One Brave Act

My husband and I will travel to Europe soon on a river cruise along the Rhine. We aren’t seasoned travelers, and instead of anticipating the joy of seeing the beauty of French villages and the Swiss Alps, the “what ifs” have invaded my head. What if we forget something like our passport or can’t find our way around the Chicago airport or miss our connection in Ireland? What if one of us becomes ill or we lose our credit card or…? Worries keep creeping in. 

I recently read the advice to do one brave thing each day. Since reading that, I’ve been trying it, starting with small acts. I’m hoping the momentum will build and continue right up to the trip and beyond, and I’ll be able to sit back and enjoy myself.

For my first brave act, I started out with something you’ll consider silly, but was scary for me. I used the “pressure cooker” option on the instant pot. I imagine many of you are rolling your eyes. What’s so scary about that? I’m fearful because I was next to my mother when she opened the pressure cooker and lifted out a jar of tomatoes. It exploded. Scalding steam and shattered glass made her shriek with surprise and pain.

I was also next to my dad when he opened the radiator cap of the old car and hot steam shot out severely burning his arms. I’ll never forget the sight of those huge, painful blisters.

One brave act, I chant to myself as I place the glazed chicken I’ve prepared inside the cooker and lock the top. I press the needed buttons. When the steam jiggles the valve, I stand back. When the chicken is done, I pull on oven mitts just to be super cautious, take a deep breath, release the steam, and unlock the top. I carefully lift it. A gentle puff of warm vapor rises. The chicken looks delicious.

Feeling empowered, I think about what other fears I could conquer. A future presentation comes to mind. I enjoy sharing stories and greeting people, but fear, like a blast of scalding steam, can ruin the fun anticipation. What if I do something stupid like forget a person’s name? What if I freeze up mid-sentence, forget words, and embarrass myself? What if the projector doesn’t work and I can’t show my photos? What if my dog, who’s part of the presentation, does something dreadful like pee on the library’s carpet? 

I decide my brave act for tomorrow will be to rehearse my presentation to my husband. A small act, but it will help me feel more comfortable. On the day of the presentation, I’ll be able to enjoy telling my stories, entertaining people, and inspiring them.

I think about other brave acts I might do. They could be something as ordinary as trying a new food such as oysters or as life changing as taking on a new assignment. It could be something as transformative as calling for that dreaded but needed medical appointment or as important as apologizing after making a mistake or hurting someone’s feelings. 

If I keep challenging myself to do one brave act a day, facing the scary parts of an international trip won’t seem so daunting.

I polled friends and here are some scary acts friends have recently attempted or brave acts they’re contemplating. A friend plans on going to a humane society to check out a dog for adoption. The dog only has three feet. 

A friend who married young and has never lived alone is working up the courage to take a trip by herself. She will get in the car and drive with no set plans. This same woman recently learned how to hook a trailer to her car and now she can haul her kayak to the river without needing help.

Try this for yourself. What would you like to achieve but aren’t currently doing because you’re scared? Don’t let fear limit you. Challenge yourself to do one brave new act each day. Report back. I’d love to hear how it goes.

4 Replies to “One Brave Act”

Good one, Amy! Of course, all your columns are, but some resonate more than others and that’s the case with this one. I wonder what my brave act for today should be…

Hi Gayle,
The great thing about a brave act is that we each get to choose our own. I’m guessing you’ll have done one or two by the time you start preparing supper.

Debbie Gille

Amy, I commend you for including one brave act after another to build your self confidence and trust. I myself am not a “what if” person. I am all for being cautious, but also believe that what is presented to us as a challenge can also be a learning experience. Trust in the Universe and have faith in yourself. My best advice when traveling abroad is have your medical coverage in order and your need medications. Make two copies of your passport and ID. Leave one at home and take a copy with you…..just in case.
Have a great trip….It will be beautiful and spectacular.

Hi Deb,
Trust in the universe and have faith in yourself. That’s a great philosophy.
We do have travel insurance and a good supplemental health plan. And yes, we’ll have our medications on us. Thanks for the sound advice.
Be well,

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