Ep 194 – Living Big in the Presence of Brave

While it wears many faces, bravery is one of the most valuable virtues not only in life but in leadership. The presence of bravery leads to do-ers, dreamers, and great leaders. “The willingness to take action amid uncertainty; to do what is right over what’s expedient, and to risk failing and falling short in the process.” Forbes. Contrary to popular belief, bravery is a teachable and learnable skill and as HR leaders we must illustrate this to drive growth and innovation. My guest today has dedicated her life to educating and entertaining international audiences on this topic for over a decade.

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Ep 194: Living Big in the Presence of Brave with Carol Schulte (@carolschulte_)

I’m joined by Carol Schulte, Founder & CEO at The Brave Institute and International Keynote Speaker. She holds a BFA in Theatre Performance, an MA in Communication, and two postgraduate certificates in coaching and mentoring. Living and traveling amongst 30 plus countries she brings a broad perspective and meaning to the presence of brave. Carol shares that in her work she has found that women specifically, for some reason hold themselves back and they play smaller. She says they don’t recognize that they have so much more to give than they often give themselves credit for. She sees so many talented women many playing small or living in what she calls the Dr. Seuss waiting place. These women are waiting to feel good enough, waiting to feel ready and waiting for the perfect moment to magically arrive or all their ducks in a row before they do the thing or take that first step. She says that we wait forever for this perfect moment that doesn’t exist. 

I can absolutely relate to this and I am living this right now in this very moment for the new Workology website launch I’m feverishly trying to troubleshoot and finish. We are hours from going live with this, and just this moment I was thinking about waiting and pushing back the live date because I am so focused on perfection. Right now I’m taking a break from the website updates to work on the transcript of Carol’s podcast episode. This has been a great reminder to write this and re-listen to our podcast conversation. Will we go live tomorrow? I hope so, but this is a good reminder that nothing is perfect, and we can’t wait around for utopia that will never happen. In tech, the says is, “Let’s ship it.” Even a minimum viable product is better than no product at all when it comes to feedback, insights, and being brave.

Bravery Is a Learned Leadership Skill

Carol says that bravery is a learned skill and can be taught. We don’t just wake up one day and are automatically brave. We have to work towards the goal of being more open which she says can happen many different ways. She talks about identifying goals and then trying new things like skydiving, learning guitar, or trying karaoke. When you try something new you learn about how you feel by being brave and you can learn how to practice and work through your feelings and fears. Not everyone is fearless, and I admit there have been different points of my life when I was more fearless than others. Right after my divorce I laughed at fear and was brave every single day, but the more time has passed, I think it’s gotten harder for me and maybe also you to step out and be brave. Maybe there is more to loose or more people who are watching that could be holding you and me back.

We need to be brave enough to use our voice more. And I think that can show up a lot in the workplace, too. Raise your hand and share your ideas, or ask for a raise. - @carolschulte_ #bravery #podcast #hr Click To Tweet

Carol says that small actions lead to small changes and that these are a series of changes and activities that lead to bigger things which are part of bravery as well as personal and transformational change. I love this because so often we look at someone thinking that this one thing they did was so big and amazing, but it’s that series of small things, changes, and actions that go unnoticed that lead to the bigger activity everyone sees. Her coaching and training in this area helps you move past the fear, let go of judgement, and other roadblocks you are experiencing to follow your passions and live your best life.

At the end of Carol’s podcast interview, I committed to three big and bold goals I have for myself. One is to give a Ted Talk, the second is to do more coaching and work with domestic abuse survivors, and the third is to create a membership community for HR leaders personal transformational change. What are your goals to be more brave?


This has been an inspiring discussion and I think we’ve learned a lot about brave presence, as well as its impact on workplace leaders. I’m so pleased to have had the opportunity to learn from Carol and her perspective on Living Big. Carol has created the Brave Institute where she works with thousands of women and men to get out of their comfort zone and into their brave zone; whether that’s surfing, getting a promotion, or achieving the impossible. 

Connect with Carol Schulte. 


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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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