When I moved back to the Northeast in March of 2014 after almost 20 years in Tennessee, I did so without a job. This was a strange thing for a woman that loves a good plan to do.
Don’t ask me why, but I believed that if I released myself from my known path, opportunities would open up for me that I couldn’t begin to imagine. It was an intentional act, creating a purposeful space between my old professional life and whatever new one was waiting for me.
On hearing about my leaving like this, my friends and loved ones reacted with concern (“I mean, Lisa, who leaves without work?”), wistfulness (“I wish I could do that”) and/or complete and total support (“You go, girl!”). Those with a more spiritual orientation to the universe completely understood… it was an extraordinary act, a leap of faith. They knew, as I know, that I did not need to plan for the great thing… that if I put positive energy into the world, the great thing would happen on its own. So I stopped planning, and began my new journey.
The release was ridiculously confronting and lacked the comfort of the familiar. The only way I could get through the initial stages was an often continuous recitation of my mantra, “You can’t move forward if you don’t let go”. Stepping into the gap, I had to trust that even if I didn’t see things happening, it did not mean that they weren’t happening. That space where anything can happen was open, and was, for me, full of possibility, but also very scary. Tweet This
You can’t move forward if you don’t let go. – Lisa Pote, Brave Girl
Driving out of Tennessee I was exhausted and battered by my leaving experience, but, also excited. Finally, I was moving forward. That I didn’t know what the end point was didn’t matter… it was the leap that mattered. And I’d done it.
As a part of my landing, I had some great conversations with a developing peer network in NYC, Philadelphia and DC. I told my story over and over and heard, “That was a really brave thing to do”. My first interpretation of that was “You must be crazy”. I couldn’t identify with “Brave” which to me, had always been very big; “Brave” was more fitting for first-responders, life-threatening illness survivors, heroes… But that was my definition, and the true definition of “Bravery” includes some words that DID apply to me, and my new life in the gap:
I knew that if “Brave” applied to me, then it also must apply to others as well. I began to talk to everyone I met about bravery, from Chamber events to online communities to training seminars. I started asking, “What does bravery look like to you?” and heard some wonderful examples of what I now call, “Everyday bravery.” People were so generous in sharing their stories, their fears, their accomplishments. They talked openly about how it felt when they fell short and how proud they were when they rose to the challenge. These stories, these people tugged at me; as a writer and motivator, I sensed an opportunity to redefine what bravery looks like, to create a “Brave Community.”
Here we are. Here it is. Lisa’s “Next Thing.”
All you brave souls, or brave “Wanna-bes”, this blog is for you, for us. Let’s co-own a space to share our risks and rewards, identify what works for us and what doesn’t. Let’s build hope here and help each other make leaps in our everyday lives so that we can have the lives we deserve. Go big or go home, I say.
What is YOUR story? Today, bravery looks like “Lisa’s big leap of faith”. Tomorrow belongs to you.
Be brave. Be bold. Make the Leap.