Resiliency Recap + Announcement!

Back in May when I asked my friend Seth Jaeger to speak at a Bravery Board Gathering on the topic of resiliency, I got a little worried about my decision right after he said "yes". Don't get me wrong, Seth is AMAZING and BRILLIANT, and I knew he would deliver a great talk, but he just happens to be... well, a male

If you've followed along in the progress of The Bravery Board and know what we're all about, you know that we started this collective as a open-and-welcoming-to-all-genders sort of endeavor. However, we primarily draw an audience of women like us-- 20-30 somethings seeking to kill it in life. (We are okay with that. We get it. We are women hosting gatherings where people come to talk about their personal stuff.) But we want to branch out. We believe men need this message too. So although Seth is the type of person we want to attract, I wasn't sure we were ready to go there yet being so new. 

But, as so often tends to be the case, I was wrong. Seth nailed it. People came. His voice resonated. It was an intellectually stimulating party.

In his brilliantly-delivered talk about intellectual resilience, Seth spoke about how we can strive to be "exceptionally average", following what the Buddha describes as The Middle Path, or a lifestyle of moderation. We know this is the optimal place to thrive rather than on certain extremes, however sometimes it is so tempting to cling to distinct side or frame of reference to understand the worldSeth offered some suggestions on how not to get stuck on one side of the pendulum. He talked about making decisions, trusting your gut, and all these amazingly-relatable concepts that matter. 

You guys, Seth's topic SPOKE to me. And I think it spoke to many others in the room that day as well. Seth touched on something I ruminate a lot about- which is how my culture effects me and how I effect it. In other words- I don't just arrive at my thoughts or opinions of things because they are correct, but because they are what my culture tells me is correct. Interesting twist on what is truth, and something I spend a lot of time thinking about. 


And now I get the privilege to be able to tell you that not only did we record this thought-provoking talk, so you can now hear it, but it is going to be the first one ever that we release as a PODCAST

Yes, that's right.


We have posted our talks on Soundcloud in the past, but none of us knew how to edit audio or make any of it spiffy and polished, so it ended up sounding a bit... well... a bit of a let down. The content was great but the way it was delivered was very lackluster. This month I have been spending many-an-evening-at-home learning how to edit and record audio, and out of that we have upped-the-anny and are now releasing ALL of our talks, WITH INTROS, TODAY!

We've always known we wanted to do a Podcast, and now we get to make that desire a reality. The hope is that the awesome talks our speakers spend so much time preparing can reach a wider audience, because they are SO GOOD. I am constantly blown away by the wisdom that exists right here among us in our good ol' corner of the MIdwest, and I am passionate about extending that wisdom to others all around the globe.

So you'll not only hear talks from our gatherings on this podcast, we'll also share interviews with our speakers, conversations with special guests, segments on mental health and wellness, and behind the scenes & candid stories from Kate, Madison, and I. We can't wait for all the goodness in store. 

So please, if you are excited, go over to Itunes and check us out. Leave us a review if you're feeling it, because the more the Podcast gets reviewed, the more it gets viewed in searches and other things. Also- go check out Seth's podcast first. Its BRILLIANT! 

Compassion Gathering Saturday Sept 10

Our next gathering is September 10th and will be on the topic of Compassion. We are SO STOKED to have our first out-of-town-omg-she's-traveling-to-speak guest Colleen Kirk. To learn more click below or go to our gatherings page. Tickets are just $10! 

Calling BS on the eternal optimist


I’ve been called that a time or two.

Sure, it’s not the worst thing someone could call you… but it’s not a label I want to live by.

Rather, I want to live by the words strong, brave, resilient, and vibrant. Because under the surface of my sunshine and rainbows for many years was insecurity, trauma, and fear. Pains I had to heal, dysfunction I had to unlearn, stories I had to own and rewrite for myself.

I had to work to get here, dammit, and I won’t blame it on a predisposition towards optimism. 

It was work. Hard work.

I wanted it to be easier to work through the past, to learn new habits, and to create a life I was proud to live. There were times I thought divorce was an option, where I didn’t see my growth, where I was disappointed in myself, and wondered if I was a lost cause. But I kept going.

Kept seeing my counselor. Kept reading. Kept making decisions that served my highest self.

I had hard conversations, made hard choices, and did a lot of hard work seeing myself and loving myself.

It was so worth it.

When I look back over the past 5 years, I see a woman who went from fear, shame, and insecurity, to a woman who owns her life, is brave to step out, and truly created her dream life.

I’m damn proud of what I’ve done, and I refuse to believe I did it because I’m special. So I'm calling BS on being an eternal optimist, because optimism didn't get me here. What got me here was being brave enough to lean into the discomfort. 


I put myself in the way of growth. I sought out hard things and I did them because they helped me become the resilient woman I wanted to be.

Just like working out your body, you must work out your spirit to become resilient. You must persevere and keep going. You can do it, but you must be willing to lean into the work.

“Why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.” -Carol Dweck

Choosing to put yourself in situations where you’re stretched will remind you how flexible you are. Resilience is a muscle. The more you stretch it, bend it, and work it out, the more it will be stronger and able to bounce back to it’s original form.

Choose to step out of what’s comfortable and do a couple hard things. You’ll surprise yourself at how resilient you really are.




If you’re in Springfield, MO this Saturday August 13, join me as Seth Jaeger and I speak at The Bravery Board’s gathering on Resiliency. Get more info here! 


Failure is an Option

On August 13 The Bravery Board is hosting a gathering on the topic of resiliency. One of the biggest indicators of how resilient you are is how you respond to failure. 

We've all heard the phrase: failure is not an option.

From what I can gather from the collective wisdom of the internet, this phrase originated in the movie fictionalization of the Apollo 13 space mission. If you haven't seen it, let me set the scene: There were several astronauts (including national treasure Tom Hanks) stranded in space. It was a life and death situation. Either the team worked together to come up with an innovative plan to bring them home, or they weren't coming home. The idea being communicated in movie-speak was, let's brainstorm all the possible solutions to the problem that result in survival. Any solutions with the expected outcome of failure are not solutions we will consider. It's Tom Hanks, people!

Fast forward to 2016, and it's you--not Tom--trying to survive. You've been handed a project at work, or you're doing a presentation in front of a group, or you're launching a new idea or business and apply that mantra: failure is not an option.

Does that really fit in a situation where the worst possible outcome is that you don't get what you want?

Are you stranded in space?

For most of us, failure is an option. In fact, in some situations it is inevitable. Imagine that the success of any endeavor is the result of work + chance. You can control exactly how much work you put into the endeavor, but the varying nature of chance is not something you can control. This will lead to your efforts sometimes resulting in success, and sometimes resulting in failure. There is nothing you can do about that.

You aren't stranded in space. You're doing something creative. You're doing something new. You're attempting to fix a problem. You're innovating and brainstorming. You do not have to have the same level of risk aversion as an astronaut.

Some people really must look at the options before them and set aside failure as not being one of them. However, most people get to leave failure on the table. It is unhealthy to throw ourselves into the same category as those dealing with life or death situations by exaggerating the negative impact that failure will have on our lives and careers. We misapply the fear of failure that organically and beneficially exists for a few select vocations to ourselves.

So what is a healthy view of failure?



Fear of failure is a mindset that leads to inflexibility and narrow thinking.

Failure is always an option, and often an inevitability.

When we are realistic about failure, our minds are free to brainstorm imaginative solutions and novel approaches. When we allow failure to dictate our self-worth, the mere idea of it haunts are decisions, influences our analysis of ideas, and impedes our ability to take risks. When we separate our self-worth from our successes and failures, we allow ourselves to learn, grow, and even thrive in failure.



Life will knock us down.

Failure is a tool that helps us learn to get back up. Failure in relationships, school and work assignments, in front of other people, and all those other little failures that threaten to crush our ego--they all prepare us for those bigger blows that inevitably find us. If we live our lives in a mindset of total risk aversion, we limit our ability to learn how to be resilient. We limit the power that hard knocks have to make us better thinkers, more stable emotionally, and individuals with a healthy perspective on work, self-worth, and the value of other people.



Imagine this scenario: failure IS the desired outcome.

What do you normally do while watching something fall to pieces in front of you? If you're not a welcomer of failure, your mind goes blank. Maybe you have an emotional response that prevents you from keeping your thoughts together. In the aftermath, you say to yourself: 

"That was horrible. I'm never trying that again!"

You block out the memory of the failure and pretend like it isn't now contributing to your view of yourself and the world.

But think about this: failing on a regular basis, in many different ways, will teach you to:

  • Keep your composure. Learn to appreciate the lesson learned from the failure so the results are meaningful instead of painful.
  • Bounce back quickly. Learn to disconnect your results from the equation of your self-worth. You are not a failure.
  • Learn from what didn't work because you aren't distracted with feeling sorry for yourself. Just the facts, ma'am.
  • Model graceful failure to others. Let your colleagues and others see you fail well. This may be the most important thing they see you do.

Failure as a strategy means you understand and embrace that it is almost always an option, and when it happens you are familiar enough with it to use it as a tool.


You will fail. It is a given. What isn't a given is how you will respond to that failure. Fail well.


This post originally appeared on Kate's blog. If you like it, there's more where that came from!