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Bravery Is A Muscle: Week In Review

Bravery is a muscle. 

Muscles are not only bulging biceps, twitching delts or popping calves built at the gym… we have emotional and mental muscles, too. And, like those muscles in the gym, they must be worked consistently if we want them to exist. These mental muscles however – in my opinion – can be some of the most challenging to work.

 

Sorry. Gross picture. But I had to.

 

Different people find different things hard or uncomfortable. For me, its putting myself out there and risking rejection. Basically anything that I know risks me feeling uncomfortable or embarrassed. And there’s not much that makes me feel more embarrassed, guilty, or uncomfortable than asking for things or making an offer out of my own accord. Which is ironic as this is basically 98% of the industry I am engulfed in. I always feel so terrified that someone is going to think I am a) annoying b) full of myself c) that they will feel the need to pity me or d) that they think I am doing such thing out of pure selfish-ness. BUT because I know this is such a necessary part of my career,  I know I have to consciously work this muscle of mine and continuously put myself into positions that I do find uncomfortable. Like my dear friend Meg always says, “the more you do it, the easier it will become.” Bravery: just like any other muscle, you’ve got to work it. 

Bravery: A Muscle You've Got to Work. #bravery #mentalstrength #confidence Click To Tweet

Putting out blog posts STILL feels really uncomfortable to me. This is yet another reason I started a blog in the first place – to practice this muscle of putting out my own words, experiences and opinions at the risk of other peoples’ judgements.  Every post, I am uncomfortable with the notion of people not agreeing with what I say, and I feel the pull to sway my opinions to appease others’.  A blog is a safe medium for this and I think it is an excellent way for those of us who share this sensitivity to really practice and strengthen this bravery muscle.

After the agent rejection I had last monday, something funny happened. Instead of getting defeated, its like my determination and stubborness just jumped up 5 notches on the fierce-ometer. I immediately kicked my butt in gear and filled my to do list with things focused on my goals. Things which make me so, SO hella uncomfortable. But I plunged in, risked rejection and discomfort in so many different places, and yes… I did feel uncomfortable, embarrassed and guilty more times than not. But I worked these muscles and have faith that they will start to strengthen.

Meg was also ‘right’ when she started the Week In Review. This week, I’m patting myself on the back for strengthening that bravery muscle of mine. For putting myself out there – knee deep into some uncomfortable feelings – but plowing full steam ahead. 

  • I went back and sent out another round of agent applications, focusing a couple trips to the coffee shop to this purpose. 

bravery

  • Updated my resume and actor website. If you are interested here it is.  That’s terrifying. Oh god. 
  • I went back to my monologue archives and pulled out two to start working on for future auditions. 

bravery

  • Spent time in a studio working on old and new pieces
  • Got back to more frequent meditation to get back to some grounding
  • I applied to a handful of auditions for summer projects, including one that was technically past the submission date. Risk: Appearing annoying and careless and burning a bridge in the theatre world. But…
  • I heard back and got squeezed in to a spot that had opened up. So, I uncomfortably asked to be released from rehearsal so that I could go. Risk? Being told no, being annoying, and feeling guilty for missing. Outcome? I got the release and went to said audition. 

Chilling on the streetcar learning lines 

  • I’m feeling very worried and frustrated about the process of one of the current shows I am working on, so I took it upon myself to transcribe and record some songs and email them out to the cast to practice with. Risk? a) that people would think it was a stupid idea or b) that people would think I thought I was full of myself. But. Whatever
  • I went to a premiere screening of a movie my friend produced as part of Can Film Fest. Risk? Feeling jealous and ashamed of not being on the screen myself. Risk? Feeling uncomfortable for not fitting into this world of glam and glitz and extroversion. Risk? Giving up my comfort of an evening at home alone.

Outcome? All expected feelings. But really enjoyed the movie and the night regardless. 

  • Sent a couple general “this may be really annoying but I’m doing it anyway” emails. 
  • I got a ticket to a play and took myself out on a solo theatre date. 

  • Which included treating myself to the best $4 falafel I’ve ever had. 

bravery

Off to the the-atre in style 

  • I made my first smoothie for the first time in… forever? Risk? wishing I hadn’t strayed from my “usual.”  Outcome? Delicious and nutritious. 

bravery

Kat’s immune boosting smoothie

  • Wrote a post about perseverance after my agent rejection, a day of eats chronicling my increase of boxed foods, and an explanation of my current fears and an encouragement to soften
  • Responded to comments. You are all so brave and so wise. 
  • Tried my hands, one last time, at my shitty second hand waffle maker. Risk? …

bravery

Enough said. 

  • ….and then promptly threw it in the recycling bin. 
  • I had a telephone meeting with a past music collaborator who is back in the city
  • I did some much desired baking therapy

bravery

…but you’ll have to wait until later this week to hear more about that

  • Got in my three weight lifting work outs. It seems my gym log is becoming my biggest confidence booster/cheerleader these days. 

bravery

Oh hey on that note, I’ve gained two pounds since starting this little venture.  So… muscle building is happening all around it seems. 

What mental muscle would you like to strengthen? #weekinreview with @cleaneatsfast… Click To Tweet

Bravery. Its all so uncomfortable. I’m putting myself out there into a deep pool of risk and rejection. But, it is also empowering. I can feel the “who cares what anyone else thinks” muscle building and as long as I keep working it, I hope it will become stronger than its opposing friends. 

So you tell me,

What mental muscle are you/would you like to build? How can you strengthen it more? 

 

 

39 COMMENTS

  1. chasetheredgrape | 26th Mar 17

    Yes for empowerment! Anything worth doing is often so scary and I know when I get uncomfortable, 99% of the time I am so glad I took the jump! And that encourages me to do more and more.
    Well done on your week Cora… And I look forward to checking out your website!

    • Cora | 29th Mar 17

      Jumping into discomfort is like fast forwarding 20 trips to the gym. It immediately makes you THAT much stronger.

  2. Kristy from Southern In Law | 27th Mar 17

    Girl, you have been kicking mental and emotional butt lately!

    I always need to work on saying no more and not always being so afraid of disappointing others. It’s a constant work in progress!
    Kristy from Southern In Law recently posted…Recipe: The Best Paleo Carrot CakeMy Profile

    • Cora | 29th Mar 17

      Ah gosh that is SUCH a hard one. I know it may feel like we are being selfish when we do that, but ultimately we are doing everyone a favor.

  3. Susie @ Suzlyfe | 27th Mar 17

    I’m not sure how to say this without sounding corning, but you are growing so much right now. You are evolving, you are committing, and it is fantastic to see.
    Susie @ Suzlyfe recently posted…Necessary Rest, Necessary Work, It’s Called Balance (Week(end) in Review)My Profile

    • Cora | 29th Mar 17

      I feel utterly crazy. But I think that’s a sneaky sign of growing….

  4. Sarah @ Bucket List Tummy | 27th Mar 17

    You go girl. SO BRAVE. It is like a muscle that we need to constantly test and push ourselves to see results. You have a way with words, my friend. Share those baking delights please!
    Sarah @ Bucket List Tummy recently posted…Burgers, Kayaking, History and Fun in JacksonvilleMy Profile

    • Cora | 29th Mar 17

      Muffins are coming your way shortly. After I flex some more muscles. 🙂

  5. Jamie@TheMomGene | 27th Mar 17

    You have been a BUSY lady! There are always two choices when things get sticky: throw your hands up in the air or push on through. Good for you for choosing the latter. I’m working my “patience” muscle right now. It’s gotten wobbly. It takes almost nothing to set me off. I think I need more sleep and more prayer time. I need to hit the reset button on my filter.
    Jamie@TheMomGene recently posted…“The Happiness Paradox” on Scary MommyMy Profile

    • Cora | 29th Mar 17

      Oh I’m pushing right on through all right. Makes me feel utterly crazy, but, crazy I can embrace. Patience… now THAT is a muscle that we all need to work. Like triceps … god I hate those. I’m sending as many thoughts of sleep and quiet time for prayer that I can. And that you may find that lost little reset button somewhere. I know exactly how this feels.

  6. Kat | 27th Mar 17

    “Bravery: just like any other muscle, you’ve got to work it.”
    Umm, did you read my journal entries last week or something? Totally hit the nail on the head here for me girl. Last week I was REALLY struggling with my confidence and I know that I am not yet done doubting my abilities, talent and self. I overcame last week’s hurdle [an interview that I literally had to force myself to take] and am now awaiting the next step. The suck part? Even though I was APPROACHED for this position, they still might not like my demands/schedule and may say “no” in the end. Dealing with that rejection is going to be the real challenge because I know inside I’m going to want to say, “See Kat? Why did you even try? Just stop now. No more for you.”
    So while I think that working the “bravery muscle” is very important, for me its more so of dealing with the aftermath at this point!
    Kat recently posted…No Bake Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars [Gluten-Free / Vegan]My Profile

    • Cora | 27th Mar 17

      Oh Kat! That IS part of the bravery – dealing with the aftermath and choosing to keep going!! I am SO proud of you for going to that interview – as they will always always come with a boat load of risk. But what is life if we don’t take those risks? You need to focus on what you just told me – you were APPROACHED for this position. That means, no matter the outcome, you are capable and wanted for this position. Like in acting (my everyday struggle – so I hear you) the rest is completely out of your control. If you sense those voices coming up, please please PLEASE give them a sucker punch to the stomach. Or head. If you “stop now” you will never live up to your insanely large potential, and the world neeeeeeeds to see it!

  7. Patricia @Sweet and Strong | 27th Mar 17

    Putting yourself out there really is so hard. But you need to always think of the people, like myself that can relate and enjoy reading how someone else practices bravery. And wow what a busy week. Fingers crossed for you for all the time you’ve put into applications.
    Patricia @Sweet and Strong recently posted…Cherry Blossoms, a Caps game, DC Eats, and other Weekend HighlightsMy Profile

    • Cora | 29th Mar 17

      It always helps me when I see someone else being brave. Even if they don’t see it themselves. Thank you. All the fingers are crossed.

  8. Heather @ Polyglot Jot | 27th Mar 17

    Woah you’re awesome! 😀 I fear the same things and have a hard time putting myself out there! I also fear saying no a lot and over committing myself to things and have learned the past few months the joy in saying no!
    Heather @ Polyglot Jot recently posted…Whirlwind WeekMy Profile

    • Cora | 29th Mar 17

      Agh saying no can be so so so hard. Until we do it… and then we realize how much better of a decision it was. For us, and probably everyone around us, too.

  9. Juli@1000lovelythings | 27th Mar 17

    Awesome post! And I love the energy behind it. And a lot of this is much needed for me right now. I am kinda hiding at the moment and I feel like for no good reason.
    I can relate to the barvery and fear of rejection let’s say paradoxon when it comes to business vs. personal matters. I think even though on a personal level you can feel like the most frightened little chicken and shy away from situations where you can possiby get rejected yet in a professional environment it is a lot easier. I guess for me that’s because on a professional level you can hide behind the business side of things. It’s not you but what you stand for that gets some sort of negative feedback. And it’s easier to rationalize that.
    This weekend I went to a photography workshop and it was like my personal nightmare. The workshop was super cool but they made us approach total strangers in one of the busiest spots in Munich and ask them if it was okay to take their picture. I kinda died a little but then when I was brave enough to finally do it it wasn’t that bad at all. I though nobody would agree but in fact nobody said no. Lesson learned: don’t be such a chicken. you never know if you won’t be pleasently surprised by people. I am pretty sure I will never do that again nonetheless ;-P
    Juli@1000lovelythings recently posted…Week in Review – The Bouncy and Happy OneMy Profile

    • Cora | 29th Mar 17

      Whoooaaaa. Okay that would have TERRIFIED me. I’d be so scared of them rejecting me and making them uncomfortable. But obviously that would have just been in my/our own heads. I am SO happy you did this workshop, and that these people totally proved our fears wrong (way to go random Munich people!!). Haha I think you can say you did your time, though. And your statements about business vs personal? Spot on. Its when our personal vulnerabilities are put front and centre that we want to crawl into a shell and hide forever.

  10. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets | 27th Mar 17

    Actions speak louder than words and look at you, putting your money where your mouth is. You have so got this, and I’m incredibly proud of how brave you are, even with this post. I love seeing your actors website. Your eyes are gorgeous. So much beaming blue.

    On a side note, I need some of those muffins. I’m kind of on a bender.

    Happy Monday Sunshine! Have a great week. Go kick some ass, proverbial of course. 😉
    Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets recently posted…Week in Review: The Tiny Human Takes Over (#76)My Profile

    • Cora | 29th Mar 17

      Thank you, Meg. You’re just the best.

  11. Emily Swanson | 27th Mar 17

    I love you. I am constantly amazed at how you flex that bravery muscle in putting yourself out there on the blog; I am not nearly as brave as you when it comes to that. I think I’ve been learning courage in other ways; God has been teaching me so much about trusting Him even when things seem really terrifying (which some weeks feels like ALL WEEK LONG!) I love how you get out there into the acting world; it always seems too scary to me. There’s so much art and finesse that has to go into it, and this girl ain’t got very much finesse. O_O
    Emily Swanson recently posted…Guest Post: Why Healthy Looks Good On You!My Profile

    • Cora | 29th Mar 17

      I disagree. I think you are incredibly brave. You bring your own story and vulnerabilities AND put yourself out there to help so many others. That is very brave, my dear friend. And very finesse-full.

  12. Casey the College Celiac | 27th Mar 17

    Mental muscles I need to build include:
    – Learning to be comfortable doing nothing. Relaxing does not come easily with me.
    – Eating more to my appetite instead of the clock.
    – Embracing the fact that I’m going to be scared, lost and lonely when I (most likely) go to an entirely new state to go to grad school in three months (details to be shared soon!)…but that God is sending me there for a reason!

    PS – that baking therapy looks INSANELY delicious!
    Casey the College Celiac recently posted…Diet Food to GF Delicacy: Rice Cakes Four Ways (Gluten Free, Vegan)My Profile

    • Cora | 29th Mar 17

      Ughhhhhhh your number one is like…. my triceps… or abs. The ones I HATE working because they are so damn weak. I’m so bad at this one. Especially right now.

      ….does this mean there has been a school decision made, lady? I need DETAILS. It is going to be scary. Of course it is!!! But how many ridiculously scary things have you done in the past year alone? You’ve got this like no other. And when you are lonely – because yes that will happen, too – you shoot me an email/text/call or anything you need.

  13. Ellie Pell | 27th Mar 17

    As we talked yesterday, I think we broke some ground. I am really relieved to read this post Cora. I am so happy to be part of something that is bringing you success and joy 🙂 Go get it!
    Ellie Pell recently posted…My Favorite Products For Spring 2017My Profile

    • Cora | 29th Mar 17

      I think we did, too. Our conversations are helping me so much.

  14. Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table | 27th Mar 17

    It seems like a lot of people are working on mental muscles lately, myself included. Maybe it’s mental spring cleaning? It’s so not fun… especially if you’re a stubborn ass like I am. HAHA! But, if we don’t grow we stagnate. So here goes the misery. 😛
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…Healthy Applesauce Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting [Recipe]My Profile

    • Cora | 30th Mar 17

      Hahaha. Oh I am RIGHT there with you. It sucks. Its hard. But we’re going to kick ass.

  15. danielle | 28th Mar 17

    patience, patience, patience!!! i’ll forever be working on this one 🙂
    danielle recently posted…WIR sleep less play moreMy Profile

    • Cora | 30th Mar 17

      Oh lord do I know it……..

  16. Cindy | 28th Mar 17

    Love your posts. Truly.
    I have the exact same blue-lidded plastic container that I always use for my yogurt, almond butter, and banana. Looks IDENTICAL to yours!
    And where on earth did you find a $4 falafel in Toronto?! I need to enjoy one before I head home to Waterloo. Is there anything better than a crispy, creamy, saucy, delicious falafel? Few things.
    Loving the baking therapy <3
    Cindy recently posted…Holy CannoliMy Profile

    • Cora | 30th Mar 17

      Haha good old ziplock – does the trick! Falafel is the cheapest thing you can get in Toronto!! There’s a place right by me (by the distillery district) that has them for $4 – 1-2$ cheaper than anywhere else. Its FAB.

  17. Miss Polkadot | 28th Mar 17

    Do you rock or do you rock?! Dangit, lady, you’ve really been working out that bravery muscle lately. Where do I sign up for personal training sessions with you? Because I will admit I direly need them. The lack of posts on my blog is a sign of what you described blogging meant to us worried about ‘failing’/rejection. The drafts have been sitting for months but yet to see the light of the blog world. The whole job issue – sometimes I wonder if I as an introvert chose the right field though obviously knowing writing is my passion – isn’t going better, either. Fingers crossed for your applications!
    And your website? I immediately clicked the link while still at work so couldn’t spend much time on it but I’m already super impressed and can’t wait to look into it further. Thank you for ‘daring’ to share the link with us!
    On a side note that picture wasn’t gross to me at all. Let’s say I’ve seen far worse as part of my current job ;).

    • Cora | 30th Mar 17

      Do you find writing for the blog helps in that area of fear to get your words out there? Girl I would so love to see all those drafts peek their heads out into the world. You are a beautiful writer. What if you took a little step into the scary deep end and throw yourself – and your words – out there. You have so much to offer.

  18. Hannah | 28th Mar 17

    Oh yes – putting out blog posts is still uncomfortable for me too. I’ve found it makes me hyper-aware of how everything I write – even innocuous-seeming posts like link roundups – carries my preferences and opinions out into the world. But then that is kind of a major purpose of communication, isn’t it?

    • Cora | 30th Mar 17

      It absolutely is. And vulnerability is the greatest form of connection. Which is what we all crave, no? I think this is why blogging can be a good way to practice this – and then we can bring it into the real world.

  19. Joyce @ The Hungry Caterpillar | 29th Mar 17

    Okay, so first things first: “fierce-ometer” is a fantastic word. Your sass makes me happy every time I read this blog.
    Second, I really appreciate your approach to this post–how you acknowledge the “risks,” real or perceived in each decision that we make. And I especially appreciate what you said about the film screening thing, that the risks are real and sometimes they manifest themselves–we do sometimes feel uncomfortable or get rejected–but often the thing was worth it anyway. Love that you’re working on those body muscles and those brain muscles. (The latter are definitely harder than the former.)
    Joyce @ The Hungry Caterpillar recently posted…Week in Review: 10 AccomplishmentsMy Profile

    • Cora | 30th Mar 17

      Oh yeah for sassssssss. You’re pretty high up on the fierce-ometer too, m’lady. Thank you for picking up on those things. I think it is important to realize/accept/admit that – yes – we often do feel all the crappy things we were scared of feeling. BUT. That we survived them, and are probably stronger now from experiencing them.

  20. Week In Review: Time to Slow Down, Rest, Restore | 3rd Apr 17

    […] a way that you feel proud, and pushing yourself a bit too far.  For instance last week’s Week In Review – I regret none of it. I feel so proud of all the ways I am pushing myself to get out […]

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