Do you pick a focus word for the year?
I do this exercise every year and back in 2019, the word I chose was ‘BRAVE’.
My son, Braedon, had passed away only seven months earlier and experiencing the first holidays he wasn’t a part of was heartbreaking. Facing a new year without him felt like an impassable but necessary mountain for me to climb and going forward and making my way was painful on the best days, scary on the worst days and uninspiring every day.
I often didn’t know how I would go on because I felt so empty.
To honour Braedon’s legacy, the Braedon Foundation had already been started. A highlight had been the official launch gala in October (2018) and by the time the New Year rang in we had completed our first three projects. I just needed something else to help me feel connected to my lost son and something that would inspire me.
When it came to picking a focus word, I decided this one word would propel me forward even in the middle of my grief and despair. To this day, Braedon is the bravest person I’ve ever known and the word was chosen with him in mind.
I wanted to embrace and embody not only how Braedon faced his illness, but how he lived his life too. He jumped into things without worrying if he’d fail, or what others would think of him. Braedon was brave enough to pursue things he loved without hesitation. He put himself out there again and again. I loved that he was a dreamer, a big dreamer.
I decided that’s how I would honour him with my life. I would emulate those qualities in him that I loved so deeply and missed so much.
After choosing BRAVE as my focus word for 2019, I decided to throw myself wholeheartedly into my passion project, with complete reckless abandon – just like Braedon would do. I made it my explicit mission to become the BRAVEST, boldest, take-no-prisoners-make-no-excuses version of me.
And to take it even further, I committed to inspire others to step out in bravery too.
I made a list. I still haven’t come up with all 100 BRAVE things but I’m committed to getting to 100 and ticking those things off my Brave List one by one. I highly recommend you do the same because this list of 100 things has changed my life and I have no doubts it will change yours too.
Since that day, I’ve completed 28 projects all varying in commitment, effort and discomfort levels.
- I’ve held a lizard on my head
- Ran a 5km through freezing rain on New Year’s Eve
- Survived a duathlon – it rained for that too
- Failed the Fundy Footpath miserably and contracted Lyme disease in the process – lots of lessons learned there
- Wrote an open letter on my blog to my father who abandoned me
And that’s just to name of few.
I’ve challenged myself to do things I never would have before this new attitude to embrace bravery – and live more boldly.
I’ve stretched and grown and I breathed more life into these last 22 months since Braedon’s passing than I ever did in the multiple YEARS before.
The best part about embracing bravery and trying new things is that you just can’t beat the adrenalin rush that comes with getting all fired up. And the confidence booster that comes along with it.
This way of life also increases your commitment level to the next thing on your list making you so much more enthusiastic about that next challenge.
Embracing my BRAVE life actually restored my enthusiasm for it, even though the concept came about because of incredible loss and sorrow.
I am grateful. I am empowered. I’m also committed to helping others overcome what’s holding them back.
Here’s why you’ll want to be BRAVE with your life!
I look around and I see so many people “living lives of quiet desperation”.
People are moving through their lives completely on autopilot – stuck in a rut and not recognizing the incredible gift they’ve been given – their lives – the breath in their lungs, the power to learn, to grow, to create an impact, to contribute – to love.
And it hurts my heart that:
- People jumping through hoops that are on fire to give their all to jobs they hate.
- People staying in marriages or relationships that are broken, abusive even
- People hoping, wishing and dreaming their lives were different but not taking action.
- People with big dreams, sitting on the sidelines of their own lives paralyzed with fear to take a step forward
I’ve been there. I know what that place is like.
What I’ve learned through this process as I’ve shifted from grief to gratitude to embracing bravery, is that you deserve more in your life than the default settings.
Think back to when you were a kid. Remember the incredible zest for life you felt when you thought about your future. The possibilities were endless. LIFE hadn’t kicked you a few times yet and knocked the enthusiasm out of you.
Take a moment and tap back into THAT kind of Passion. It’s YOUR one life. Embrace it with all the enthusiasm you can muster, the kind someone of enthusiasm someone who was just given a second chance at life would have.
How would that feel? What would you want to do with that time? Wouldn’t you DO the things you’ve always wanted to do? Reach out and SAY the things that are on your heart? Find what you’re passionate about and suck up all the information you can possibly find about it? Spend every moment riveted in conversation with those you love?
I believe we all deserve THAT kind of life. And you deserve that kind of happiness. More joy. More contentment. More love. More success. More excitement and more fulfillment. You deserve ALL of it!
And I believe you can create it for yourself.
Be Brave Enough to Create a Life that is Meaningful for You!
So here’s what I recommend:
- Get excited about getting out of bed in the morning and taking on the day
- Say ‘YES to your goals
- Create visions for your future – the one you WANT for yourself
- Say YES to the crazy wild and audacious dreams – especially those
- Start that business
- Apply for the promotion
- Start volunteering with your passion project
- Become president of the PTA
- Run the marathon, the 5km or make your way around the block for the first time
- Make a difference – big, small, minuscule – doesn’t matter – start with touching one person’s life in a meaningful, rewarding way
- Make Pinterest worthy cupcakes for the bake sale
The point is – actually DO that thing your heart desires.
Time isn’t guaranteed to anyone.
Stop telling yourself next week, when the kids are older, when the timing is better, Monday, the New Year, when you’ve lost the baby weight…
Stop making excuses and start living your life.
I want you to be brave enough to become everything that you were always meant to be. I want you to be courageous enough to un-become anything that doesn’t align with that.
The day Braedon had his first symptom to the day I held his hand while he took his last breath was only five months.
Time is NOT on our side.
When you get to your last day here on earth, my infinite desire for you is that you feel proud of the life you’ve lived and the difference you’ve made in this world.
Until next time, my wish for you: Embrace Your Brave. XO Tiffany
And if you’d like some help with setting up your 100 Brave Things or Creating the Life YOU LOVE, I’d be delighted to chat. Contact me at TIFFANYDAGNEW@GMAIL.COM to schedule your free Embrace Your Brave Strategy Call! It’s fee and obligation FREE.