Real Leaders

Why Bravery Is Your Greatest Power

Patricia Arquette

I just interviewed Oscar winning activist Patricia Arquette on stage at the Women in Technology Summit in Silicon Valley. If you don’t know, Patricia is the powerful and appropriately radical voice for equal pay and equal opportunity for women.

She won an Oscar for her role as a mother in the movie Boyhood. I will tell you more about all that in my next blog but my wife and I just took a few days off to climb around Yosemite so I am going to make this short.

What I learned from Patricia is like almost all of us, she was afraid to do what she most wanted to do. She wanted to be an actress but she didn’t believe she could act. So at a very tender age she decided to be BRAVE for one year. She told me that the way she would know if she was being brave was if she was willing to try harder when she failed.

That year she went ‘all in’ in terms of acting classes, auditions and building a network of contacts. She nearly emotionally drowned in a river of failures but she finally got a movie part and put her whole self into the opportunity. The result . . .  well she said she “stunk.” But nevertheless she ignited a 20-plus year run of steady parts in movies and TV series.

She is still a committed, working actor but today she is being brave by being an activist. She founded a non-profit, Give Love, that is saving children’s lives all over the developing world through an innovative method of transforming sanitation and access to clean water. She is also forcefully stimulating companies to do equal pay audits and it is actually equalizing pay in big companies like

The lesson I wanted to pass on that I learned from Patricia is bravery works!

Allow yourself to dream of a better life and a better world and just start doing what is uncomfortable but obvious. And don’t quit. Failure is expected. Failure is essential to breakthrough.

What do you really, really care about? Be Brave . . . do something. Just start, the way forward will appear if you do not stop because of initial failure.

We need to re-invent our future. To do that we all need to be BRAVE.