In all our lives, there are moments of incredible bravery and beauty. My definition of true grit isn’t the same as yours or anybody else’s because of our different experiences, opportunities, and desires. Our unique stories are part of the beauty of being brave. And the bravery you’ve exhibited in life is a wonderful, brilliant thing.

I need to you to pause a second. Stop reading, and just think about one of the bravest moments in your life. Call to mind the story and how you felt.

Now let’s celebrate it. Right here.

Our world has seen and experienced some intense hardship. We’ve felt some of it in our homes, in our work, and within our families. And it stinks.

Reaching out, attempting to do our best, and venturing to overcome obstacles so we can live in all our beautiful potential is hard work. It takes intense determination, but just as you have done it before with insane bravery, you can keep doing it. Remember…

you are braveArt by Catina jane Arts

You always have been.

See, your dreams are worth it. You know you are not perfect, but you are so strong and so capable of great accomplishments. Don’t stop believing in yourself or taking risks. The greatest things come to us when we are brave. The truth is that inside and out…

you are beautifulArt by Hello Little Fox

I remember when I was being my bravest. It was August 10, 2009 when I was working on my pilot’s license. I’ve never been so scared in my life, and this is what I wrote in my journal:

Two enormous airliners lined up on the taxiway, ready to take off. Then picture me, all by myself, in a little four-seat Cessna airplane lined up right behind them. You don’t have to scream or panic or anything. If I’d really thought about the magnitude of where I was on the taxiway the other day, you can bet I would have been freaking out enough for all of us. I felt like my entire plane could have been sucked into one of their engines. But I just held my brakes and waited.

Soon one commercial airliner took off. Then the next. I puttered up to the runway, and the man in the tower gave me the okay to take off… with a giant warning for quakes formed by those two airliners. In the corner of my eye, I saw another large airplane taxiing up behind me. I knew how to take off. That part was easy. The problem was everything that followed once I was in the sky. Alone.

journalJournal by Gadanke

In those moments, I didn’t have the opportunity to feel bravery, fear, or adventure. My mind was focused on what I needed to do. I was entirely present; I have no clue what other people thought or how I looked.

When I was back on the ground, the color was completely gone from my body, erased with the fear that I was feeling. I was such a sweaty mess. (Opening an air vent didn’t even cross my mind while I was in the sky with those airliners.)

I was wobbly and then I realized…I was brave. I was capable, even when I felt so sure that I couldn’t do it. I went out there, and I did it.

Now every time I feel unsure, I remember that day on the taxiway and in the sky. I remember that confidence.

What is your story of bravery?

Don’t compare it to mine. Don’t juxtapose it with stories you hear about other people. Take your story. Relish it. OWN IT. Celebrate how it helped you become the fabulous person you are.

This year, my goal is to keep stretching myself and keep being brave. I don’t want it to be a one time thing. That’s why I have a few tricks for keeping my spirits high as I work at my desk, and I hope they help in your courageous adventures, too:

  1. I decorate my desk with posters and postcards from small shops. After all, those folks are attempting bravery of their own, so shopping with them is a way to keep encouraging their dreams, too. All the images in this post are the art of big dreamers with small shops.
  2. I keep a picture of myself having achieved my wildly brave thing. You saw that flying photo of me on the top of this post. I figure that if I am courageous enough to do my big brave thing, I can be dauntless in this next journey, too. I see that picture every single day.
  3. I keep a journal of my journey into bravery. It isn’t like “poof!” and you’re awesome at something. We know that. But as time goes by, we forget just how difficult it was to accomplish something we did. We get impatient and pick up a bit of ingratitude. That’s a reason I love my old journals. I can look at them and remember, “Oh yeah, getting to Point B was crazy hard back then. Just like it is now.”

It was actually during the bravery of my flight exams that I thought of the Gadanke journal shop. My first journals were released one month later. I guess you just never know where courage can take you when your heart is open to it!

you are alive
Art by Limey Ts

You aren’t just a capable person. You’re a beautiful person touching lives and making wonderful things. Keep encouraging yourself to take on that next brave thing. I’ll keep cheering for you, too.

What is your story of bravery?