Resilience | Resistance | Revolution
Conscious Bravery is a pathway to women’s liberation that weaves together my favorite topics – human development, organizational change, social justice, and spirituality – and grounds them in our lived experiences as women. It is an emergent model that co-evolves with me and my work, the result of intuition, curiosity, and determination to transform the world from the inside out. Today there are five elements to Conscious Bravery, tomorrow there may be seven or two. Like the model itself, I shift from old ways of experiencing and understanding the world to new ones, ever-changing but always focused on resilience, resistance, and revolution for women and girls.
The 5 Elements of Conscious Bravery
1. From Inner to Outer
Perfectionism, competition, imposter syndrome, and martyrdom are the result of internalized oppression. Learning to identify the external cause of these behaviors is the first step towards healing them.
2. From Weakness to Strength
The identities that make us the most vulnerable – our gender, race, class, etc. – also make us the most powerful. Learning to access the gifts of our identities makes us braver, more innovative, and hopeful.
3. From Thought to Action
Waiting to feel confident before taking action keeps many women stuck in self-doubt. Learning to build confidence through small, thoughtful action creates the change we seek.
4. From Me to We
True inspiration comes from a larger purpose that serves others. Learning to tap into the collective “we” of other women will help us sustain our actions for the long term.
5. From Outer to Inner
Persistence and resistance require emotional, physical, and psychological energy. Learning to develop a spiritual practice is critical to conserving and renewing these aspects of ourselves.
You can learn more by joining AKO Collective. I’ll send you upcoming workshop announcements and my Booklist for Brave Women that includes a video made just for you.
A Deeper Dive
If you’ve read this far, I imagine you are intrigued by the model of Conscious Bravery, and so here is a bit more of my thinking and feeling about it. I chose the words “conscious” and “bravery” to signify that it takes both awareness and action to transform anything, whether that’s ourselves, our places of work, our families and communities, or the world.
Element 1: From Inner to Outer
Like all change, Conscious Bravery begins with the individual self. It is useful to focus here as we move more intentionally into community with others. Becoming aware of how we have internalized oppression is critical to our personal and collective liberation. We cannot change what is hidden from us. From this place of inner awareness, we begin to replace harmful messages and belief systems with our own.
Element 2: From Weakness to Strength
A society that values male dominance inevitably devalues femaleness, femininity, women, and girls. The narrative of such a society is not only false, it is disempowering to women, and so we must find new truths and empower ourselves with them. The strengths that our identities have gifted to us – empathy, humor, fortitude, and so many others – are an antidote to our current suffering, and they serve as a protective shield from future suffering as well.
Element 3: From Thought to Action
We must bring our work into the world through brave action as changemakers, creators, activists, and visionaries. Action inspires action. As we stand in our knowing and speak our truth, we inspire more knowing and truth for ourselves and other women. We embody the change that we wish to see in the world.
Element 4: From Me to We
A commitment to caring for our community dispels fear and inspires sustained action. Our community may be our coworkers, the women who came before us, or those who will come after us. It may be an imaginary community that we wish to create someday. If not for us, we do the work for them.
Element 5: From Outer to Inner
Spirituality (love, light, universe, intention, consciousness, god – or simply knowing that we are mortal and will die one day) invites us to examine existential questions about our life purpose, who we really are, and what this all means. Answers to these questions reside in the quiet space of our heart, along with the knowing that we are spiritual beings on a human journey, a woman’s journey.
Start your journey today
Check out my TEDx Talk, The Science of Women’s Leadership, and That’s What She Said? blog.