Here’s the thing.  It’s hard to be vulnerable.

There.  I said it.  Because I needed to say it out loud.

It’s one thing to read about it, listen to speakers describe the importance of it, and to talk about it with friends over a cup of coffee.  Yet, it’s a completely different thing to live it out.

At the very first Exchange, we discussed Brene Brown’s “Power of Vulnerability” Ted Talk.   This idea wasn’t new to me, but it was the first time I REALLY processed it personally. It was then that I learned that “authenticity is the DAILY practice of letting go of who I thought I was “supposed to be” and embracing who I was created to be”.

Everything in me craved that kind of living.

You see, I come from a long line of high achievers and excelling was status quo.  Hair, makeup and dress was paramount. Performance and appearance was highly valued.  It was what was expected. It was what I knew.  But what I also knew, was that I craved approval and acceptance EVEN MORE.

Brene shares that, “Most people believe vulnerability is weakness. But really, vulnerability is courage.  We must ask ourselves… are we willing to show up and be seen?”

It has been almost two years since that first Exchange, and I have battled serious insecurities along the way. It is not easy putting yourself out there. Each month, I have gradually allowed more of myself to be seen.  Truly seen.  Imperfections and all. I have shared parts of me, even though I feared that I would potentially risk losing what I desired the most – approval and acceptance.

Fear would find a way to creep in. A BIG FAT LONG list of “what ifs?” circled my thoughts.  What if they never come back? What if they don’t like me? What if I can’t handle the criticism? What if I let everyone down? What if The Exchange fails? What if I fail?

I have found myself at a crossroads. I can choose to walk in my fear. Or I can choose to walk in my purpose; in who I was created to be.

Without fear there cannot be courage.

COURAGE.  That very word stirs something up in me.  COURAGE originally meant to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.

Brene expounds… “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen. You can choose courage or comfort but you cannot choose both.”

And as one that longs for approval and acceptance, I have found myself continuously choosing comfort. And I have decided that it’s time for me to CHOOSE COURAGE instead.

Over the last ten or so years, I have been asked to write a book or a blog more times than I can count. And my response has always been the same.  First I laugh.  Then I mumble, “No one wants to hear what I have to say!”  And with each reply, I have chosen comfort.

Ralph Waldo Emerson says “What you are afraid to do is a clear indication of the next thing you need to do.”

I know I don’t have all the answers.  But I do know what I need to do next. So this is me.  Choosing courage over comfort.  Attempting a blog.  Speaking my mind by telling all of my heart. Walking what I talk and practicing what I preach. I want to be surrounded by a group of AUTHENTIC, COURAGEOUS women.  Living in their purpose and not in their fears. Women that aren’t afraid of being fully seen.  Women that are brave enough to show up and be real.

So, I am stepping out of my comfort zone and going first.  Today, I am choosing COURAGE. Who’s with me?