrior within you. Channel that and keep doing the brave work of showing up. Keep going when everyone else quits.
I can’t promise you success. But, I can promise you that you will become braver and stronger in the process. In fact, if you already are. You are braver and stronger today than you were yesterday. Don’t forget that.
So keep going. Keep making it brave. Every day.
I’m rooting for you!
Very good advice, information, encouragement!
Thanks so much!