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  • Writer's pictureKristen Herring-Asleson

"This is Me"

In September, an opportunity to attend a retreat for mothers who had placed their babies for adoption (birth mothers) arose, and I jumped at the chance. This retreat has been taking place annually and is one I have wished to attend for several years. This year, finally, I was able to go.

The theme of the weekend was “being brave.” The attendees ranged in age from early twenties to three of us who were 50. The range of when babies were placed went from freshly five years to me who placed 32 years ago. It was quite a diverse range of many different aspects.

When it came to being brave and bravery, many comments or themes were discussed. And, of course, there were tears as we talked about:

· Courage, strength and perseverance

· Gratitude, love and vulnerability

· Doing the right thing even when difficult

· Resolve and taking risks

· Being strong and having faith

· Conquering fear and embracing challenges

Conquering fear and embracing challenges closely resembles two of many forms of bravery when it comes to the workplace. What we discovered amongst our retreat attendees, is that one isn’t born with the characteristic of being brave. Just like choosing to exercise and get stronger physically, bravery is a skill that can get stronger the more you use it, just like muscles do.

How many times have you sat in a meeting when new a project is brought up or a new product needs a plan for its launch, and you just sat, listening while others discuss what this entails? Were you simply too unsure of yourself to raise your hand while fully knowing your skills and capabilities could get it done? Looking back at my previous career in staffing, recalling how frightening it was to put together a 24-hour recruiting plan comes to mind. It took bravery to take that first step, put a plan to paper and present it to clients.

When it comes to processes or procedures, have you ever felt like there was a better way or different steps that would make getting something completed more efficient and quicker while still producing top results? It takes a certain element of bravery to present your ideas to your boss or supervisor. Getting your “ducks” in a row, putting your ideas on paper and talking to coworkers is one thing, but taking a deep breath and asking to present to your boss or supervisor takes courage.

Several months ago, one of the Women at Work column topics was about asking for help and how that is perfectly okay to do. When one struggles with work “stuff”, they automatically feel weak or incompetent, which is a completely normal emotion. There is a certain level of fear one has to work through before they ask for help, but it is a fear that needs to be conquered.

The decisions one must make in the descriptions above are just a few made in work and in the workplace. Large or small, making these decisions require conquering fear, having courage and maybe even showing a degree of vulnerability.

My daughter works in an assisted living facility for vulnerable adults. In that setting, bravery to her means, “Advocating for my patients to superiors.” Bravery and having courage to conquer fear comes in many forms and every person who holds a job could describe bravery in a variety of ways.

Work sometimes may appear to be a battlefield that you are marching to each and every day, but in reality, it is a battlefield full of opportunities for you to build your bravery skills!

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