I like watching people do brave things! It’s inspiring and I like studying their behaviour, in the hope of finding things I can use in the moments when my courage waivers.
I’ve been to a lot of stand up comedy events recently, we can all agree that standing up, talking about yourself and hoping to make people laugh is incredibly brave. One comedian had a rough time because the venue was small, and almost half the audience were on a works night out. They were young, drunk and just wanted to talk to each other.
The comedian tried a few tactics to keep control of the audience, he involved them first of all, let them share some of their ‘witty’ comments, in the hope that would be the end of it. Unfortunately, the group were beyond his soft methods and upon being rude to him, he returned with some feedback on how he was experiencing their behaviour.
What was interesting to observe was how the comedian apologised straight after, said he didn’t want to do say mean things, but he was scared, it was the equivalent of being a squid squirting ink. His vulnerability is what made him so brave.
It’s not just comedians I watch for tips… The documentary Free Solo is about Alex Honnold; a professional rock climber and his attempt to conquer the first free solo climb of famed El Capitan's 900-metre vertical rock face. He takes bravery to the next level and the film is hard to watch as you see Alex scale seemingly impossible terrain with no ropes. One false move and... Oh I can’t say it.
He had one attempt at the climb but called it off because he couldn’t do it with all of the camera crew (and now friends) around him. Climbing was something he did for himself, an activity which made him really present and having other people witness that was at least initially, a struggle.
I can relate to Alex; when I’m my most vulnerable I tend to distance myself from others. It’s not that I put a brave face on things, it’s more that I’m lacking the courage to be seen in that vulnerable state, and it’s something for me to reflect on to improve my relationships.
I messaged that comedian after the gig. He’d been amazing, incredibly funny despite the crowd, and he’d opened up to us more than he’d rehearsed. I reflected on why I was so touched by his performance and Brené Brown (as she so often does) words it perfectly;
Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.
If you haven't already, you really should read Brené Brown's Daring Greatly.
If you're looking for new ways to be brave, why not stand up and learn to train as a Yoga teacher?
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Photo by Jonathan Jones.
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Thank you, Rosie Pose x