I had to look up the definition of brave to make sure I answered this correctly. The dictionary said:
Noun: “a person who is ready and willing to endure danger or pain”
Verb: “endure unpleasant conditions or behavior without showing fear”
Using that definition, I have a story that is going to be radically different than I’m sure anyone else will come up with, but here goes.
A few years ago, my company went through a security breach. It was one of the worst times of my life. It took a huge emotional tool on me, which I wasn’t able to portray at work – because I was the person who was responsible for handling the public-facing cleanup and keeping that part moving.
At the same time, I was in the middle of a transition to implement a new system for the company to use a new tool to better support the customers. Not only were we facing our highest volume of support requests ever, we were doing it at a transition time between databases.
After a month of this, we started to work into a routine and got things back under some modicum of control. Things were getting back to a new normal, when, walking into the office one morning, I fell and broke my foot.
Just like that, I tripped on a cobblestone and – crack.
It was the type of pain that brings instant tears, even through the shock.
I tried to stand, and couldn’t, so I called for help and my husband and my boss came rushing down, hoisted me into my car and whisked me off to the hospital.
This was extremely inconvenient timing.
The transition wasn’t complete to the new system.
The company as a whole was still at a sort of precarious state from the breach a month prior – I couldn’t figuratively “go down” and leave them.
So I made a choice.
I would get through the healing process without any medicine or anything to cloud my ability to think. I’d be there for them, and wouldn’t let this little injury stop me.
No painkillers. No herbal remedies. Nothing but ice packs and heating pads and that awful boot while my bones knit back together.
I even managed to make it back to the office within 2 hours of the whole incident, so I only had to cancel one meeting overall. I did need help getting to the conference room, because I had no way to carry my laptop with my crutches… Oops!
A curious side effect of this that I hadn’t anticipated was that when your body is in a constant pain state is that it doesn’t sleep, and you are in a heightened state of awareness. I managed to finish the database transition sooner than expected 🙂
Something else I learned – Bravery and stupidity can look very similar to outside observers. It would have been incredibly easy at any point for me to give in and take painkillers, but I would have been abandoning an amazing group of people who were already struggling to come back from their lowest point.
People need leaders. They need people to look up to and emulate.
When you are a leader, you need to model the behavior you want your team to have. I made it very clear throughout that entire experience that I did not expect people to work 24 hours (as I was doing) or to not take painkillers. Etc etc – I even told them that if it was any other time I would have totally been taking 3 weeks in bed. The lesson I wanted them to learn was that they could count on me (and should count on each other) when things are awful.
So, that’s my story about being brave. It’s not rescuing animals from a war zone or running into a burning building, but it means something to me.
Originally Posted: https://www.quora.com/Whats-the-bravest-thing-you-have-ever-done
Originally Posted On: 2016-03-04