The Crossroads of Should and Must Giveaway!

The next Bravery Board gathering will take place on Saturday, May 14, on the topic of chasing your dreams. In honor of this topic, we will be giving away a copy of The Crossroads and Should and Must by Elle Luna. Elle first gained attention back in 2013 with an essay published on Medium.com. She followed this up with her beautifully written and illustrated book that we will be GIVING AWAY to ONE SUBSCRIBER!

If you've already subscribed to our Bravery Board Briefing emails, you're already entered to win! If not, sign up today to be entered in the drawing. 

One of the reasons we were so excited to give this book away is because Elle brilliantly describes what it feels like to make the realization (as so many of us have done) that we are spending our days doing the things we are supposed to, and seldom taking steps towards our dreams. By describing her journey from should  to must, she translates that feeling into a language we all understand. When we hesitate at the crossroads of should and must, we lock ourselves in prison of our own making. The good news is that there are ways out.

While Elle writes beautifully and shares inspiriting words from diverse thinkers, some of the most helpful features of this book are the action steps and exercises she provides to help with the first steps towards identifying our musts and the barriers that stand in our way. 

One person's must will look radically different than another's. For some, must will require a transition to a new career or another life change. For others, it will look like carving an hour a week out from all the should to pursue a passion. Your must is individual, and part of what makes you who you are.

Whether you're well on your way to pursuing your dreams, or wondering how to even start, we invite you to join us for our May 14 Bravery Board gathering!

Is There a Right Place to Chase Your Dreams?

Ana Pierce

Nearly 100 years ago, two brothers traveled from their hometown of Dayton, Ohio, to a small beach in North Carolina. To the average person, there was nothing notable about this shoreline. In fact, it was nearly deserted. But the brothers saw something else—potential. They knew Kitty Hawk had heavy winds and high air density, which made it the perfect location for their big experiment. They wanted to fly.

On December 17th of 1903, Orville Wright manned what is now known as the first flight. 12 seconds. 120 feet. And only five people saw it happen.

Orville and Wilbur Wright invented and built the world’s first successful airplane. It goes undisputed that the brothers revolutionized modern transportation, paving the way for our present-day world to discover and be discovered. Doesn’t it seem like their endeavor should have been a bit more glamorous?

I picture the Wright brothers living and working in New York City, spending most of their time hanging out in the tallest skyscraper around, casually drawing up blueprints for the first plane. They’d probably have a line of custom suits and aviator sunglasses named after them (doesn’t “Wright Bros” sound like a distinguished brand name?), and they would frequently lunch with the mayor, I’m sure.

But this wasn’t the case. The Wright brothers essentially lived and died in Dayton, Ohio. There was nothing big about their city other than the dreams they dreamed while spending their lives there. Once the trial run crashed near Kitty Hawk, they returned to their tiny hometown and resumed all flight-testing from Small-town, Ohio.

Grow up. Move out. Relocate to a “real” city. 

Is this not the 2016 millennial’s American Dream? Often, it seems to be. Yet I fear that on some level, the dream has been misplaced. If the Wright brothers’ biggest goal was “Let’s get the heck out of Dayton,” they might not have spent as much time changing the world. It’s easy to idolize the big-lights, big-dream, big-star city. And some dreams are most effectively sought after in a metropolis.

But don’t underestimate what can be done in your hometown.

As a twenty-something, you need to understand it is not as important that you move geographically as it is for you to push yourself to move developmentally. Don’t feel like you have to pick everything up and head over to the big city to lead a meaningful life. You can live, love, learn, create, play, and grow professionally in many environments. You can define your twenties while residing in a shack in the Middle-of-nowhere, Ohio. You have the capability because it lies within you.

Planes, trains, and automobiles—these vehicles are often valued as avenues for us to see and influence the world. And they are. We live in a global society, and mobilization is becoming increasingly important. Mobility, as defined by Merriam Webster, is “capable of moving or being moved.” But in the midst of our big-city dreamin’, let’s not forget the most important part: internalmobility. Moving toward goals. Being moved by others. Pushing your self to be better. To me, internal mobility is the necessary precursor for external mobility. Don’t think “I’m going to move to LA, and then I’ll do something with my life” when you could be doing something with your life now. 

It is possible to do something worthwhile in spite of limited resources or a less-than-glamorous location.

In the house that I grew up in, there was a huge elm tree in my backyard with deep, wide roots that spread all around the ground. When I was a sophomore in high school, my family built a house on the other side of town. We planted seedlings around the new property, and we all understood those baby trees would take time to bloom, but everybody missed the giant elm and oak trees in our old neighborhood. It just wasn’t the same. You see, the biggest trees have the deepest roots. In the same way, your hometown may have roots and resources to help you grow that you could miss out on if you are so focused on planting yourself elsewhere.

Your hometown is always going to be “somewhere else” to someone else. So value it for what it is, and learn to appreciate it. If leaving Small-town, USA will be best for your professional or emotional mobility, then leave. But don’t think that you have to leave your hometown to make something out of your life.

Please don’t misunderstand me, here. I have been dazzled by the big city life probably as much as (or more than) the next girl. But I have come to realize that the biggest dreams don’t necessarily require an airplane. Sometimes dreams are realized on a deserted beach with only five witnesses.

Sometimes dreams are developed in a small town. And sometimes adventure begins in your backyard.


Ana Pierce (@itsanaactually) is a writer and editor residing in Springfield, Missouri. In her free time you can find her over at her blog She Learns Things, or just trying to keep her houseplants alive.