Kait LeDonne has personally taught me a whole lot in the last year about living braver.
Who is Kait? The founder and CEO of LeDonne Branding and Marketing, Kait specializes in working with B2B businesses and consultants to clarify their message, refine their image, and attract the right kind of customers—using social media strategies that hyper-accelerate brand awareness and amplify credibility.
And she’s an author! Her ebook “The Attraction Magnet” helps businesses implement key branding methodology to expand their reach and presence. She works with local, regional, national, and international firms and has been a contributor on television and in national news publications.
I am so grateful to have both her talent and her personhood in my orbit. Read more as she—unsurprisingly—offers candid answers to our questions on being bold in business and in life.
Anne Hilb: What is bravery?
Kait LeDonne: I think, although possibly trite to say, bravery is not the absence of fear—it’s when you are scared, and you take action anyway. I think a fantastic synonym for “bravery” is “vulnerability,” or “the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.”
AH: Would you consider yourself someone who could always be described as brave?
KL: Oh goodness, in some ways I think I’m a complete chicken—confrontation with loved ones is something I tend to avoid like the plague and I’m self-aware enough to know that, whereas with other areas, like business, I think I’ve trained myself to be brave. I think the areas that require the most bravery for me is emotional vulnerability.
The times where people always say I’m “brave” involve “business risk-taking.” For me, this is the easy part.
Funny, I’ve trained myself to be comfortable being uncomfortable with business decisions … but haven’t mastered that with personal relationships. I think this is because I know I can always build back up a team or bank account; building back my heart seems or the thought of hurting others is, in a word…terrifying.
Moving to NYC is the bravest thing I’ve done this year. After building a business and brand in a city I am very comfortable in—Baltimore/DC—I decided it’s time to take the next step.
AH: Kait, what inspires you to be brave in your work?
KL: I think as a brand strategist and social media consultant, I have this outlook of, “I’ll either succeed or I’ll learn something wonderful and that will provide amazing content for my clients and audience.” It always comes down to others: my clients, my teams, and my audience inspire me to be brave in my work. I feel like I owe it to them, more than even myself, to take risks so all of us can benefit.
AH: In your experience, what most often gets in the way of people behaving as bravely as they might want to, particularly in their work?
KL: I think most people think “fear” would be the answer to this, where I think it’s really “comfort.” I love the quote, “Comfort is the enemy of progress.” I think that is so, so true. Comfort will stop you from starting a business, comfort will stop you from changing your eating habits, comfort will stop you from saying the thing that needs to be said in a meeting.
I know, for me personally, whenever I don’t do something brave, it’s because I’m prioritizing being comfortable.
I’m not saying to live life in an anxious, fear-ridden way: I’m just saying that when it comes down to the things you realllllyyyyy want in life and in your work (the things you may even be afraid to admit you want) you’re probably not taking action because you’re comfortable where you are; and that comfort, at this point, is more valuable to you than the thing you say you so desperately want. It always goes like that for me.
The beauty of this is, as soon as I identify I have been choosing “comfort,” I can then choose bravery. It’s never easy; it’s always worth it, though.
AH: As a marketing expert, how would you say that this work requires a sense of bravery?
KL: I think the more vulnerable you are in your marketing, the more impactful you are. I think people—not just in business, in life at large—think that they have to put their best face on for social media. That’s a fallacy.
The posts that convert the highest for me is when I am brave enough to share the challenges in growing a business or growing myself. People can just relate to it, and they realize the bravery it took for you to be candid, so they find it inspirational.
AH: What are the biggest dangers in the absence of bravery?
KL: I am a big believer of “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” Again, complacency and mediocrity are my biggest fears. I think that growth and a commitment to excellence requires discomfort and it requires bravery. Whether you’re talking about growing a business or you’re talking about getting married or finding a partner or any other worthwhile pursuit in life, it’s comfort and complacency that will eventually eat away at these ambitions.
I’d rather be living on the razor-sharp edge of risk and bravery than living an unfulfilling, mediocre life.