An Ode To Childhood Bravery
Like most of us, the start of a new year always gets me thinking about what I want to achieve during the 365 days ahead. I love doing this because I always get excited about what could happen, but I’ve also realized that a load of stuff on my list doesn’t ever happen. Not such a big revelation, but one that has got me thinking about the reasons behind my inaction.
I know it’s nothing to do with my organizational skills, as these are definitely my strong points. And I know that new year resolutions are just rubbish in general – only 8% of us actually achieve them after all! But aside from all that, what I’ve come to realise is that where I get caught up is my fear.
Fear of being seen. Fear of not being seen. Fear of failure. Fear of judgement. Fear of acting. Fear of doing nothing.
We’re all scared of something, but what intrigues me is at what point we start to avoid situations and actions because we’re too scared of a potential outcome. Does it slowly build up during our childhood as we’re constantly reminded to ‘be careful’ and told ‘don’t do that’? Or is it during our teenage years, when other people’s opinions seem more important than ever?
Since I had my 2.5 year old daughter
I’ve been hyper aware of the words I use around her. I’m determined to help her grow up without the anxiety I’ve struggled with for most of my life, so I try hard to take a step back and smile and encourage when she takes risks, even if I just want to wrap her in cotton wool. She’s one of the bravest people I know, and not in a daring throw-yourself-down-the-slide-head-first sort of way. She’s brave socially, which is sometimes the hardest way to be brave.
On a family holiday earlier this year I watched as my lovely only child headed into a play area and made eye contact with two older girls playing. She laughed and smiled at them, joining in with their game without being invited. She ran around with them squealing, no idea what the rules were and not caring if they were miffed by this bonkers little person who had thrown herself into their world.
Did she feel those nervous little butterflies but decide to do it anyway? Or is she too young to feel nervous to begin with? Who knows. The point is, she approached a situation most of us would find terrifying – going up to complete strangers to join in – and threw herself in headfirst. Childhood bravery is a wonderful thing, and I’m in no rush for Isobel to lose hers.
But what would it mean to us as adults if we could hold on to that childhood bravery?
What would it mean for our relationships? For us as mothers? For our business?
For me, it would mean I’d stop being so scared of putting myself out there for fear or what people might think. It would mean making connections with people instead of being too embarrassed to try. It would mean starting that book I’ve had in the back of my mind for years, instead of dismissing it as a failure before I’d even begun.
What would keeping your childhood bravery mean to you and your business?