1. Understand that being brave isn’t about doing scary things without fear – it is acknowledging how utterly terrified you are, and doing it anyway. That’s brave.
2. Act enthusiastic and you will be enthusiastic. Playing the “cool guy” card is so dull, you guys.
3. Begin. Whatever it is, wherever you are, whatever excuses you’ve given yourself, do one thing towards what you’ve been putting off right now. Begin anywhere – but begin.
4. Be honest about who you are. You don’t have to pretend that you love starting the day with a green smoothie, or that you’re totally into “Serial”, or that there ain’t no party like a coked-up party. If you like Lionel Richie and backgammon tournaments, own it. Your tribe is out there, but they won’t find you until you start keeping it real. Give them some signposts.
5. Re-write your story. Literally, sit down at your laptop and decide how this particular event in your life is going to end differently to how it is currently unfolding, and then go live your new ending.
6. Hey, you know that “friend” you have who makes you feel like shit? YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HANG OUT WITH THEM.
7. Be the mountain, and let them come to you.
8. Call your dad. Everyone forgets about dad. Call to ask his advice to let him know he is useful to you, and ask about his latest work project in the same way he asks about yours. Grab a beer with him when you’re home next, just you two. You don’t have to have A Big Talk, but you do have to be together a while. Shoot some pool, grab a movie, tell him you’re dating somebody. Dads are great – why do we treat them like background wallpaper and ATM’s?
9. Don’t react to criticism. You can listen to the bullshit without hearing it.
10. Stop holding your stomach in. You’re a human being, you’re beautiful, and rest assured that everybody else is so busy holding *their* stomach in that they won’t notice if you start cutting yourself some body slack.
11. Hug. Get physical. Touch is primal.
12. Stop making plans. Stop filling your diary. Stop being so goddamn BUSY. We don’t need two brunches, five cocktail hours and a dinner a week to feel connected. Leave swathes on time unscheduled in your diary, to see what unfolds. Something always does.
13. It’s not about you, dumbass.
14. WHAT WOULD BEYONCE DO?
15. Dine solo. No book, no magazine, no distractions – just you and your food, chewing slowly and purposefully, tasting the beautiful meal you’re paying good money for. Watch the world pass by. Notice it all.
16. Raise your hand. Volunteer for the project, the responsibility, the opportunity – and then figure out how the hell you’re going to pull it off. Don’t hold back just because you’re not sure of the details.
17. Text him, already.
18. Ask her out, already.
19. Kiss them, already.
20. We learn to get comfortable with adjustment. With learning. Over time. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable: it won’t be that way forever.
21. Red lipstick, properly lined with a grown-up’s pencil and blotted like a lady.
22. Change direction. It is NEVER too late to say, finally, out loud and to yourself as well as others, “This just isn’t working for me.” You can alter the way your sails sit even minutely, and it will affect your destination immeasurably.
23. Saying it is better than not saying it, always. Do it kindly though.
24. Ask for help. Ask for help, let the help happen, and then say thank you for the help. You cannot do this life alone. Bravery isn’t powering on unaided – bravery is the vulnerability in saying, “This task is a bit bigger than I am, and I know just who to call.”
25. Be naked.
26. Converse with a stranger. Begin with a simple “Hello! How are you today?” and (here’s the kicker) actually listen the answer, so that you can ask a follow up question. Your waitress or receptionist or colleague will most likely visibly register the surprise on their face when they realise you’re the first person to ask them how they’re doing AND CARE all day. Practice this every day. Making friends will become a breeze.
27. Write a list of the people who mean most to you in the world. Anyone not on this list does not get an opinion on your life.
28. Choose to heal yourself with love, and good food, and exercise, and sleep. It’s a cultural myth that because you feel shitty, you can eat shitty/drink too much/party harder/deal with the consequences later.
29. Gratitude. Scribe a short note to somebody who makes a difference to you. The author of the blog you follow, your mother, a friend you haven’t spoken to in such a very long time: pick somebody, reach out, and say something nice for the simple act of niceness. Expect nothing back. Repeat.
30. Reach out to the person you’ve been silently furious with. Stick to the facts, but get it off your chest.
31. Let people tell you how pretty you are without responding by saying, “But my nose! Look at my nose!” Practice saying, with a smile, “Thanks!”
32. DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU’RE GOING TO DO.
33. Say yes. Just do it – just see what happens if you don’t have all the information and embrace the madness of not knowing.
34. Say no. Miss the party, the date, the networking event. You’re tired, and you’re busy. Everything on your to-do list is there because you agreed to it. Overwhelmed? Start saying no. Be polite, but be firm.
35. Set boundaries. Say, “That doesn’t work for me.”
36. Practice making a total, utter fool of yourself. Being brave means being familiar with failing, picking yourself up, dusting yourself down, and leaving all those fucks your supposed to give behind. Good luck.