“Fortune favors the brave.”

” I don’t know if I should ask him out instead! I mean he’s definitely going to ask eventually, so should I just wait?”
“Oh lord, JUST GO FOR IT. Fortune favors the brave!”

My sister T is a amazing person, for a million reasons and then a million and one more. She’s headstrong, opinionated, sarcastic, direct and always, always right. She’s also one of the few people I know who genuinely dislikes and does not attract drama in her life, looking at things pragmatically and honestly before making decisions. I’ll always go to her for advice when I know I’m being overly dramatic or over-analytical, because her advice always boils down to this:

  • Assess the situation: is this something you can change?
  • If NO: Well then deal with it.
  • If YES: Well then change it.

A few months back, after exchanging numbers with a new friend she masterfully wingman-ed for me while visiting NYC, I was frantically texting her about what to do.  I could practically feel her rolling her eyes as she read my desperate pleas for advice about when to text him (“but I can’t respond right away because I don’t want to seem too eager!” “you an are idiot, don’t just sit on a response if you’re enjoying the conversation”), what to say (“Ugh, he probably thinks whatever I said was so dumb,” “Well so do I, why do you need to tell everyone about your intense relationship with wine?”), and then the big one: should I wait for him to make the move and initiate actual date plans? Or should I bite the bullet and ask him myself, taking a chance that I wasn’t the only one enjoying our playful banter. She finally pushed me with the text above: “Just do it! Fortune favors the brave!”

My two professional mottos.

My two professional mottos.

That quote has been on my mind a lot ever since she said that, doodled in notebooks during staff meetings and even hanging over my desk at work. It’s gone beyond that situation and permeated into everything I’ve been doing in recent days: talking to strangers, trying new exercise things, standing up for myself at work. For most of my life I’ve dealt with a semi-crippling self-conscious attitude, worrying about what strangers think of me, friends, coworkers. I’ve censored certain aspects of my personal style, not wanting to take too much of a fashion risk, overthought sentences and tripped over my carefully-planned words, and scenario-planned for pretty much every aspect of my life that could somehow lead to embarrassment or anxiety. Essentially, for a long time, I was not a brave person.

It’s not easy to bring small bits of bravery into tiny acts in life, like standing up in a brainstorm to make yourself heard or going sleeveless for the first time in the office since getting a tattoo on your arm. It’s even more difficult to take these tiny steps of bravery when you’re on your own, only turning to yourself and your instincts for guidance and clarity. I’m still a self-conscious person and still question most things I do, but more and more frequently lately I’ll find myself saying the phrase out loud, a constant reminder that there’s only so much to lose from taking a chance, and eventually there might be so much to gain.

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