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How To Be Brave?

Have you ever found yourself wanting to be brave in a moment? Did you ever wish you could feel a little stronger when you’re walking into a room of people you don’t know, or showing up at a job interview? Ever wanted to stand up to someone at work, or speak your mind to a family member? Even something as seemingly little as meeting a personal trainer or going to a new gym class might require a bit of bravery.


Bravery is the feeling you get just before you face something you fear. It seems like it is natural for some people. I used to think that some people had it and others didn’t. But as I grew up, I noticed that it’s a skill that can be developed. It’s an emotion, a feeling that you can summon in a moment, once you know how to give yourself the edge to face something that challenges you.

Bravery is something you can learn

How do you get there, though? It can seem such a long way away sometimes. To get anywhere you first must know where you are. When a pilot is flying a plane to Fiji, there is complex navigation gear to help them to find the way as directly as possible. Imagine if the navigation system were being replaced by a simple compass. Think of how much that would change things. The smallest degree off course would make a massive difference in where the plane would land. Not just a few meters, but maybe hundreds of kilometers off course. The same thing can happen with us.

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Our unconscious mind is a very complex navigation system that helps us get where and what we want. It follows very specific rules to make that happen, and if you don’t know what they are, it can sometimes be the difference between getting what you want and not getting what you want. Between being brave in a moment and not being brave in a moment.


The first thing you need to know is where are you on your map. Let’s say you are in Melbourne at the airport and need to get to Bourke Street. You open Google Maps and the app will ask where you are. You can’t write in Melbourne, you have to be specific. The more specific you can be the better and more accurate the directions will be. The same happens for anything we are facing. If you are shy and want to meet people, it helps to know where you are, without judgement – just the facts. Then you can start planning how to get from where you are to where you want to be.

The first step is to know where you are

Once you know where you are, you must figure out where you want to go. Maybe you are shy and want to start meeting people or start dating. Maybe you don’t have a job and want to get a job. Be specific. Create a picture. Every thought creates a picture and our unconscious mind is a picture-based navigation system. It uses the pictures that you create (usually faster than you know that you are making them) to help you make your moves.

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Make the picture what you want, not what you don’t want. Your unconscious mind cannot create a ‘not’ picture. For example, when a parent or adult says to a child ‘don’t spill the milk,’ what usually happens straight away? The child spills the milk and the adult gets frustrated as the child has just done what they were trying to prevent. Our words count when we are creating a picture. What happens in this example is that when we say ‘don’t spill the milk’ the unconscious mind first creates a picture of the milk, then of the milk spilling before it can create the ‘not spilling the milk’ picture. By the time the final picture is created the milk is spilt. The unconscious mind wants to get us what we want, remember. It wants to make the pictures you are creating real! 


So, when you are working out where you are on your map and where you want to go, create a positive picture: ‘I want to be standing in a room with people I’ve yet to meet, then walking up to the first person I see and introducing myself.’ This is a clear, positive picture. You can easily imagine it happening. An example of a picture you don’t want to create is: ‘I want to be standing in the room and not be scared of people.’ Because your unconscious mind doesn’t create negatives it will create the picture of ‘I want to be standing in a room being scared of people’ before it can create the opposite picture of not being scared. What picture do you want to see? What’s preventing you from doing that?



What people are saying about Emotion Academy:

"After many years of training, courses, and counselling in various forms I thought I had certain aspects of my life sorted. Yet completing Emotion Academy showed me that I had been running away from my emotions and not facing them. After Emotion Academy, now I have the tools to engage with myself and win the internal battles once and for all - Neil Welsh, Victoria

Since we are creating pictures with every thought, be careful of the pictures you create. Be careful of the thoughts you create. Are you always thinking that you’re not good enough, not smart enough, not confident enough? Maybe prior to going to an interview, you remember a time you went to an interview and failed. These thoughts are not going to help you. It’s good to know that they are there, but you must let them go and focus on what you can do. You can go and do your best. You can learn from your past attempts and give it another go. 


Google can’t teach you to walk


Everything we do now started with us not knowing what to do. It was easier when we were younger though, because we didn’t have so many reference points of things not going as we’d like them to. When we were learning to walk, at about 1 year old, we wobbled and fell over, but instead of stopping and doing years of research on Google, we got up and tried it again. We had another go. Every time we added more and more reference points, more and more examples of how our muscles felt, how we moved, what worked and what didn’t. We didn’t overthink it. We just got up and did it, again and again until we didn’t even need to think about it anymore. Now, we can walk without thinking about it, because we learnt through action. Through doing it. 



Perfectionism slows us down. As we grow up we worry more and more about doing something wrong, about being embarrassed or letting someone down. We create an impossible picture that makes it harder for us to achieve, not easier, and this gives us an excuse to quit. A reason to stay right where we are. Action is the remedy for perfectionism – just getting up and going for it again. Take the first step. 



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Melisa Grigg - Head Coach & Trainer

Melisa was stuck in sadness for 15 years, hated her job, was overweight and her relationship had just ended. Melisa inspires people with her story and now teaches how she sorted her life out. She worked out how to be happy and how to lose over 30kg of body weight.  In simple steps she teaches how you can stop procrastinating, find confidence, stop being so sad and finally start to find true meaning and purpose in your life.

There’s a trick to being brave that I use all the time. Whatever I have to do, I act as if I’ve done it before. I imagine: What would it be like if I had been here before and done this 1000 times? How would I stand? What would I think? How would I start? And then I can do it. I used this trick when I was shy and wanted to meet people. Before I walked into a party, I would imagine my best self, and imagine that I had done this many, many times before. I’d create such a clear picture with me in it that when I opened the door and walked in I was brave enough and confident enough to walk up to someone and say hello. Nothing big – just get started. The first action leads to the next and the next. 


Your memory is a useful tool for bravery


I’d remember all the times that I had faced a challenge and been brave. I wrote them down. Little things like getting through my first day of school, learning to ride my bike, learning to drive a car. These might seem like silly things for an adult to feel good about, however, they are like bricks in the building of our courage wall, of our bravery. I imagine that each brave moment is like a brick in the wall and that wall gets stronger and stronger and sits behind my back keeping me standing and facing the challenges and the things I want to learn. When I started writing them down, I realised that there were more brave or courageous moments than I initially thought. When I felt less than brave I’d get the list out, add to it, read it, and realise that feeling brave is an emotion I had felt before, and that if I had felt it before I could feel it again.


Our unconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between what it thinks and what we see, hear, smell, touch and taste. By thinking of myself in a moment of feeling brave, of remembering a time when I felt brave, I could summon the feeling and feel it again in the moment. I could then take the first step in the situation I was facing. If I was going to a job interview, I’d sit in my car before the interview and I’d imagine I’d been here and done this a hundred times before. I would imagine a time I had felt brave and put myself in that memory, in the moment of feeling brave, and experience the feeling flow through me. Then, I’d open my eyes, step out of the car, and walk into the interview. The more I did this the better I got at it, and the quicker I was able to feel brave. Now, it only takes me a moment to stop and feel brave. It’s almost automatic – like walking. The more you experience the brave feeling, the easier it will be to be brave. Just get started. 


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