• Kirsten Johnston


Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.

So wrote Emma Donoghue in her novel Room. A shout-out to Alex Mathers, UK-based writer, coach and illustrator, for bringing such a fabulous quote to my attention in his book, Joining the Dots.

Everything is not always as it seems on the outside. We know that. Sometimes such a situation is troublesome and, quite rightly, we are becoming more aware of how much we don’t know about the things going on inside people’s heads. The outside may seem structurally sound while the inside is disintegrating.

Sometimes, though, deliberately donning a chain-mail suit made of links of slightly-bolder-than-we-are-actually-feeling actions can allow us access to thoughts, experiences and opportunities from which our natural tendencies might keep us. ‘Putting ourselves out there’ is a requirement of the artistic life, and of almost every other endeavour, and it’s nice to have the protection of a little faux courage to make it achievable and not crushing should it not go as we’d like.

Scared need not define us. The success of Susan Jeffers’ book, Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, is testament to the fact that people struggle with the often uncomfortable relationship between feeling and doing. As onlookers, we see the doing aspect and can only guess at the feeling behind it, but it is the doing that achieves things and, for progress in our fields, that’s what we require.

None of this is new. It’s just been brought back to front row and centre. Occasionally, I need a reminder.

Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing. 

Until later,


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