☑️ #AtoZChallenge: E is for Everyday Guide to Bravery

photo credit: First order stromtroop via photopin (license)


ESo, you’d normally see a guest post in this space here, midweek. Sometimes, that doesn’t work out. When your blog’s page authority registers at just 54, and your favorite baseball team is 1-1 with 16 runs scored (and 16 runs allowed), the universe asks you to sit down and take a number.

No gripes, though.

It’s in those spaces of forced improvisation that revolutionary ideas gain traction, or at least decent facsimiles of such. My friend Deb (of Deb Runs) poses a weekly challenge, Wednesday Word. Of all days, it falls on Wednesday, in the midst of the A to Z Challenge.

What are the chances Deb’s word would begin with E today?

By my calculations, it’s roughly 1 in 23,091,432. Again, I’ll work with the forced improv. Today, then, for the letter E … I present to you your guide to Everyday Bravery.

Believe it.

Want to see my credentials? They’re not impressive.

That’s easy, right?

Right now I’m the cheese-whiz motivational speaker in the Holiday Inn. “You can be brave. You can too! Yes, you …” Want to see my credentials? They’re not impressive. They’re life-earned, not granted with prestige. No Purple Hearts, no George Awards.

I’ll get no invitations to give a TED Talk or even a FRED Talk on my brand of bravery.

The struggle is real, though, and it’s not exclusively mine. Bravery’s the main ingredient, yes, for facing a day of dialysis or chemo. Bravery plays a prominent role when you’re waiting for a doctor’s diagnosis or college acceptance letter.

Bravery’s an asset when your team loses a championship.

It’s especially so to show up for work when that loss comes on a last-second shot. Argue if you must about degrees of bravery necessary, but they all come from the same jar. Some just require an extra scoop.

Fake it.

Be brave. If you’re not brave, pretend. No one can tell the difference.

Goalkeepers on my teams know this quote. It’s my last rites given when circumstance hurls them between the pipes, armed only with Mickey Mouse gloves, a stinky but brightly colored mesh vest, and this folksy advice. It works, though.

Who among us isn’t drop-kicked into goalkeeper duty?

I mean this metaphorically – although, as any parent in that stage off toddler parenthood when your crawling army tank wants to traverse every staircase and clear every bookcase, you’ve developed some workable skill naturally.

Get up and do it again.

Sometimes, bravery is cramming yourself into a cave crevice and lying real still and trying not to piss yourself so you won’t get roasted.

Who’s watching?

Maybe no one is. In that case, the display of bravery – or decent rendition of – serves your purpose only. Chances are, though, you’re not doing this in a vacuum. My kids watch, my teams watch. They notice bravery or lack thereof.

Bravery to believe in me, and bravery to believe in them.

That’s where the everyday stuff comes in. Bravery isn’t just taking a swipe at the dragon with your sword. Sometimes, bravery is cramming yourself into a cave crevice and lying real still and trying not to piss yourself so you won’t get roasted.

Then it’s crawling out of the crevice and trying to take the fire-breathing bastard down by the sneak attack.

So, bravery, I guess, right? Try it on. Today, even.

Deb Runs

bravery quote


  1. To me Everyday Bravery can be going to the kitchen half an hour before dinner with no prior trip to the grocery store and no plan whatsoever 😉

    Sometimes bravery turns into recklessness. Like when you need to be at the airport at a certain time and think there is enough time to *quickly* go someplace, and you end up standing at about 20 red lights on Melrose Ave, staring at the eta on the GPS getting later and later…

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You’ve the right idea when it comes to everyday bravery, Tamara. Bravery and recklessness are different, but some people see them as the same.

      I think when you’ve begun something recklessly, you try to galvanize yourself by calling it bravery.

      Whatever works, as Larry David would say.

  2. I know you weren’t talking about the Mets, but still after watching game #2 of the season yesterday couldn’t help, but think of them as they lose they did last year, but still here watching and going on this season, if nothing else.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      We live and die, by loyal baseball heart, anyway, with our boys of summer, don’t we Janine?

      Colorado is 2-1 and I’m ready to design the World Series parade route.

  3. I’ve always said that it takes a brave person to play goal keeper, and I’m not that brave.

    Thanks for linking up!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      And that says nothing of the parents who have to watch them toss their bodies around like last week’s dirty laundry. Glad to link up – looking forward to diving into more of the entries. I’ve gotten to just one so far!

  4. Lulu says:

    LOVE IT! Wonderful post, Eli. I think you are a person who demonstrates everyday bravery. Your advice, especially about being brave when nobody is watching, reminded me of a quote that I like to repeat to myself sometimes. It’s by Lisa Hayes, who said, “Be careful how you talk to yourself, because you are listening.” That silent, unobserved bravery might not serve as an example to others, but every time we fail to be brave, we fail ourselves, and we undermine our integrity and our credibility in our own eyes, making it that much harder to stand up and be vulnerable the next time.

    If you like TED talks, one of my favorites on vulnerability and everyday bravery (what the TED speaker calls “ordinary courage”) is by Brené Brown. She actually has several TED talks, but this one is my favorite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEPbkvhPuRk

    Hope you are having a wonderful week! Take care!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Lulu. I’m glad you liked the post. I think I’m a person who *attempts* everyday bravery, and that’s good enough for me.

      Bravery’s pretty private anyway, and works without an audience. Maybe you are your most important audience, anyway.

      I know about Brene Brown! I love her. I’m now listening to this TED Talk as I work now.

      Thanks so much for all your kind words.

      1. Lulu says:

        You are so right! We are our own most important audiences. Have a lovely end to your weekend, my friend! I hope it’s warm wherever you are (I woke up to a ground covered in snow yesterday!)

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        It was chilly here Saturday, a bit warmer today, but still hoody-worthy.

  5. Fake it!! You are so right! No one knows but you!

    Thanks for the reminder.

    Uuugh, I know the pain of losing in the championship all to well.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      If you can fool yourself, you’re on your way, right? I’ve found that if I can believe in myself at first, I can convince myself. We all need that reminder. Another post all together would be how much winning a championship is more about relief that you didn’t lose it, than celebration of winning it.

  6. ksbeth says:

    bravery is sometimes just getting up.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      nothing else is possible until you do, beth. well said.

  7. “As any parent in that stage off toddler parenthood when your crawling army tank wants to traverse every staircase and clear every book case”…yes Eli, that struggle is ALWAYS real in our house! Happy Wednesday!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      All the good stuff keeps going on higher shelves for the first four years, right? Happy Wednesday to you too Lauren – looking forward to reading more of you.

  8. I am really enjoying your articles for the challenge! You have great voice in your writing – really fun to read. If you end up trying Fahrenheit 451 let me know what you think!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Katie – I’d hoped to keep them shorter, but so far, not so good on that! I appreciate your kind words, and feel the same about your writing voice. Very glad to have found you.

      Reading is on my improve-me list, so why not Fahrenheit 451? I trust your recommendation.

  9. mocadeaux says:

    I’m neither brave enough to be a goalie nor to be the parent of a goalie. Now, on the subject of baseball, I’m a Cubs fan. We think every year is our year…and then it isn’t.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Both require a bit of toughness and a lot of leaving it up to the universe. This year might really be your year, though, Cubs fans. It’s never might really be our year, as Rockies fans!

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