Take it from Winnie the Pooh, ‘You’re braver than you believe.’
Or if the words of A.A. Milne isn’t your thing, then perhaps you’d get more from afternoon tea with Dr Joyce Samoutou-Wong.
Over a healthy serving of humble pie, you’ll learn getting over yourself is the first obstacle to being brave. You’ll also see the role passion plays in the level of bravery required to change things for the better.
Hers is not the kind of, ‘we made it easier for people to shop’ type of transformation we might regularly applaud. This is bravery on acid. This is about driving through some of the most dangerous parts of Africa to help restore vision to people living in poverty.
This is the kind of bravery that ignores ego. A bravery that uses its well awarded and credentialed brain and its heart in equal measure. This primal fearlessness and desire to help others is fueled by wonder found in a remote jungle. It’s a fantastic story of talent used well. There was a restlessness to Dr Joyce Samoutou-Wong’s presentation at The Braver Conference that was impossible to ignore. Like you (I’m guessing), Dr Joyce knows there’s so much more than can be done. Restoring vision for the rainforest people of Gabon is only where this starts.
There are brave plans to build more clinics, to train more nurses, to restore more sight. And as brave as all this is, it was put as simply as this, ‘Restoring someone’s vision changes many lives for the better’.
This single-minded mantra is a humbling understatement but it’s where Dr Joyce finds her bravery. A one sentence summary is not a fair representation of the impact her and her husband, Henri Samoutou’s work is having but it did remind me once again of the power of purpose.
Having a clear purpose and knowing why it is you get up early every morning or stay awake late at night might just be the second obstacle to being braver.