GET UNCOMFORTABLE, TAKE RISKS: How to Practice Bravery with Caroline Paul


Por: Jonathan Nguyen 
Jonathan is a copywriter and a specialist in Communications and Public Relations. For more articles like these visit his blog: The Honest Human


Paul was one of the first women to work for the San Francisco Fire Department — a job that inspired her first work of nonfiction, Fighting Fire. Her latest book, The Gutsy Girl, uses stories from her own life as a gutsy woman to inspire girls to break the rules, take risks and accept seemingly insurmountable challenges.
Before launching her career as a writer, Caroline Paul embarked on a long list of unlikely adventures, ranging from flying experimental planes to whitewater rafting unexplored rivers in Borneo and Australia.


Is fear a bad thing? It is neither bad or good because it has helped humans survive. But too much fear can paralyze anyone from exploring the unknown. For Caroline Paul, she had to learn to overcome fear throughout her firefighting career and beyond.


Caroline Paul

Fortunately, Caroline had parents who supported her appetite for adventure, which was almost a “laissez-faire” parenting style. This gave her the opportunity to explore avenues that most girls of her generation would shy away from.


However, she was no stranger to fear as it plagued her for a long time. With practice, courage can be learned as long as we remain vigilant to be uncomfortable. There is no shame in fear because it is part of the human experience. But it is our responsibility to take action and not to allow the amygdala to derail us from becoming agents in our own Journey.

As a woman, she is tagged with gender stereotypes and expectations from birth. The long-standing tradition of big strong men rescuing damsels in distress is ubiquitous in pop culture and old world orders. Regardless of these obstacles, she is a strong proponent for girls to be more “gutsy” as Caroline explains in this eventful episode.

Her station responded to a burning building with a four-person squad whose mission was to find and extinguish the stem of the fire. As her crew trod through the building, a flash-over erupted and hurled them down the hallway. Caroline was paralyzed with fear for a millisecond, but she quickly recovered and rushed over to her fellow colleagues.

Although the flash-over petrified Caroline, she was more scared of fear itself because “you can be scared, that’s ok but you still have to take action if it’s necessary,” Paul says.

In her experience, it is often the unassuming and smaller firefighters who are the bravest because they have to compensate for their lack of strength; A strong constitution is powerless without courage. Although girls have been acculturated to be fearful at a young age, they can practice at being brave. It takes baby steps and a strong support network.

If you’re someone with great influence, use that power to EMPOWER girls of all ages. Encourage them to take risks, to roll in the dirt, to be whom they see in the mirror because, as she says, it is “time to adopt a paradigm of bravery instead of a paradigm of fear.”

If you think you have to be the grandmaster of truth, justice, and wisdom, you don’t have to be. A few words of encouragement is enough. Try these tips:

– Encourage them to explore new horizons, physically and mentally.
– Expose them to women in leadership roles.
– Be truthful about gender inequality because they will find out the answer eventually.
– Buy the book, Gusty Girl, and give it someone who needs it.
– Be vulnerable; this may be challenging but expressing your fear fosters a deeper connection.

Each case is unique, and not every tip here will cover all bases. But the takeaway from these tips is to foster an inclusive environment that enables girls to become masters of their own universe. To take risks because bravery is not exclusive to the boys.





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