(3 minute read.)
On reading Emily Biasotto’s guest blog, Rebecca Jennings was inspired by “such a wise young woman.” She was inspired to reflect on the same questions that Emily did: What do you think of when you think of courage? What immediately comes to mind?
Today, Rebecca is our guest blogger, sharing with us her reflections, her vulnerability, her strength and her courage. I hope you are as moved and inspired by “another wise young woman” as I am. It is a privilege and honour to publish this writing.
In Rebecca Jennings own words …
What do think of when you think of courage? What immediately comes to mind?
I got my first tattoo when I was 32 — ‘be brave.’ The small (but important) reminder is on the inside of my right wrist; my leading hand, in my handwriting. Now, I’m not telling you this to sound like a bad-ass (I don’t, and I’m not), nor am I saying it because it took courage for me to get one.
I’m also well aware of the rather permanent clichéI now have, but let me explain …
I don’t consider myself an overly courageous person, but I do reflect on moments when I have stepped out of my comfort zone and I have been thoroughly rewarded. Of course, this is in hindsight, at the time (and still today) I am petrified.
Perhaps the first courageous act I have taken was moving. No, not moving out of home, nor moving away from home, but moving away, alone.
As part of my work I agreed to take an international assignment in Hong Kong. Previously I had not moved further than 170kms from my home town in country Victoria, and given the size of Australia this means I didn’t even cross the state border. I had also not yet lived alone, always having a trusty housemate (or two) at hand, not dissimilar to how a child might carry a comforter. So, moving to a foreign-city (one I had visited perhaps twice before), to live alone was a BIG DEAL.
Now, when I say that I agreed I should actually say that it was my idea. Although I was in a role where I needed to be more available/accessible to my Asia-Pacific business partners (and there was a clear preference from my manager to be so), I was never coerced, rather my subconscious knew I needed to move away for personal reasons.
Perhaps unsurprisingly a remarkable thing happened during my assignment. Of course my relationships with my business partners strengthened, and my love for another city grew (I remain consistently torn as to whether I would prefer to be in Melbourne or Hong Kong at any given time throughout the year), but more importantly, I healed.
I learnt more about my character, my values, my needs and my resilience. I found an appreciation for this person — this me — WITHOUT validation or confirmation through others.
Since returning from Hong Kong, I have made more thoughtful choices in my dedication towards my development, both at work and personally. My calendar is a well-oiled machine that allows me to take time for myself, my hobbies, friends and family alongside my work. I moved to a 4-day working week in 2017 to get some ‘balance’ back and during this time made another important discovery; my career, my job — although having rewarded me both financially and mentally for some time — no longer contained opportunities that motivated me. By the end of 2017 I had applied for and been accepted for sabbatical leave in 2018.
So here, I sit, middle of the day on a Monday… apologies, it’s a Tuesday, petrified. What if I’m not good enough? Will I be able to do what I really want to do? Will I have the conviction to start somewhere that might be no where at all? Will I even be motivated to start? Wouldn’t it just be easier to go back? Pick-up where I left off …
The answers to these questions vary day-to-day. My bank balance reminds me that sacrifices will need to be made, but my leading hand reminds me to be brave, and in writing this I am strong, full of willpower and positivity.
So yes, my tattoo is a cliché. But it is an important reminder that each time you are faced with a circumstance that may allow you to discover something more about yourself, that you show courage in these decisions most of all.
Yes, there is probably a risk (to your ego). Yes, there will likely be pain (financially), but try to be assured that it will not be a failure if you acted on a path towards discovering your authentic self.
(For the record, Rebecca has a single-heart ‘reminder’ on her non-dominant wrist and also considers this another small and important cliché.)
Rebecca Jennings is one of the interviewees of our courage series. Make sure that you come back to read more about Rebecca’s perspectives on courage when her interview is published here next week, on June 20th.
She is also a freelance writer and can be contacted here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebjen21/