Be brave, they say. It’s life-affirming, they say. Has your life ever been affirmed by being brave, friend? I think mine has…

Disclaimer: in the process of writing this, I realised how puny my own courage is compared to that of people going through actual things in their lives. I realise my own privilege, absolutely. This was just a period in time I had to stand up for myself, for what I wanted, and the courage of doing so changed my life. Maybe there’s a sprinkling of inspiration you can get from this, at least I hope so. But I take my hat off to anyone doing actually hard things.

So, to put it in context, before this whole yoga thing I was working at a job in an office in Leeds. I was an admin assistant for a media agency. I’d been there about two weeks when my new boss told me I didn’t wear enough make-up for work, and that I didn’t dress smart enough (I wore a collar and brogues for god’s sake. How smart did she want me to be!?).

When the rest of the office invited me out for a welcome drink, she told me I had to work late (those staples wouldn’t arrange themselves!). She would ask me to walk to the station to buy train tickets for her boss, and I’d be like, “f*ck you Wendy” every step there, every step back. Not that I minded being out of the office. At least I couldn’t smell her over-perfumed superiority complex.

So how does this relate to being brave?

Well, after one particularly memorable therapy session where I was told to stop being so immature about the job I hated (apparently the adult thing isn’t flipping my boss the bird from behind the toilet wall on my extended bathroom breaks), I quickly realised I wasn’t living my best life. So, upon this realisation, I asked for a meeting with Wendy. It was arranged for 10am the following day.

I got in early – around 8am – and I was watching the clock. I was sweating. I rearranged my stationary drawer approximately thirty-four times. I lined up my paperclips. And, slowly, slowly, 9:59am arrived.

I got up from my desk and headed for the meeting room. Sat down. Faffed with my skirt. Sweated some more. Then, about 5-minutes later (of course she was late), she storms in like a woman who really doesn’t have time to speak with someone as lowly and pathetic as me.

I imagine she was a bit more polite than this, but my memory tells me she blurted, “what do you want, then, you squirmy little worm?!”.

This is where I was brave. I told her she was a terrible boss, that this company was a terrible company to work for, that she undermined me, made me feel small, undervalued, under-appreciated, and useless. That she could stick her crappy job – I was off to work for myself. I stuck up for myself in, what I hoped, was a mature, unemotional way. I did the right thing. And I was shaking the entire time.

I’m pretty sure she told me they were better off without me and my lack of make-up and formal suiting and I could just bloody leave. So I did (and yes, I probably nicked some pens, not super proud of that).

But I was brave. And it was damn scary. Because, incase you’re wondering: no, I didn’t have another job or any prospects to lean on. My only plan was to start my own business as an employee engagement consultant. And yes, that business failed. Another story for another time.

So that was my last full-time job. And now, every morning I write about how damn grateful I am for the work I get to do with The Yoga Revolution. Every. Single. Morning. And I thank all that’s holy I arranged that meeting. What if it never happened? What if I got too scared? Would I still be working there? What about all the people I’ve helped in my classes since?

Being brave doesn’t have to look like telling your boss to f*ck off. Maybe it’s going swimming when you feel too fluffy in your swimsuit (you’re just fine, by the way). Maybe it’s starting something new and being bad at it. Maybe it’s making an apology you need to make. Or having a conversation you need to have.

The takeaway: Just be brave, friend. Be vulnerable. And do the thing. Life is *way* sweeter when we do.

And, especially when it comes to quitting a crappy job, it’s also amazingly satisfying.

Here’s to being brave, dear reader. You got this.

Chloe - TYR Founder & Joyful Living Coach

POSTED: 04/09/2023

Chloe is a yoga teacher, mindfulness guide, and joyful living coach, and she thinks the meaning of life is probably to be as happy as possible.

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