5 Ways To Move Forward As The Heroine Of Your Own Story

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mirrored image of strong woman with the sun behind her

The definition of "heroine" is distinguished by courage or noble achievements. I prefer it to "hero," which means protector or defender.

Realistic expectations that see being a heroine as a process versus an act or characteristic are supported by Dorothy Norman.

An American photographer, writer, and advocate for social change, she said, "Even though the heroic quest is never totally realized, the very envisioning of it ─ like our attempt to embark on it ─ comprises one of (wo)man’s most noble acts of imagination and faith."

In your life, you can learn how to be your own heroine.

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You have choices, most of the time.

A heroine can be anybody and do anything considered heroic, by public or private standards; that includes physically and mentally demanding actions and challenging, continuing processes.

You may seem an ordinary person, but every woman has unique gifts.

Let them emerge when circumstances or your own inspiration provide a chance to be and do something extraordinary or special, by conventional or unconventional criteria.

You have an abundance of chances.

The contexts and situations for heroism vary, from work and family life to accidents and war.

At work, possibilities lie within projects, programs, and policies that benefit others — they often involve responsible risks and difficult commitments or goals. Or they could include entirely new efforts and visions for progress.

Formal and informal leaders in any situation have opportunities to be heroic.

Problems and issues, as well as challenges and opportunities, pop up periodically. And they can be sought or serendipitous.

In order to be the heroine of your own story, you can create opportunities for your heroism through your responses to the following 5 ways.

1. Name one or two important matters with meaning to you that will inspire your manageable action.

2. How can you assist someone you care about to make concrete, practical progress in their life?

3. What specific resources such as time, insight, or skills will you use to benefit someone or a group in your personal or professional life?

4. Where do you see an opportunity to make a sustainable difference to which you can and will contribute?

5. What's holding you back from starting a quest that’s significant to you? What one catalytic, manageable step will you take now? And with whom will you join to create a plan that inspires consistent action?

Mark out your paths ahead by choosing any of the ways above and adapt them to authentic approaches you can and will take.

What other ideas come to mind that would help you move in a direction to further develop and express your strengths for your own benefit and others?

If you see being a heroine as a process of becoming, as is courage, both will be more accessible and viable for you.

Take, for example, Beverly’s situation. Her young daughter has epilepsy, yet to be predictably managed. She had breast cancer and her mother will soon die of it.

With family support, she works as a nurse, caring for others in jeopardy.

Beverly is not only committed to her patients. She also brings creativity, generosity of spirit, and knowledge, inspiring family, colleagues, and friends to do as well as they can.

When you ask her how she's doing, she isn't pessimistic but is straightforward and frank about where things stand.

Her gentle sense of humor helps most everyone deal better with the messes and absurdities of health care and other aspects of living.

Beverly is not a martyr, either. She takes good care of herself, enjoying pleasures and good company.

Much of her strength comes from such smart choices and balanced relationships wherein she’s open and can express her feelings and concerns.

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Your range of opportunities to be a heroine.

Beverly is a heroine as much as the policymaker who fights through bureaucratic snarls to promote a beneficial social program. So, too, is anyone who manages physical disability to live a meaningful life.

Other examples include the owner and participants in an organization that rebuilds after a fire, the team that develops an effective vaccine, and the policewoman who intervenes in a dangerous domestic dispute.

Yet, not everyone’s life contains such concrete chances to be heroic. More likely, daily routines just take over. Formal titles, roles, and responsibilities as well as expectations feel set.

Opportunities for deviating responsibly, let alone being a heroine, seem constrained by experience and expectations.

But, happens if you gave yourself or another woman leeway to show unsuspected heroic capacities?

Imagine a range of outcomes if you showed a greater level of trust, explored a possible dream, and were willing to flex your strengths.

"Too much of a risk," you might say.

"No time, anyway."

"Failure is almost certain."

"Currently comfortable balancing acts could be ruined or sabotaged."

If any of these views apply, what kind of guidance or training will you provide yourself or another person to minimize possible negative outcomes?

The bottom line, as Dorothy Norman said, is that the very envisioning of the quest is a noble act.

Convert limiting routines and comfortable habits into positive progress.

If you feel uncomfortable about doing something challenging to yourself or supporting someone else to do so— providing it’s not truly dangerous — that’s probably a good sign that something worthwhile awaits.

Fear and anxiety can be cues, as well as barriers, to moving ahead.

Heroines operate on a variety of levels and have a range of abilities at hand or are available to develop.

There's no one or right way to be one. But authenticity and commitment are key.

So, start becoming the heroine of your own life today.

Collaborate with someone to share and strengthen the often nonlinear process with patience and good humor. Let go of limiting routines and assumptions in favor of opening and pruning possibilities and opportunities.

Begin your adventures now, using your adaptations of the five ways forward.

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Ruth Schimel Ph.D. is a career and life management consultant and author of the six-book Choose Courage series on Amazon. She guides clients in activating their strengths and making visions for current and future work viable. Find the bonus first chapter of her recently-published seventh book at Happiness and Joy in Work: Preparing for Your Future and benefit from Ruth’s invitation for a free consultation on her website.