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November 12, 2010


It's funny, about midway through reading your piece, the motto I try and live by flashed into my mind: live courageously. It seems you are doing just that! The way that mantra plays out in my life is far different than yours, being a self-described hermit/cave dweller. For me, courageous living has involved travelling to a strange city, alone, to find my way to and from the hospitals my brother has been in, trying to fight his fight to stay alive. It has meant being willing to speak up, despite the fear/discomfort in doing so. It has come through in my being willing to keep searching for an agent or a publisher, because I so believe in my work and its importance.

It's a phrase I use with my own children when they worry about stepping outside their prescribed comfort zones to stretch and grow.

Thank you for reminding me how many different ways we can live our dreams courageously, no matter how "different" they may be from what we might have thought, years ago.
Michelle Anthony

Loved this post. I really relate to it as I also have diverse work experience- going from musician/flutist to businesswoman (in a finance career). I was terrified to study finance in business school, which is exactly why I did it.

I loved when you said, 'Rather than walk on lighted circuits, I feel compelled to go to the dark spots and put my flag down.'

I have a feeling we're kindred spirits.

Loved your piece. So fun to read. You won't catch me jumping off literal cliffs. But some time around age 40, some time around the time my mother died, I decided life is too short to be fearful. I have to remind myself of this. When I start to feel fear I ask myself, is this appropriate? More often fear is not coming from a rational place.

Captain Elizabeth, what a wonderful, insightful post! I'm just embarking on my career (in finance), and, as a classically "risk-averse" person, I'm coming to grips with the reality that enjoying the fullness of life at work or elsewhere will require prioritizing challenge over stagnation. Thank you for encouraging me to look at risk from another angle.

(P.S. It's good to hear from a Marriott school "sister"--I'm considering jumping a cliff back to BYU for my MBA in a few years :) )

Wonderful post and comments! I echo Dana's statement about life being too short to be fearful. I want to live life fully and experience much. Sometimes I remind myself that life is a dream we can shape.

What about birthing a baby? That thought hit home ;-). My husband is an explorer. His nickname is Mr. Brown Sign because he fills his need to be out and about not through employment as much as experiencing what the world has to offer and see. Good for you!

Great article! When I was 12, my older sister challenged me to do one thing each day that I was afraid to do. As I've gotten older, and as my family and business has started to grow, I've been doing something "scary" each hour, it seems. This constant stretching isn't easy or comfortable, but there's something very satisfying about knowing that you're living a full, purposeful life.

"Putting yourself out there" is very risky to most people. Whether you're marketing a product, posting on a blog, "speaking up" on Facebook, or devoting the rest of your life to parenthood, there's always that risk that some critic will try to squash your efforts.

Life is easier if we don't do anything that requires courage, but this quote sums it up for me: "There is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone."

Thanks for writing this post!

I love this post! And I think that women really are risk-takers. Not just giving birth (though that was the first thought in my mind when I read that paragraph), but in blazing ahead without any guarantees. How many generations of women have followed their husbands without really knowing what it meant beyond his ability to provide? Sometimes not even having that guarantee? How many have gone out to do something to help their child that they'd never have done for themselves?

Maybe we should make lists of things we've done that seemed easy to us that others might find risky. Could be more jumping than we think.

Everyone! Thank you so much for your kind posts. There is something about writing that makes you more naked than naked dreams - so thanks for being enthusiastic and supportive. All the comments here are so insightful. I want to continue with every conversation thread .. I am struck by so many things, but the one that sticks out is that perhaps I was wrong about women not being risk-takers. I've never had kids, so I don't usually think about giving birth or raising kids. However, it just occurred to me that of all the people I know, only the women have repeatedly, voluntarily taken a risk that could have meant death. How did I not see it? Amazing! It makes me wonder if women don't actually have a deep reservoir of risk-taking ability that gets tapped into all the time. Huh...I amend my thoughts...we should be the best risk-takers of all...right??? Thanks again - I"m invigorated!

So enjoyed your article Liz!!! Looking forward to seeing you at Christmas!! A chance that Joe might go to BYU - Provo in Jan!!!

What an enjoyable post! The biggest risk I've *yet* taken was to start my own business - an investment firm. I named it Coraticum Asset Management because "coraticum" is the Latin for "courage", as I knew I would need that courage to start and continue such an endeavor. For those of you who know Latin-based languages you can see that embedded in cor-aticum is the idea of the heart ("corazon" / "coeur" / "cuore" are all "heart" in Spanish, French, and Italian). Therefore in the etymological roots for courage there is a sense of (1) things that come from our core/heart, and (2) things that have a moral rightness in them. I liked this context for courage because I am motivated to do hard things, not because they are hard and I want to prove something, but because they involve my inner-core sense of rightness.

The funny thing is that before reading this post I often have explained that, because I manage other people's investments, the courage I'm referencing by the name is that sense of doing what is "difficult-but-right" rather than communicating that I'm willing to jump off a cliff with their money. :) Perhaps after reading the post, I need to pick a new contrasting metaphor...

Captain Elizabeth! I am jealous of your MBA! Also, I miss exploring terrible movies like Dance Flick in your fabulously equipped basement suite!

Like so many others, I really loved this perspective you shared. It quite literally blew some much needed wind into my sails.

Elizabeth- I loved reading about your journey and your current adventure pursing your MBA. I've noticed in my own life that much of my ability to take risks comes from my experience as an athlete and I can imagine your development of courage has been a result of your piano performance experiences. I think this really highlights the point that young women need to be encouraged to try things outside of their comfort zone and so they feel comfortable doing uncomfortable things. Secondly I think it's equally important for all women to find others they admire who have conquered unfamiliar waters and who can help lead the way. I think you have a wealth of experience that you'll be able to share with many around you.

Elizabeth - how fun to see another Southern Albertan on here! I remember you from high school - I'm an LCIer and lived around the corner from your cousins the Tanners (I was a MacLennan then). As for the real purpose of commenting - I admire your willingness to embrace change. I have a bit of an addiction to change, and have moved at least every 2 years since high school. My challenge now is to accept that at some point I may be in one place for a long time (like 5 years! or more) and I need to find the joy and excitement in that.

Kristy - great to hear from you! It seems like ages ago - but I remember you easily (memories coming back as I type), not least because we emailed about consulting a few years ago (do you remember?). Thanks for reading and commenting. Good to know there are other change-ophiles out there. I appreciate your sentiments about settling down - that's something I need to work on. Finding the balance between change and putting down roots...something to think about. Anyway, great to hear from you again.

so i'm a bit late on the uptake here...and i hate to get all southern alberta on you....but i think we've met!

i'm pretty sure we shared high tea at rutherford house in edmonton probably about ten years ago. irony of ironies, i live in utah now too. i'd love to reconnect and hear about how you went from musican to writer to business student. tres cool. anyway maybe get whitney to forward you my email if you are interested!

ps i just loved your discussion about how you've moved around a lot. i so relate. in fact probably all the females in my family relate. you see, i come from a long line of women who live by the adage: "moving is like shock therapy, it works every time!"

(except when it doesn't....but other are problems for another day).

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About this blog

  • When I took a sabbatical from Wall Street to pursue a different dream and help others live theirs, I learned that women in the U.S. may be placated, even pampered, but because we aren't dreaming, we are also desperate and depressed. Drawing on a variety of sources, ranging from academic studies to pop culture, dare to dream encourages us to dream. And then to act on our dreams.


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