“Bravery. It’s what defines us.” – Unknown

As we continue our series, Walking through the Storm with Confidence, I have a question for you:

On a bravery scale of 1-10, where would you rank yourself?

Early Belief System

Sadly, using that same bravery scale, there was a time in my life when I would have ranked myself a -100.

As a young child growing up in the turbulent ‘60s, I experienced the frightening Cuban Missile Crisis; while America was on the brink of a nuclear war. Tragically, I also witnessed the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK.

It was a tough decade for America.

Consequently, my belief system was formed at an early age; life is very scary. It is not a shock that I had anxiety attacks and lived in fear most of my life.

In addition to that, I erroneously believed that bravery was something you were either born with or you weren’t, and; I was not.

That fear showed me how to stay and hide in my comfort zone where I felt safe. If you are hiding in your comfort zone, you don’t have to any longer, there is good news.

Good News

The good news is; bravery is NOT a strength favorably dispensed like an IV to some and ruthlessly withheld from others.

No, bravery is a trait you already possess.

This is encouraging regardless of where you fall on the bravery scale. Bravery is a character strength that all of us possess to varying degrees. According to the VIA Institute, bravery falls under the virtue category of Courage, which is an emotional strength.

Why be Brave?

We are a long way from the turbulent ‘60s but no one can deny that we are living in uncertain times. This makes utilizing your bravery strength even more important to your success and wellbeing.

Bravery is a coveted trait and those who activate it face challenges, threats, and difficulties with greater confidence than those who don’t.

Positive Psychology expert, Martin Seligman, identifies bravery/courage as a factor of strength in his positive psychology model, and courage is widely identified as a healing component in clinical psychology.

More specifically, individuals who performed acts of heroism and bravery are more likely to be self-confident, be more resilient, have a greater sense of humor, and excel in leadership.


According to an Oxford study in 2017, research indicates that the presence of physical courage or bravery is linked to increased resilience, decreased PTSD-related symptomatology, and greater feelings of personal competence.

Research conducted by Psychologist Stanley Rachman found a strong correlation between self-confidence and fear: The more self-confident you are, the less fear you will experience.

Framework to Activate Bravery

That being said, Rachman went on to say that one can be trained to be more courageous by boosting self-confidence in one’s capacity.

That means that bravery is a strength that can be activated. Think in terms of activating bravery as starting a new habit, a practice, a skill that you can intentionally develop and learn.

How can you start flexing this strength muscle?  The first step is to expand your comfort zone.

Expand your Comfort Zone

Do you know what the primary purpose of your brain is? Your brain’s primary purpose is to keep you safe; it’s survival.

When people tell you to leave your comfort zone, they are putting you in a compromised situation where you are fighting against your brain.

Leaving your comfort zone goes against the way your brain is wired. That explains why change is so difficult and why we don’t want to leave our comfort zone; your brain wants to keep you safe.

How do we solve this paradox between staying safe and growing in bravery?

Trick your brain by reframing the word leaving to expanding.

Think in terms of expanding versus leaving. Expanding equates to growth whereas leaving in implies finality.

Your brain feels much safer when you expand something than when you leave it.

When you expand your comfort zone, you still maintain a solid foundation from which to feel safe, but you also grow in areas such as courage, strength, and confidence by this expansion process.

Power Zone

When you learn how to activate and maximize your strengths, you build a power zone for yourself. Your comfort zone is no longer a small protected hiding place; you have turned it into your power zone where you can live in greater freedom, fulfillment, purpose, and power.

This gives you a much more solid base to stand on and in turn, you learn to trust yourself; boosting confidence.

Be Strategic to Activate Bravery

Warning; don’t confuse recklessness with bravery. That’s not being brave, that’s being irresponsible.

Be strategic.

Start becoming aware of opportunities you have to flex your bravery muscle. Listen to your gut. When you feel a little wince or a cringe, what is it telling you? Is it something you have been avoiding?

  • Try Something New
  • Have the Difficult Conversation that You’ve Been Dodging
  • Take Steps to Start the Career You’ve Been Dreaming of

Hopefully, you’ve gleaned some information that will help you move the needle closer to a 10 on your bravery scale.

Activating bravery will help you face any storm with greater confidence and boldness.

At the end of the day, heed the words of Winnie the Pooh,

You are braver than you believe,

Stronger than what you seem,

And smarter than you think

At the end of the day, heed the words of Winnie the Pooh,

You are braver than you believe,

Stronger than what you seem,

And smarter than you think

Be brave,


Always remember – Nothing is Impossible

Crisis Kit

I have created this anti-anxiety and anti-stress tool kit, proven by science, to help you reduce anxiety and stress. I guarantee you that if you implement some of these ideas and use these tools; you will navigate this uncertainty boat like a highly skilled Captain.

Rita Hudgens
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