It was April 1990 and there I sat in my Toyota Corolla with my sister by my side. The car was packed to the gills with all my worldly possessions along with a case of Molson Golden in the U-Haul car-top. One must understand, where I was going I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to taste this sweet reminder of home ever again!
We were heading to the great unknown, the Wild Wild West, we were on our way to Utah! My sister was along to share the drive but she’d be returning to school shortly after we arrived. After that, I would be totally on my own.

Ok, to be fair I wasn’t traveling by wagon train, risking life and limb, but I was taking a chance in search of a better life and new career prospects. I was leaving my hometown of Buffalo, NY, a place I’d known for 25 years and where all of my family, friends and safety could be found.

I did understand moving was a risk but if you had asked me, at that time, if this was the definition of being “brave” I would have laughed. In my opinion, bravery was something more physical such as a soldier giving all for her country. Webster, however, defines bravery as “the quality or state of having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear or difficulty.” That most certainly defines the soldier but as I look back 30 years later I see this pivotal moment in my life could also be defined as brave. This move had a measurable amount of difficulty that required mental strength. It was scary to move somewhere where I had no family, no job and little social network. Had I not been willing to take a risk and follow the gut feeling that I belonged out west my life would be so much different.

Since that time I’ve had many other opportunities to take risks within my personal and professional life. Some have been met by great success such as accepting the most recent position as Associate Director of Sales and others had me feeling nervous and wondering what I had gotten myself into. A perfect example would be presenting to the Business Women’s Forum on the topic of feedback. I was extremely nervous and made some mistakes, but in both situations, I’ve gained new insight into myself and strengthened my bravery muscle.

As I reflected upon my experiences with being brave, I became curious to hear how others view this topic. See if you can find a common theme within the answers from many of my colleagues below:

“Brave means stepping outside my comfort zone and challenging myself to try or learn something new…Brave can mean big leaps outside my comfort zone or just small every day leaps to try and push me into things that don’t come naturally to me.”

“Being brave to me is pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, but also, being willing to put yourself out there – even if you may be uncomfortable, unsure, or scared. It all starts with believing in yourself and knowing that you can do this. Where there is a will, there is a way. Trust the process.”

“To me, bravery is when you go beyond your comfort zone. When you put your nerves and insecurities aside and challenge yourself to try something new and push beyond your perceived boundaries. Bravery is not being afraid to fail or get hurt so that you can achieve something great and beyond what you think you are capable of.”

“Brave is going for it and putting yourself out there when the outcome is unclear and there is a risk of failure.”

“Being courageous and taking action under uncertain circumstances. Not being afraid to take risks and possibly failing in the process.”

“Brave means in spite of fears of failing stepping up to the plate and getting outside of your comfort zone.”

“Challenging your fears, not allowing what scares you to become an obstacle or distraction.”

“Bravery isn’t action in the absence of fear but rather being brave is moving forward and ascending in the very presence of fear. To be brave is to overcome that which you feel as though you cannot.”

Do you see any common themes within these responses? Although ultimately the definition of bravery may be constantly evolving and different for everyone there does seem to be one underlying theme, the ability to step outside your comfort zone.

Brene Brown said, “You can choose courage, or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both.” I urge you to step outside your comfort zone and take a risk. Being brave is like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it becomes.

About the Guest Author: Sherry Weaver

Sherry grew up in Buffalo, NY and attended Genesee Community College pursuing a degree in Travel & Tourism. On a familiarization trip in December 1989, she discovered the beauty of Utah and moved to Park City the following April to work for a local travel agency. In September of 1992, she began working for Worldspan/Travelport, a global travel distribution company and enjoyed a wonderful 17-year career managing a portfolio consisting of Travel Management Companies. In December 2009 she found her true passion, selling the mountain experience. At that time she started with Canyons Resort working with the leisure market. In September 2011, she was offered and accepted an opportunity to work in group sales, focusing on helping clients create a meeting or conference that will leave their attendees with memories that last a lifetime. Most recently Sherry has moved into the role of Associate Director of Sales. This leadership position helps to support all aspects of closing group sales, executing mountain group services as well as helping develop and execute group sales strategies to achieve overall revenue targets for Park City Mountain. In her spare time, she enjoys alpine skiing, hiking, road & mountain biking and travel with her husband Tom and 2 children Sydney (18) and TJ (16). Sherry is a supporter of NKUT and the entire family enjoys the companionship of their 2 adopted furry family members Tasha and Cole.