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3 Steps to Owning Your Inner “BRAVE

 

IMG_4336Being brave is a daily choice. It is about conquering your fear and walking into the unknown. What exactly does being brave mean?

Brave: (adjective) ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage

The truth is that often being BRAVE hurts.

Choosing the BRAVE response is scary.  It makes you want to run off and call in the superheroes.

Some days, no one will ever know that you did anything brave. Some days, you hide from the brave reply and just walk the other way.

For me, this year is about owning my own version of BRAVE. I am in the midst of it. It is not a sprint; it is a marathon. You don't graduate or get a certificate. You often don't get applause or “likes” on your social media post.

Often, BRAVE is silent.

Some days, being brave is about taking action.

Other days, being brave is about waiting and listening and trusting—basically, not taking action, letting people and places and things move along without controlling or manipulating. All of this is easy to write about and talk about but much harder to do

How do you learn to own your inner BRAVE?

 

Here are 3 ways that I have learned to do this. 

 

Brave Step #1: Recognize Your Fear.  I just had a giant fear episode this week, so it is fresh for me. I was on the phone sitting in the parking lot in front of Yogurt Land. I had eaten my little tart yogurt with granola and yogurt chips, and I was on a phone call. I was listening to someone share a part of their life with me. All of a sudden, I felt like a tsunami of fear was rising up to meet me. I felt anxious. I felt like running (emotionally) from the person (even though we were on the phone). I felt as if I could feel every single fear, hurt, warning sign, and piece of baggage from my entire 42 years in that 5-10 minutes. But at least I realized that I was afraid. I actually said to myself after the phone call, “I am afraid. This is what FEAR feels like.”

When I dive in deep, I ask myself....

  • Are you afraid of losing something you think you have?
  • Or, not getting something you think you want?
  • Are you afraid of failing and people finding out?
  • Are you afraid of succeeding and having to maintain at a certain level?
  • Are you afraid of being seen?
  • Are you afraid of being found out?
  • Are you afraid of letting someone into your dark places?
  • Are you afraid of letting go?
  • Are you afraid of the messiness and unpredictable nature of relationships?

Own the feeling. Speak it. Look it in the face.

 

Brave Step #2: Be WillingIMG_6852

Willingness is a challenge. I often don't want to do things. I don't want to feel things. I want to have my own way, control the outcome, change the “game”, or avoid the entire experience because it just looks way too hard. I want someone to rescue me, and I look around and there is no one swooping in. Tonight, I wanted someone to open my salsa jar that I could not get open, and I had to not give up and be willing to keep working on it if I really wanted to eat the salsa.

I have had to learn to be willing to be willing. I have also had to learn how to not get too far down the path into overthinking and overanalyzing, to surrender my endless questions: What if this happens? or What if that happens?

Practice being willing to be willing. This helps the “brave in you” have room to breathe.

 

Brave Step #3: Stand Still

“Standing still” does not come easy to me. I am normally racing to reach a goal of my own making, or scurrying off to get to the next event or jumping on my next phone call with a client. Part of being brave is standing still. Don't run. Don't hide in the bathroom. Don't slither under the bleachers. Don't apologize for being afraid or being strong or being loud or being beautiful. Own your journey. Stand in your own process.

This includes learning to share your feelings, asking for help, and surrendering your need to know the outcome.

Stand still and own your own BRAVE, your inner brave.   Allow yourself to be vulnerable.  Stand on the stage and hold the microphone. Then, sing.

Stay tuned as I share more of my brave journey with you as I do things on my Be Brave List in 2015, including riding in a hot air balloon, singing on a stage, getting my passport renewed (and then using it) and any other BRAVE thing that arises.

 

IMG_6975 (1)Diane Cunningham is the Founder and President of the National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs (NACWE). She is a “business therapist,” plane crash survivor, author of 5 books, consultant, speaker, marathon runner, and fun friend. She is offering a one year Be Brave Today Life Experience for a small group of women.  Find out more about her at www.DianeCunningham.com and discover more about NACWE here: www.nacwe.org. Connect with Diane at www.facebook.com/DianeCunningham for fun updates, silly videos, and lively conversation.

 

21 Days of Being Brave- Day #1 January 11th 2015

BeBraveTodayChalkboard

I am crazy.  I know this and I am willing to accept it and admit.

Because of the "CRAZY" I was bold enough to start this website and the association almost 5 years ago.  I was willing to step out in faith and share my rock bottom story in a book and on YouTube.   Some might see these things as just CRAZY...but I see them as being BRAVE.

This is my year of being BRAVE.  I have a one year Be Brave Today Coaching Program for women and what I am realizing is that I need to capture my own brave journey.  (Want to join me in this journey?  We have room for you but you must take BRAVE action and contact me for your interview)

Thus today is the birth of this 21-Day Blog Series.  I am going to share my brave acts, my bolddecisions, my courageous conversations.  All of it!  (Today is January 11th 2015 for those following along)

Being BRAVE is a mindset.

Being BRAVE is an hourly choice.

Being BRAVE is about real relationships (and even changing your relationship status which was a giant BRAVE action that I took yesterday)

Being BRAVE is about saying YES and saying NO.

Being BRAVE is about your next step and staying in the present instead of trapped in the FEAR of the future or the REGRETS and MISTAKES of the past.

Will you Be BRAVE with me?

Today my BRAVE act was making a commitment to a 21-day Fast that was talked about at my church.  I am giving up something that I normally have daily.  I am also adding things in that I want to start (including this blog).

I can't wait to see what God does over the next 21 days.  Let's do this~~~

Love, D

 

diane-nacwesignDiane Cunningham is the Founder and President of the National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs. She is a “business therapist,” plane crash survivor, author, consultant, speaker, marathon runner, and fun friend. Find out more about NACWE and why 165 women joined in the first year at www.NACWE.org. Connect with Diane at www.facebook.com/DianeCunningham for fun updates, silly videos, and lively conversation.

The Gift of Grace, Entrepreneurship and a Messy Creative Christmas 

This is the season for gifts, and the frenzy is in full force to purchase, decorate, dress up, and run hither and thither as the days get closer and closer to Christmas.

I am doing Christmas in my own way.

  • I am making creative gifts that are very low-cost and high in the “love factor.”
  • My Christmas tree is a giant canvas that I painted (as pictured here).
  • Zander is running amok as a cat should.
  • And I am heading to California to see my family in a few days!

More important to me than all of the hoopla and the tinsel is the reason for the season, my faith, and my Lord Jesus.  I can’t help to view that through the eyes of my business.  I speak often of the fact that I believe that my business is a gift.  This is one of the core messages that I “preach” to my clients and members of the National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs.

I wholeheartedly believe that God has given me the business that I have, the clients I serve, the people on my team, and the platform I hold to share my gifts. I feel that it is my duty and my blessing to accept this gift and use it. I intend to use it, learn from it, honor it, and cherish it.  Whenever I think of doing otherwise, I feel like I would not only be dishonoring my Father but also dismissing the people He has given me. I am NOT willing to do that.

I AM willing to love my gift and show it off to the world.

I AM willing to do all that I can and give it everything that I have.

I AM willing to invest my full heart, mind, and intentions.

I AM willing to accept this gift from God.

This past week, I was sent a Grinch-like message, and it made me pause. I had to check my motives. I had to stop to reflect and pray.  I felt afraid to keep sharing my message for a little while, but I am back.

Today, I choose to continue to be me and pray for those who attack me. I am a mess. I am NOT perfect. I know you aren't, either. That is the miracle of the season. We have the gift of GRACE.

I will celebrate my business this season. I will look back on where I have been over the past year and take inventory. I am looking at my future plans, and I'm excited about the thought of opening the box that says "2015" on it.  I hope you choose to do the same with your gift of a business and the gift of this life.

Be BRAVE my friends!

 

Diane Cunningham | Founder of NACWEDiane Cunningham is the Founder and President of the National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs. She is a “business therapist,” plane crash survivor, author, consultant, speaker, marathon runner, and fun friend. Find out more about NACWE and why 165 women joined in the first year at www.NACWE.org. Connect with Diane at www.facebook.com/DianeCunningham for fun updates, silly videos, and lively conversation.

Speak Your Truth in Business: Using Speaking to Reach Your Ideal Client (Part Two of Two)

 

[NOTE: This article is the second half of a post on speaking. To read part one, click here.]

Knowing where to speak is the first big step. There are opportunities everywhere you look; you just have to learn how to recognize them. There are two main types of speaking opportunities: live events and one-on-one communication.

When seeking out live speaking opportunities, consider conferences, seminars, and trainings. Maybe you could speak at a book launch or open house. There are always people looking for speakers for professional workshops or corporate lunches. Think about your local Chamber of Commerce. Get in contact with leads groups or associations. They could have opportunities for you to speak at networking lunches or online conferences.

One-on-One speaking is about connecting with others on an individual basis. This is about meeting someone else in person and sharing the power of you. Be authentic.  Share your personal story! Authenticity is the answer. God made you unique, and His timing is perfect. Remember, create a friendship, first. Don’t hunt down a client!

Here are a few tips. Get a behind the scenes helper for webinars. Before any speaking engagement, do a practice run. Write talking points to help you stay on track, and just start where you are. Stop trying to be perfect. The best way to become an excellent speaker is to speak, and speak again.

Use this mnemonic device to help you remember the key points of speaking:

SPEAK

What are your next steps? Start by creating your Speaker One Page. Add a speaking tab to your website, and add Speaker to your business cards. Start asking to be the speaker at events. Visit www.nacwe.org/speaking to see an example.

 

diane-nacwesignDiane Cunningham is the Founder and President of the National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs. She is a “business therapist,” plane crash survivor, author, consultant, speaker, marathon runner, and fun friend. Find out more about NACWE and why 165 women joined in the first year at www.NACWE.org. Connect with Diane at www.facebook.com/DianeCunningham for fun updates, silly videos, and lively conversation.

Waiting Out the Storm: A Lesson in Prayer and Patience

tree-164025_640In the storm, the wind rages around me. I cling to His grace.

I come face-to-face with my addictive personality and my controlling nature. I see loud and clear my need to fix things and offer the right answer.

In this moment, I am powerless.

That is always where God needs me to be. . .I just forget sometimes and think that somehow I am running the show. I mistakenly believe that I have a handle on things.

The word for right now is grace.

What does that mean to me? It means that no matter how many times I fall on my face, God still loves me. It means that He already knows that answer. It means that it is not about how I look, how much I accomplish, or what I do. It is not about works. It is not about how much I earn. It is not about my title or my website or my success. It is also not about my failures.

I am waiting. I am in the midst of a very painful life lesson. All I can do is pray. Prayer is the answer. It is my guide. I have done everything else that I can do right now.

I must sit in the discomfort and feel my feelings. I lean into God. I type my prayers, speak my prayers, get on my knees. I pour my prayers out onto this iPad right now.

The waiting feels endless.

I am not good at waiting. I am in the midst of one of the most painful few weeks of waiting that I have ever experienced. I messed up big time. I am praying for mercy. . .for a pass. I am leaning into God for grace.

I am praying for peace, but I am not feeling peaceful. I am seeking answers and resolution. I want to run away from this feeling, but the truth is that I cannot. No amount of booze would wash it down. No amount of food can take it away. I still feel it in my gut, and I still must wait.

Pain is not pretty. It feels like a knife in my gut. A twisting slow turn of the knife. Facing myself over the past days has been a challenge. I want to escape from me. I want to have someone to blame.

Have I learned my lesson? I sure hope so. I don't know what the outcome will be, but I am praying that no matter what it is, I will be strong enough to walk through it. I am praying that God will walk it with me "one day at a time." I am praying for grace and the willingness to surrender my agenda.

I have never been in a situation like the one I am in right now. I have never prayed what I am praying right now.

Dear God, you know what I am praying. You know the answer I want and the current circumstances. You know my feelings and my lack of feelings. You know my heart’s desire and how long I have waited. You know where I am and where I am going. You know my deep aches and secret tears.

I pray for forgiveness and mercy. I pray for wisdom and grace. I pray for Your will to be done.

I ask for your help.

I am yours.

diane-nacwesignDiane Cunningham is the Founder and President of the National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs. She is a “business therapist,” plane crash survivor, author, consultant, speaker, marathon runner, and fun friend. Find out more about NACWE and why 165 women joined in the first year at www.NACWE.org. Connect with Diane at  her Facebook page for fun updates, silly videos, and lively conversation.