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Hard Conversations Take Courage, Ash Beckham’s 3 Pancake Girl Principles and Why You’re Sexy

Hard Conversation Courage

You know the kind of big project that makes you feel queasy because you have no idea how you’re going to pull it off? I’ve been helping my friend, Scott McMurren, with this kind of project, a one day event called the Alaska Summer Showcase.

Daring Greatly

Scott’s arranged thousands of dollars in travel getaways as a fundraiser for charity:water but also as a way to bring people together in the community, highlight the best travel vendors around the state and inspire people to go see more of Alaska. Scott is ramming into the edges of his comfort zone and digging into his own vulnerabilities.

Nearly every time Scott and I meet for a planning session, he groans and mentions Brené Brown’s book, Daring Greatly. The Alaska Summer Showcase is putting Scott into the middle of the arena.

Here’s what Brené Brown says about this in her 2012 TED talk:

If we’re going to find our way back to each other, vulnerability is going to be that path. And I know it’s seductive to stand outside the arena, because I think I did it my whole life, and think to myself, I’m going to go in there and kick some ass when I’m bulletproof and when I’m perfect. And that is seductive. But the truth is that never happens. And even if you got as perfect as you could and as bulletproof as you could possibly muster when you got in there, that’s not what we want to see. We want you to go in. We want to be with you and across from you. And we just want, for ourselves and the people we care about and the people we work with, to dare greatly.

There is no greater honor than standing alongside someone as they get uncomfortable, confront their inner critic and take on things that they don’t feel able or ready to do but are choosing to do anyway. This is why I love helping Scott. This is why I love seeing the women in my coaching group dare greatly. It is why I love hearing from you about your own big projects. Your courage inspires me to be more courageous.

We All Crave Love and Belonging

Allowing others to see us when we are vulnerable isn’t easy, but it is the gateway to experiencing the love and belonging we all crave. Maybe this is why I love my job as a medevac pilot so much. I get to see people confront their own physical and emotional vulnerabilities. In those moments, what I notice is a universal desire to connect with others.

In her her powerful and humorous TEDx talkAsh Beckham explains that we are all hiding in metaphorical closets. Ash shares about her own sexuality but explains that, “All a closet is, is a difficult conversation.”

Amen, Sister.

Hard is Hard

As Ash says, “Hard is not relative. Hard is hard.” Only you know what is “in the yellow” for you or what is the “red zone”. Only you know how uncomfortable you are.

What hard for you may seem easy to another:

  • Your first date after a divorce.
  • Taking a flight on an airplane.
  • Coming to grips with your financial situation.
  • Ending a relationship with someone you love.
  • Being with the sadness you feel when you realize how unkind you’ve been to yourself.
  • Still hoping and still not getting the approval you crave from your father.
  • Telling your children that you have cancer.

The 3 Pancake Girl Principles for a Hard Conversation

Hard conversations require vulnerability. They take courage. At the end of her talk, Ash shares 3 simple (but not easy!) principles for hard conversations:

  1. Be Authentic.
  2. Be Direct.
  3. Be Unapologetic.

I’m far from perfect, but I do alright with the first two steps. I often struggle with the third step and “I’m sorry’s” flood out of my mouth without even entering my consciousness.

Moving from I’m Sorry to I’m Sexy

Women have a tendency to apologize more than men. Luckily fairly early in my flying career an instructor told me, “Stop apologizing.” Until he pointed it out, I hadn’t realized I was doing it. I’ve taken most of my “I’m sorry’s” out of the cockpit, but I’m still working on taking them out of the rest of my life.

I’ve apologized for being “too needy” and emotional. I’ve apologized for misunderstandings that are no one’s fault. I’ve apologized for not knowing what my partner wanted even though they never asked for it as if I should have been a mind-reader.

At a recent yoga class the teacher corrected a student’s body position. The student said, “I’m sorry.” The teacher responded, “Lindsey, every time you want to say ‘I’m sorry’, I want you to say, ‘I’m sexy’ instead.”

As Ash says, “Apologize for what you’ve done, but never apologize for who you are.”  Tweet

So, my dears, let’s drop the unnecessary apologies.

I’m sexy. You are too.

What have you been apologizing for? Share in the comments.



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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Angela March 12, 2014, 5:23 am

    Hi Lorena

    Just yesterday I was thinking to myself how often I’ll assume the blame for something without even properly investigating the details first. I do this because I hate confrontation, but also because I’m terrified that I am actually wrong and arguing will put me in an even worse light. Thank you so much for this super timeous post!

    Hell yeah, from now on I’M SEXY! ;-)

  • Sirita March 12, 2014, 7:22 am

    This was a timely article. I need to have a hard conversation with my sister. I think she’ll be receptive to The 3 Pancake Girl Principles.

    Thank you!

    • Lorena Knapp March 12, 2014, 1:29 pm

      Thanks Sirita, wishing you well with your conversation with your sister.

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