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Brave and bold walk among us


Brave and bold walk among us

Jane Stephens is loving the passion and extraordinary deeds of ordinary people who dare to dream and raise the bar for all of us to emulate.

Ordinary people doing daring things abound. It can be tricky to spot them as they are often humble and shy. But seeing and understanding them helps advance us all, so large and fully do they live.

Two such creatures crossed my path recently, and while their focuses were poles apart, their bravery was similar.

At the Project Pink fundraiser dinner at Mooloolaba, I sat next to a man who had ditched a well-paid accounting job that was making him unhappy. He joined others in a start-up that felt purposeful, bigger and somehow right.

Logic would dictate he should just sit tight and accommodate the misery: his partner was pregnant and they had recently bought a house. But with her support, he invested his professional acumen in developing Lendy: a small-business idea that links sharers with borrowers – everything from mowers to tents, tools to furniture. The idea is not to make bucketloads of money but to grow a sustainable consumer model that reuses and builds connection and community.

The Sunshine Coast is a fertile field for turning dreams into targets. So many organised events have a philanthropic and financial component: walking to raise money for heart research, riding for cancer, reading to bolster school funds. But then there is the next level: doing it alone, without a script.

A cycling friend, paramedic Emma Williams, is in the Red Centre, pushing her pedals from Alice Springs to Alex. She came upon the audacious idea, raising money for the QAS Legacy Scheme, at Ocean Addicts coffee shop one day after a fun group ride. She has plotted it meticulously, researched nutrition and ridden endless kilometres in preparation.

The goals of extraordinary, ordinary people might be diverse, but a few distinct characteristics unite them. They make time to pursue their passion. They embrace failures without having a pity party. They seek new knowledge about the object of their goal. They spend their free time with those who nourish and support them. Most of all, these extraordinary, ordinary folk are what US psychologist Brene Brown calls ‘wholehearted’: they commit, despite risk and uncertainty, because they believe it is worth it.

Right there is passion writ large.


Jane Stephens is a USC journalism lecturer, media commentator and writer.

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