Blogging and the Courage to Grow

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt, the Man in the Arena. Delivered at the Sorbonne (Paris) on April 23rd, 1910.

Sometimes in our lives, moments will come when we have to step into the arena and show up despite our fears. As Brené Brown shares in her book Daring Greatly, being brave and courageous leads to authenticity and being true to ourselves, which leads to more sincere relationships, deeper connection with the world, and more happiness. But it means bravery. It means showing up in the arena. It means blood, sweat and tears. It means facing the other, and facing yourself.

For me, one big step into the arena and being real in my life was this blog. A friend asked me a few years ago, when I was heading to Iceland and Scotland if I would keep a blog to post pictures of my travel adventures. I wasn’t sure I wanted to–this seemed time-consuming, daunting, and a little outside my comfort zone. I decided to give it a whirl for that vacation. I set up my blog just before leaving (I might have even been at the airport already) and simply called my blog Away in Autumn, because it was quite literally October and I was going away. The name has stuck and the blog has continued. Now I write about travels still, but also many other passions, including intentional community, creativity, running, sweet & savoury, animal love, lifestyle and daily inspiration, and a new topic, to be announced soon.

For all you bloggers out there, I encourage you to keep going. It takes courage to write about who we are in honest ways. It takes risk to ask others to read along with us, and participate in our stories–our raw, personal, and sacred stories. It takes incredible patience to build an audience and to keep wondering, is anyone out there? I have been so encouraged by those who follow me and send me words of affirmation and comments on my blog stories–thank you! You have no idea what this means to me.

In the words of Brené Brown, “vulnerability isn’t good or bad: It’s not what we call a dark emotion, nor is it always a light, positive experience. Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. To foreclose on our emotional life out of a fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living.” (Daring Greatly, pg. 33)

To fully live and transform ourselves into authentic people means to be vulnerable, and being vulnerable takes courage. Thank you for following along with my blog, and I hope you find the courage to follow your dreams wherever they take you. In the meantime, if you are interested in following my blog, or receiving a free giveaway of this amazing book, please keep scrolling down.


For a chance to win a copy of Daring Greatly, simply subscribe to our Away in Autumn email list in the top right column of this blog. The giveaway ends on the last day of April, and then I will randomly choose one name, and the book will be mailed to you! Once you subscribe with your email address, you will receive an email for you to confirm your desire to subscribe. Say yes, and you will be added to the giveaway names and also receive some inspirational freebies!

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Some stories from home, some from travel adventures (usually in autumn), some happening in community, friendship and faith, and some about the vulnerable, lonely and excluded. To honour them because they have changed me for the better and taught me how to love more fully and be loved more fully. Some days are great, some good, some not always good. But overall, it's been a beautiful journey so far, and I feel more like myself every day. -- Debra, writer / photographer / blogger / traveller

2 thoughts on “Blogging and the Courage to Grow

  1. Hi Debra–I’ve read/heard so many people recommending Brene Brown’s books. If were going to start with one of them, is this the best place to start?? Have you read others? And– so glad for this post. It does take a certain daring to write honestly. And there’s not always to response you hope for. But I’m thankful you’re doing it– with all you have to say about the world around us. You’re a bright clear true voice. blessings. xo

    1. Hello Rhonda, thanks for your comments here. So glad you enjoyed the recommendation. Brené Brown has really inspired me. Yes, there are many books. I would recommend starting with Daring Greatly, yes. Then I would also recommend an audio collection (I got mine from the Library, called The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings on Authenticity, Connection and Courage. It’s a series of her speaking, and I loved it. Finally I read Gifts of Imperfection, and enjoyed it, but wasn’t as “wowed” by it. Rising Strong I have not read yet, but soon to start her newest: Braving the Wilderness! Hope you enjoy her and thank you for encouraging my voice–one that used to be much smaller, and is learning slowly to speak out more clearly. 🙂 xo

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