Being Brave, Taking Risks, and Counting the Cost

I don't know about you, but I struggle to be brave.

I took one of those Myers-Briggs Tests before, and I took the one where I was able to measure how introverted I am. The first time I took it, I was at 100% introverted. Most people will have some extroversion. Some.

I had none. My extroversion was at an eye-boggling 0%.

Recently, I took it again. This time, I got 85%.

This is after graduating college, graduating grad school, spending a good portion of the decade in front of a classroom, and being married and having kids. Not to mention moving and conversing with plenty of people over customer service phone calls.

Some people would just about die at that small amount of progress. But the truth is, the most important changes we make in life are often the ones that are small and usually the hardest to make. So I'm happy with my results. And I am still terrified of "improving" more.

This week, I'll be at #scifivalleycon17 near my hometown. I'm counting it as a high school reunion of sorts, if for no other reason than my graduating class apparently has very little interest in organizing a proper reunion at this time (maybe they'll do it later, but who really knows?). I'm nervous, just like I always was pretty much in high school.

While I never wanted to be anyone other than myself, and I know I had plenty of flaws and did terrible things of my own accord several times, I never liked being at my high school. I had my friends who stuck by me and didn't care about every little thing I did that was weird, and I had my favorite teachers, who could seriously change my whole attitude the moment I walked into the door. I always felt pressured to be someone other than myself.

And it's not always a bad thing, to be pushed to be your best self, or even your better self. I know, for example, being introverted is not a terrible thing, but it becomes a terrible thing if you only interact with yourself. Even my imagination gets upset at me sometimes. I can easily make them look bad when I talk to normal people!

But I do think it was the constant pressure I put on myself, and let other people put on me, that made me breakdown as many times as I did. I had one teacher who told me I could be a writer one day. God bless her for that. I had another who told me I would make a great literary critic. I'd love to be that talented. Those were important things to me.

On the other hand, I had some that said I would make a good doctor, a good researcher, and a good teacher. One even said I was a good actress, which was a very nice compliment, though I was really shy, so I'm not sure how that would have worked out, really.

Being pressured by so many people, and wanting to please as many people as I could, it's no surprise to me that I had periods of just terrible confusion. And that would lead to things like being more quiet and uncertain and shy. And I really think I just got used to it, on some level.

So this week, I'm going to be brave. I'm going to take a risk, and put myself out there. I'm hoping for your support this week as I go through it. I know it's not such a hard thing, getting up in front of people at #scifivalleycon17, but it's still more than I would willingly choose to do within my comfort zone.

Anyone else have any good stories about how to be brave? I'd love to hear them!