This year. Oh my goodness.
All I have to say is “wow”.
You know those years that turn out nothing like you planned? Certainly not how you hoped.
That sums up my 2017.
Can I get a do-over?
I asked, and Father Time said “no”. The jerk.
Let’s review the starry-eyed hope I had starting the year. Mainly, I wanted to break the hold fear had over my life, and because of this fear, my inability to act. I pictured performing one brave act a day for the entire year and, to keep myself accountable, recording it on the Acts of Bravery Facebook page. I posted consistently through April, with a few spontaneous posts through June.
Major Fail #1.
To put legs on my brave acts, I hoped to publish my first novel in 2017, or at least have a multi-book publishing deal with an advance and future publishing date attached.
Major Fail #2.
But did I really fail?
To dig into the answer, let’s look at how I defined bravery. The following definition is copied straight from my Acts of Bravery page:
What is bravery? In the months I’ve mulled over the answer, I keep coming back to this: Bravery means taking a step out of my comfort zone, no matter how tiny or gigantic. It means facing fears and acting anyway. It means refusing to give up on my dreams no matter the mire I have to trudge through. Whether it’s complimenting that woman in line at Target with the beautiful scarf (brave scale: 1) or posting a blog that bares my soul (brave scale: 7) or going to a conference to hunt down agents (brave scale: 10+++), it counts. It’s a step closer to realizing my dreams.
My challenge, my gift to myself, this year is to be brave every day and to document it here. Hiding is one of my main talents. When I get overwhelmed, feel exposed, or have a rough day all I want to do is pull on my yoga pants, curl up in a blanket on my couch, ignore reality, and escape into a book. I created this page to stop hiding. What better way to be vulnerable than to share my acts of bravery with you in an open forum? (Brave scale: 8).
…no matter what bravery feels like to you, [for me] it’s daring to take that single step out of your comfort zone towards your dreams and a life more fully lived…
This definition of bravery still resonates deeply with me. And guess what? Based on it, I succeeded.
Skeptical? Let me explain.
Even though I’ve had a rough year, I did accomplish quite a few brave acts and overcame a few personal growth points.
Here are some of the highlights I can think of off the top of my head:
- I featured on my friend and host, Jessica Wilkerson’s radio show. I even recorded one all by myself because she was sick for the last day.
- I sent a query to every agent I could find who might be slightly interested in my manuscript. All have said no except one, whom I am still waiting on a response.
- I tackled my health, found answers for my fatigue and pain, and am in the middle of fighting a battle with Lyme to get my body back.
These are some of the rocks I tackled this year, but many “smaller” (aka: less scary) brave acts comprised the stones that created my path to living a courage lifestyle. (If you want a detailed list check out my Acts of Bravery Facebook page.)
And to be honest, and possibly pat myself on the back, I have created a lifestyle of bravery. I no longer have that hitch in my stomach when I have to put myself out there and be vulnerable. I’m not afraid to go after what I want or to make connections. And when someone asks me to step out of my comfort zone, I don’t immediately think, “NOOOOOOO!!!!!” I think, “is this something I want to do?”
So, I guess this year hasn’t been a total loss. I actually accomplished what I set out to do, it just looks drastically different from how I pictured it. Which, despite my disappointment, is just fine. It’s all about perspective and mindset, right? I’ll get published one day and all the other dreams I have in my head will become my reality, but steps are required along the way to prepare for those dreams. Those steps get us ready to live fully in them, to fit and expand and prepare for the next set of dreams. And now, with bravery as a natural (well, as natural as it ever will be for me) part of me, I can walk forward with what this next year has for me. (Hint: more of that in my next post on December 31st.)
What about you? What has 2017 taught you? What do you hope 2018 has in store?