Bravery is Choice

We can always choose. Snow Day

It’s our first decent snow up here in northern Massachusetts, and I have my kids with me, lots to do, and I need to get them to school. My car isn’t all that effective in the snow (Camaro: all power, no traction). But for some reason, what washes over me is the realization that I have some choices I can make.

The seeds of larger wisdom are often planted in the soil of simple moments. (click to tweet)

Choices Come Thousands of Times a Day

In all areas of our lives, including business, we have to remember to build in the time to choose. What does it take to succeed? A commitment to making better choices is a core element. Where we tend to go wrong is when we feel we have no choice, or when we make an easy choice, or when we push hard for a bad choice. True? Do you feel that?

There’s a local Subway restaurant nearby and the owners are apparently stressed about their finances. As I was buying my kids lunch there, I heard one owner yell at the staff for turning on the heat. They said, “But the customers were complaining that they were cold.” More yelling from the owners. Standing there, I wondered, “Which will cost this owner more?” Moments later, I went to get a refill for my soda pop while my kids finished devouring their meals. The same owner gave me the stink eye, evidently for getting the refill (no signs said I shouldn’t do this, and it’s fairly common practice). So what impression did she leave in me? What choice did she make?

Bravery Is a Choice

I talk to Rob Hatch often about business decisions, and he likes to tell me about a concept called “choice architecture.” It’s some kind of psychology-based thinking that shows how people can be influenced to make certain buying choices. There’s a lot of that at play in what we’ve been calling “business design,” which means the end-to-end crafting of a business to take the guest/customer/client’s experience to heart all the way through their lifecycle with your organization. There’s a lot of bravery required in those choices.

I choose to not offer a search function at []. Some of you ask about this every week. Why? Because I’m curating. My goal is to give you the posts I feel will best serve your experience now. Museums curate their possessions such that only about 18% of what they have is on display at any one time. And not that my work is art, but I want you to have at hand what is helpful, not just the abundance of my years of writing.

This Extends Further

How we conduct ourselves is a choice. I’m frustrated by all the judgmental and righteous people who believe they can tell others what is right and wrong in using social networks and social media. Last night, I chose to argue about it a little. But then I stopped. Why? Because my choice is to use my time for better matters, and to dedicate it to you. The person who wanted to complain about how I tweet or don’t tweet has his or her opinion. That’s not my concern. You are. That’s my choice.

Choosing to do the work to eat healthier and exercise so I can regain my health and fitness is brave. Choosing to work harder and make my business succeed requires bravery. Sometimes, even making a bad choice is making a choice and is also a matter of personal bravery. Don’t limit yourself to thinking that only good choices are brave.

The opposite of bravery isn’t fear. The opposite of bravery is surrender.

So the question, to you, is this: what choices will you be brave enough to make today?

We talk a lot about bravery and choice in Brave New Year. If you want to join a group of supportive peers in planning a huge and successful 2013, here’s your chance to make one more choice that counts. runs on the Genesis Framework

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  • Tania Dakka

    My Brave choice for today is to work actively on my content goals for this Brave New Year. I’m totally loving the discussions and support in the emails and group setting. Thank YOU for making me brave…

    • Chris Brogan

      I didn’t make you brave. I let you figure it out. : )

  • Runner Bliss

    I happened to see that last night and it was so absurd and torqued me so much that I came *thisclose* to jumping in after her. But I knew you wouldn’t want that and knew for many reasons my best choice was to just let it be. Good thing, because the mood I was in I would’ve taken it ‘to the death’ — and won. But, to your point, what would’ve been won with that choice? So much more would’ve been lost. You’ve hit on something very essential, about how we often view our choices as somehow different or more limited than they actually are.

    • Chris Brogan

      Naw. She can have her opinions. It’s all good.

  • Melissa Ng

    Today, I’m choosing to accept that my writing is good enough for people to read and that my artwork is good enough to look at (and that it’s okay that some will hate it). I’ve already spent way too much time fretting over finding the “perfect” words…no such thing, I know.

    • Chris Brogan

      Totally true! So… share the URL! (It’ll take a while for it to pass quarantine). : )

  • Lucrecer Braxton

    Today, I am being brave enough to trust that my writing impacts exactly who it needs to. If I am genuine in my words, and I put in the work, there is no reason for me to not always hit publish and be confident in what I am sharing. By the way, I love the idea that you do not have a search feature. Curating is so important. You have given me food for thought with my own online presence.

    • Chris Brogan

      That’s a great way to be brave. Do great work today. : )

  • Steve Preite

    The thing I took away the most was how you said you curate. I never heard of blogging described like that and I love it. That’s pretty unique and makes sense how you put. Kudos Brogan!

    • Chris Brogan

      Thanks, Steve. Happy to hear it. : )

  • Paul Jarvis

    I make the same choices with my own website and what I choose not to show, use, display.

    • Chris Brogan

      Cool, Paul. That means I’m on the right track if YOU are doing it, too.

  • Olga Stavroullakis

    Thank you, Chris! Very useful article, well written, quite simple and smart. It helps me to realize where I’m making mistakes,trying to crush the walls when there are doors open. There is a lot I have to learn from you,Chris. I’ll work bravely to success. Thanks again.

    • Chris Brogan

      ANd I’ll work to be helpful. : )

  • OBVAVirtualAssistant

    Chris, this is a fascinating piece, and I find myself chewing on it. At first it struck me as a bit of stating the obvious, but I’m realizing that there are some real depths to your analysis. Today my brave move is to tell my pals that I am not very good in this field of social media but promise to improve.

    • Chris Brogan

      I think that’s a brave thing to say. : )

      • OBVAVirtualAssistant

        Merry Christmas!!

  • Kevin Carlton

    I was fed up to the back teeth of so-called ‘more experienced’ marketing people telling me what I should and shouldn’t do with my business.

    I didn’t feel they understood what I was trying to achieve, so I made a choice and instead followed my own convictions.

    Brave? I’m not sure. But successful – that it certainly was.

    • Chris Brogan

      Sounds like a good start to me, Kevin. You’re the best marketer of your business.

      • Kevin Carlton

        Couldn’t agree more Chris. After all, no-one knows my business like I do and nobody else has a stake in its success like I do.

  • Mary E. Ulrich

    I’m feeling like your Camaro. I made a bold choice yesterday and got nowhere–in fact, I’d say the snowplow buried me and my son in our car. Not good.

    So today, his birthday, I will try again. But I feel less brave, less confident–even the batteries of Camaros need recharging from time to time.

    I guess I need to make friends with the tow-truck guy, right?

    • Chris Brogan

      There’s always a way, Mary. Know what? You know that more than others because you press on where MANY would quit. You’re better than my Camaro, Mary.

  • Susan Giurleo

    It’s brave to blaze our own trail and not fall back on ‘experts’ who tell us, under the guise of ‘teaching’ what ‘works.’ My new brave thing is to speak the truth that success comes to those who step out and do things in their own unique way. That there is not ‘blueprint” or “easy” paths to success. This philosophy doesn’t get me invited to many parties, but it does attract a small community of fiercely loyal, smart and hardworking people willing to do the work and I love working with them and admire their bravery. It’s one thing to talk up the idea that we need to be unique. It’s a complete different thing to actually step up and walk that talk.

    • Chris Brogan

      While I think that learning other people’s blueprints can be useful, you’re right that no two roads are the same.

  • Martin Pigg

    To choose bravery it occurs to me that we first have to consider ourselves as brave, and that can be a challenge in a world where a lot of folks believe that “I am brave!” “I am courageous!” “I am talented!” are declarations born out of arrogance and not confidence. The more we see ourselves as brave, the more we can actually do brave things.

    • Chris Brogan

      Arrogance is a tricky beast. I think bravery doesn’t require arrogance.

  • RM Sorg

    Inspiring indeed Chris!! Thanks for the encouraging words and have an Awesome Christmas with your family :)

    • Chris Brogan

      Thanks! Glad you’re here. : )

  • Dave Crenshaw

    Another great post, Chris. My brave choice for the coming days is to stay focused on completing my next book!

    • Chris Brogan

      Thanks, Dave! Get writing. People need it. : )

  • Nate Anglin

    Man excellent post. Isn’t it amazing in a vastly changing world that someone such as the Subway owner you encountered still acts like this. For me, whom deals with large commercial airlines, I welcome all my competitors to act this way. Actually please do, I beg you. Their are two things that will happen. The first is your customer will be upset, mad and discouraged by dealing with you. The second thing that will happen is they’ll somehow end up reaching out to me or my team and they’ll be gone from you forever. So, competitors to anyone. Keep acting a fool, and if I end in your industry your clients will be mine. Not because I’m cocky or overzealous but because I will treat them based on a basis of building a long term relationship (not just transactional) and leave the potentials who just waste money and time for you.

    ***Note: This response is to no particular reader here but more towards the companies I deal with on a daily basis. It’s scary how they act, but no complaints here :-D.

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    Wow. I love your format I will certainly be back again. I really enjoyed the point you made about curating. In a world of information overload, the reader should genuinely appreciate this measure. Impressive. I’ll be back.

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  • Austin Hodge

    I certainly agree. And I think we have to commit to being brave and prepare to do so ahead of time. If we don’t build up that mental fortitude beforehand we won’t have it on hand to be brave in the moment. It involves setting priorities on what is most valuable and right – like your determination that getting sucked into a social media argument was a waste of time that took you away from what you determined was a more valuable use of your time. Well done and keep it up!

    Austin Hodge

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  • San Diego Web Designer

    This is true. Being brave is a choice. Sometimes it’s either make it or break it. Nice article. Where can I find more articles like this?

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