Finding The Courage to Go After Your Dream (And Live Your Truth)

Click here to watch the TEDTalk that inspired this post.

I hate hearing that I'm brave.

Thanks to a boob cancer diagnosis at age 33 - not even 3 years ago - I've heard it a lot.

I didn't feel that way on the inside though. Instead, I felt that I was just dealing the hand I was dealt. I saw my diagnosis and my treatments as something that I had to get through. And since it was "only" Stage One, I never felt like my life was at stake or that I had it "that bad."

To me, that's not bravery. Strength, maybe - choosing to stay strong through a trying time - but not bravery.

I think "bravery" comes in when you choose to do something you don't have to in order to live your fulfilling life.

When you refuse to settle for 20, 30, or 40 years in a career you hate.

When you quit your steady job as an Executive Assistant (a job that makes you physically ill because it's such a mismatch for who you are) to launch your own company that helps people find work they love.

When you encourage your husband to quit his full-time advertising job and, all of a sudden, you're a dual-freelance household.

I've done all these things, and it wasn't until I heard Geena Rocero's TED Talk that I could see and acknowledge my bravery outside of my cancer experience.

Geena didn't have to stand on that stage and talk about her assignment of "boy" when she was born, her win as a transgender pageant queen at 15, her surgery at 19, and what it was like to become a successful model. It would have certainly have been easier to keep her story out of the spotlight, continuing her career without raising questions or the potential hatred it could spurn.

I didn't have to leave Corporate America in the midst of a recession to start a company that was a true expression of myself, or support my husband to become a freelancer, too. It would have certainly have been easier to stay comfortable in my old routines.

By choosing bravery and courage to stand on a TED stage and share her story, Geena is making a difference in her own life by "helping others live their truth without shame and terror." And hopefully, I'm doing the same for creative women who want to get out of their soul-sucking jobs and into work that can feel like play and pay the bills.

That's the funny thing about finding your courage, going after your dreams, and living your truth. It not only allows you to live your life from a fulfilling, authentic, on-purpose place but it lets others know that they can do the same for themselves.

By empowering ourselves with our own unique dreams - and then going after them and sharing our stories along the way - we empower each other.

Let's all plan on breaking out of our own limiting boxes - whatever that means for each and every one of us - once and for all. Whether it's a TED stage, a blog post, or a telephone call, we can all put our courageous stories in the spotlight and make the world a place for our truths to shine.

Ideas are not set in stone. When exposed to thoughtful people, they morph and adapt into their most potent form. TEDWeekends will highlight some of today's most intriguing ideas and allow them to develop in real time through your voice! Tweet #TEDWeekends to share your perspective or email to learn about future weekend's ideas to contribute as a writer.