When you let fear overpower you, you stop living. Use that fear instead and choose to live a brave life. In this episode, Dolores Hirschmann sits down for a discussion on bravery and fear with leadership coach Heather Vickery. Dolores talks about why people let fear overpower them and what you can do to choose bravery every day. Listen and be inspired by Heather’s message and learn more about being brave.
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Choose To Live A Brave Life With Heather Vickery
I met Heather in 2019 at an event with Ali Brown and I really loved her from the first moment. She is so passionate about the work that she does for helping people become brave but not from a place of seeking bravery but from a place of understanding what they’re afraid of and leveraging that understanding to conquer their fears in some way, to overcome their fears and become brave. Don’t miss this episode with Heather because I know it’s going to be packed with amazing insights and ideas on how to live that brave life.
I had an amazing time with Heather. I hadn’t seen her for about a year but she’s doing such amazing work in her business. She’s launching her first book. She is growing her team and she’s tapping into her ideal clients, which are business owners, entrepreneurs and helping them understand their fears so they can journey in the path of becoming and being brave. Her story is inspiring. She has a great methodology with the word brave and I think you would love some of the tips and insights she shares in our episode together. Don’t miss it.
Heather, it’s so good to see you again. I feel like we hugged each other for the first and only time in 2019 at Ali Brown’s event and then we’ve talked a few times and we’ve seen each other on Zoom. How have you been?
Those were the days back when we could go. I’m starting to go out and do things in person again but thoughtfully and slowly, good. 2020 was strangely a really difficult year but a great growth year for my business. I don’t know about you but for me, whenever I think of something that happened “last year”, I’m always talking about 2019. 2020 was like the missing year.
It is funny that it’s such a milestone year. 2020, there are movies around it and that it was such strange because it was good for some, not so good for some others but it was definitely atypical. Let’s jump in to tell us about you and I was asked the clarity journey and it’s like “the clarity journey” because people on the outside feel that we have all our lives, for lack of a better word, together. How did you get to now in your work?
I don’t know if it’s a simple question for anyone. Much of my life and my work at this moment in time stems from making the personal decision to essentially burn my life to the ground and rebuild it. I came out of the closet after a decade of marriage. I got a divorce. I closed a thriving, successful, luxury event planning business that I’d had for eighteen years and pivoted into speaking, training, coaching and writing, which are all things I’ve been doing as part of my event business but I completely closed that element.
We can’t have clarity without reassessment, reflection, and resilience.
Clarity is such an interesting word choice. We can’t have clarity without what I call the three R’s, which are reassessment, reflection and resilience. It’s part of my BRAVE Method. It wasn’t until I started thoughtfully and intentionally doing that reflection, reframing the moments in my life, how do I want to feel, who do I want to be and then getting up and doing it again but on my terms that I had any clarity. I think I was going down the path that was set in front of me. I wasn’t an entrepreneur. Maybe that’s the only thing I did that was bucking the normal tradition.
I realized very quickly out of college that while I worked well with people, I didn’t work well for people and I didn’t want to and I didn’t. I did a little for a couple of years and then I started my own business. Even then, this is where our stories are somewhat similar, yours and mine. We talked about this when you were on The Brave Files Podcast, which is my show. My business, while I was married, was very part-time. It was successful. It was really successful but I wasn’t working 40, 50 hours a week. I wasn’t providing for my family doing that.
All of a sudden, I got a divorce and because I was the one who wanted the divorce for all the reasons, for better, for worse, I said no to alimony. There’s child support but no alimony. All of a sudden, my business needed to provide for my family just like your situation and it did. People want me to tell them how and I’m like, “I don’t know how.”
There’s some how’s. In any business owner, when you have to scale fast, there is that clarity on non-negotiable, “This is what I do for people,” and you communicate that powerfully. In non-negotiable, you have some systems you start to delegate and you stop the creative mind of the curse of the entrepreneur, which is good but it’s hard and for a little bit, you say, “I’m not going to create a new course. I’m going to sell more of what I have.” You have a more of rinse and repeat systematized way. Otherwise, there’s no way you can survive.
You’re right about that. Of course, there are systems but I will say that it was at that time that I transitioned from one business to the other. I was building, I was creating new things and I was learning to do things that not only did I not know how to do, I never imagined myself doing. I was learning, creating, serving all at the same time.
When I say I don’t know how, emotionally and physically I don’t really know how. We just do. You clarify what you want, you create a plan, you start and it changes. It’s changed so much in the course of the last several years. The journey has been fascinating and sometimes it felt great and sometimes it felt awful but I never doubted that it was the right journey and the right path.
Let’s talk about this. What is your work? What do you do and for whom?
I am a success and leadership coach. I specifically support mostly entrepreneurs but I do work with some corporate clients as well. This is what sets me apart from a lot of coaches and I have a lot of coaches and I love a lot of coaches. I work with people to identify what they’re afraid of, to understand their fears, to leverage those fears once they have the knowledge and to use them to create intentional bravery.
Brave is really my business. Everything that I do is surrounded by this concept of choosing bravely. When we choose bravely on purpose, I have discovered both for myself and for all of my clients, we start to choose bigger things. When we recognize our choices are brave, we get a little gutsier. We have bigger wins and bigger payoffs and my favorite part is it’s absolutely contagious to the people around us.
Here’s what I love about your succinctness and clarity in this episode and it’s that a lot of people will say to me, “I help people figure out their purpose. I help people figure out what they want to go. I help figure out what is their unstoppable life.” Nice but hard to do. I remember being in a meeting that I wasn’t happy with my current situation work-wise, this is many years ago and what led me to coaching at the time and someone asked me what do I want.
He said, “What do you want?” He brought me to tears because I knew I didn’t want the situation I was in. I didn’t want that but you know what I wanted and so what you’re saying is we are very clear usually in our fears. We’re not clear on our biggest path because our fears are so clear that we don’t even have to give the mental energy to dream anything, not even big, to dream for ourselves.
Our fears are what keep us small and stuck, this idea of not even giving yourself permission to imagine anything different. I don’t even want to use the word, more but anything different than what you’ve got. This clarity for me came as I was in an unhealthy loveless marriage to the wrong gender. There were a lot of layers to that. There was this very defining moment in my life. I have four daughters and they were pretty young at the time. The youngest was a baby. We were sitting together, it was a Saturday morning and we were having breakfast.
At that time, every decision I made was fear-based. What will cause less trauma? I won’t have as much conflict. I won’t have to talk to people. I can just, “Let’s do this. It won’t hurt as much.” I felt myself physically getting smaller and smaller. I looked at the girls at the table and I thought, “What would I tell them if they came to me in this situation? If they were feeling the way I’m feeling, what would I want for them?” I knew instantly it wasn’t like, “Suck it up. You made your bed now. Live with that.” I would say, “Go do these things. The world deserves you to play big. You get to take up space. You get to be honest, authentic and vulnerable. Make this work for you.”
When we choose bravely on purpose, we start to choose bigger things. When we recognize our choices are brave, we get a little gutsier.
At that moment, I thought, “Crap.” If that’s what I want them to do, I have to show them how to do it. That’s what I had to do but it unleashed me. It switched me like that from fear-based to limitless possibility. It switched me from fear to brave. If my wife were doing this, it’s to show them that they can do it too. Let’s figure out how.
There’s no turning back. The moment you say, “I will never again make a choice out of fear,” which is what I’m hearing you’re saying, what happened next? The moment you say, “I will not pick a vegetable, food, car, trip, person or client.” Sometimes we’ll pick a client because of our fear because it’s not the client we want, we know that but there’ll going to be money, which is fear. How does life look like if you are literally going to your biggest fears?
First, I want to say it would be a total lie to say that 100% of the time, at every moment, at every second that I avoid fear. I’m afraid all the time and sometimes I catch myself making decisions out of fear. When you said food, that might be it. One morning, I wanted to grab a bagel but I grabbed a nectarine but the good news was the nectarine was delicious. I felt better about that decision but like, “The bagel, that’s going to sit on me all day. I don’t do well with gluten.”
That’s a silly example but the answer to that question is I have a method and it’s the method that I use to get myself out of that miserable, small, fear-based space and was able to create this shift, get a divorce, buy my own car on my own house for the first time in my adult life, in my freaking 40s. It was the first time that I was able to run a business on my terms that I loved. I could pitch to clients because I loved what I was doing and I believed what I was doing. The method is now I call it the BRAVE Method.
At the time, it was the things that I was doing but now it has a name and it even has a book that’s coming out on October 28th. BRAVE is an acronym. Everything I do is about brave. Brave is my business. Brave stands for boundaries, the three R’s I mentioned, reassessment, reframing, resilience, action and accountability, vulnerability and then expand and empower.
The first four steps can and do go in every order, whatever order you need to take you to the next step of the process. When you do those four things, you end at expand and empower. Choosing bravely allows us to embody expansion and to be empowered, which I have to say is inside work. No one empowers you but you.
I don’t call myself an influencer by any means but we do influence people. In that rule, I love the quote from Marianne Williamson is that, “Who are we to play small and not give others a chance to see someone else play big and therefore get inspired?” She says it’s a light that scares us, not our darkness because fear is comfy.
I love that you said that, that fear of the light, that fear of success. Brave only sucks before you do it. That’s the key. I’ve been using these radical terms, which I love. I was at podcast movement. It hit me and I’m like, “I’m creating a revolution of people who are choosing every day brave.” We start by identifying small things that we wouldn’t have normally qualified as brave. Some days, we were talking before we started about mental health in children and there are some days, the bravest thing we can do is get out of bed.
Some days, it’s make a phone call, write a pitch or show up on an interview, pick fruit or maybe not. Maybe the brave thing is to pick a bagel because you haven’t eaten in two days, whatever it is. We’re redefining what it means to be brave or taking it away from this big, massive action that we’ve identified as, “That thing is so brave.”
We then start to recognize there are so many moments, hundreds of moments throughout our day where we consciously and thoughtfully go, “I’m going to pick this.” That is going to feel brave, going to allow it to feel brave because we start that train. That’s where we get into we choose bigger, we win bigger and it’s contagious. The more you do it, the less it sucks.
I love that you said that, “Yes, I made the choice that day at the breakfast table,” or at least an internal choice that changed the trajectory of your life and every day, I practice it versus, “I live a great brave life.” I’m the queen of clarity some people tell me and some days I’m the queen of confusion.
I confuse me and people in my life. It’s a practice but like clarity, happiness or balance, it’s not a destination. Brave is not the destination. It’s that, “Am I leaning towards that?” It’s that you’re always walking towards it or away from it. Am I walking in the space of bravery? Am I walking, thinking, acting or feeling from the fear place? It’s an energy and it’s two words, not a rival.
Brave is energy. It’s a beautiful way to describe it, it’s constant and that sounds terrifying but it’s constant awareness. I have a book coming out and I told you. The book is called F*CK FEARLESS: Making The Brave Leap. Let me explain why. It’s because we have been fed, culturally, this notion that we should want to be fearless, that we should want to live without fear, that it will make us better or stronger. It’s not true and it’s not viable either.
Our fears are what keep us small and stuck.
Fear is a natural human emotion. It saves our lives. It keeps us from walking in the middle of the street instead of on the sidewalk. We want to normalize fear. We don’t want to be ashamed of it. We don’t want to be afraid of it. We don’t want to hide from it. We also don’t want it to own us. I think fearlessness is for sociopaths and three-year-olds and I call BS on it. I am a big personality. I love the F word a lot and so I might as well go there with the book but the idea is I want you to pick bravery over fear and over fearlessness.
Bravery is like black and white. You cannot have white without black. If you become fearless, meaning you remove fear from your life then you remove bravery because chances are you’re living in fear.
It’s not possible and the people who say, “I’m so fearless,” it’s a misuse of words. It means they’re gutsy. It means they’re brave. It doesn’t mean they don’t ever have it. There’s so much shame attached to fear externally and internally we feel so bad and a lot of my brave work is around surrender. That’s where I was going with that started with the book. We’re working hard. We’re finishing edits. We’re going to send it to the printer and finalizing the cover.
It’s exciting but I’m going to hit a point where as far as the actual book itself goes, it’s time to surrender. It’s no longer within my control. What’s in my control at that point is getting my launch team out, how I feel about it, that’s it. My partner had a book launch, which was awesome, it was exciting and she hit bestseller in five categories.
She was so anxiety-ridden and I’m like, “Babe, it’s all done. The work is all finished. All you have to do is celebrate and enjoy.” Celebration is a huge component. I talk about it a lot in the book. It’s a huge component of bravery to me. It’s acknowledging those moments where we’ve chosen bravely, where we’ve done this work, honor ourselves, love ourselves for it and bring the community in because celebration begets celebration. It’s brave.
What are you excited most about in the coming 12 months?
I’m very excited about the book. I don’t know when this is going to air but I don’t know if you know this or no but this day that we’re doing this interview, September 22nd, there are 100 days left in the year 2021. Don’t forget. You can surrender with a plan. Surrender isn’t inaction. It’s detaching yourself from results. For the next 12 months, I have some big stuff coming.
In January 2022, my company, my team and I are producing a two-day event workshop. It’s not a summit, there aren’t a bunch of speakers but we’re teaching The BRAVE Method and we’re doing live coaching, breakouts and everyone’s getting these gorgeous packages with workbooks some swag and some fun things. We want it to be as immersive of an experience as possible for being virtual, which it will still be in January 2022. We are up-leveling my group program, which is called Intentionally Brave Entrepreneurs.
In January 2022, we’re going to have two tracks, one for new entrepreneurs and one for experienced entrepreneurs, which we had previously been focusing on experienced, now we’re going to offer a track for both. I’m onboarding three new coaches onto the team. They’ve all gone through my program. It feels excited to talk we’re leaning into that expansion because we have been listening to what the community wants. We have been asking good questions, getting lots of clarity on what’s going to feel good and how do we build this. If we want this result, what things need to happen?
We’re in this huge planning phase now. It’s exciting and it’s terrifying because my team has tripled so we’re onboarding, which is much work. I keep reminding myself like this is painful because growth is painful. There are many SOP’s, I know but then we’re creating them because they’re jobs that I and the one other person on my team were doing. We didn’t have the SOP’s because we were just doing the things.
Now we have so many but it’s a growth process that’s uncomfortable, painful and brave but I know we’re so close. We’re just weeks away from getting this part done and having things up and running so that we can move to the next phase. I like to remind everybody that I do this too. The things that I coach, train and mentor on. I do this too. I walk this walk. I get you. I feel your pain and it’s worth it. We can do hard things.
What is one action you want your readers to walk away with?
I would love to have your readers look at their day and think about which things could feel brave to them that they might not have previously identified as brave and then celebrate those choices.
Where can people find you?
You can surrender with a plan. It’s not surrendering. It isn’t inaction. It’s just detaching yourself from results.
The website is VickeryAndCo.com. I’m @VickeryAndCo on Instagram and Twitter. You can find me on LinkedIn although I’m not there very often, just full disclosure. Facebook at Vickery and Co. I’m easy to find. My kids think I’m a celebrity because if they type in my name, I pop up on Google but it’s really just good SEO.
Any parting thoughts?
I said something that I believe and I mean and you resonated with it. We can do hard things. I want to say now we are all experiencing collective trauma and we’re all still doing hard things in the midst of the collective trauma. Sometimes, the bravest thing you can do is nothing. Pause, rest, take a break, say no, be kind. You can do hard things but you don’t have to do them every second of every day and that’s brave.
Thank you so much, Heather, for showing up.
Thank you so much for having me.
- Heather – Heather Vickery
- The Brave Files Podcast
- F*CK FEARLESS: Making The Brave Leap
- Instagram – Heather Vickery
- Twitter – Heather Vickery
- LinkedIn – Heather Vickery
- Vickery and Co – Facebook
- www.vickeryandco.com – Website
- www.vickeryandco.com/BraveonPurpose – Free Community
- https://go.vickeryandco.com/book/ – Book
About Heather Vickery
Heather Vickery is an award-winning entrepreneur, business owner, and success coach. But Heather isn’t just a savvy businesswoman. She’s an inspiration.
After a major life transformation and divorce, her world was turned upside down. Suddenly the mother of four had the freedom to be her most authentic self, which empowered her with the confidence she needed to repair, rebuild, and relearn who she was. Today, Heather leverages her entrepreneurial skills and expertise to coach individuals towards greater personal and professional fulfillment through Vickery and Co., her transformational coaching practice. A celebrated public speaker, Heather inspires audiences and empowers attendees with the tools they need to live bold and meaningful lives through her story of personal bravery, perseverance, and resilience. Heather’s approach helps clients leverage fear and turn it into intentional bravery!
Heather is the author of Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus and Grow Grateful: A Gratitude Journal for Kids and Families. She’s also the executive producer and host of The Brave Files Podcast. A strong believer in strengthening her community, Heather is active in many charitable organizations. She is obsessed with Musical Theater and loves to travel.