Katie Dean has spent the past decade becoming brave. It’s been a long, hard road for the Newcastle author, who says that in her darkest moments of fear and uncertainty, she felt an incredible sense of isolation.
But while overcoming the mountain of emotions that weigh you down may at times seem insurmountable, Katie believes nothing is impossible once you understand that you’re not alone.
The motivational coach and mother of two young boys is on a mission to share that understanding with others following the publication of her first book Becoming Brave: a sassy woman’s guide to turning fear into bravery.
Described as “an honest snapshot into a world where it’s possible to thrive with anxiety”, the book details Katie’s journey to self-discovery, as well as the inspiring stories of four other women who travelled their own paths towards becoming brave.
“Becoming Brave invites you into a world where it’s possible to thrive alongside our hurdles and ultimately start to see our fear a different way,” Katie said.
“When I was going through some of my darkest and most fearful moments I felt so unbelievably alone. I felt like such a failure, and the shame spiral was constant and heavy.
“Coming out of that though and being in the industry I’m now in, I’ve come to realise that we all have the same ‘stuff’, it’s just that no-one was really talking about it. This was a massive comfort for me, and it led me down a whole different path and did wonders for my confidence.”
Katie said she hopes the book will give readers the tools they need to unpack their emotional baggage and embrace a life lived on their terms, with the knowledge that they are not on their own.
“I now know the healing that happens when you realise you’re not alone,” she said.
“I understand the power of sharing our stories and learning through each other, so I decided to blow the lid off the whole thing and share not only mine but four other brave and inspiring women’s stories on their path to becoming brave.
“I know Becoming Brave will land in the hands and hearts of those who are meant to read her, I have known that all along. My greatest hope is that she encourages you to view your fear and ultimately your emotions differently and see them as the messengers they are.”
With a background in personal training, as well as food and wellness coaching, Katie understands how to use words to motivate people.
But this book isn’t the first time she has used the written word to inspire others into action. Katie is also the author of the popular Your Wild Life blog, which she started in 2014 on the back of a dark period in her life and has since grown into a flourishing business that brings empirically-based bravery approaches to women, entrepreneurs and change makers.
“Your Wild Life is a blog that I started in 2014, and it’s really where so much of this began,” she said.
“Your Wild Life was what I needed and couldn’t find at the time. After losing a little girl when I was 14 weeks pregnant, I wanted a place to go to share what I was finding out about living a positive life, moving through the darker days and embracing the people we are throughout the process.
“Writing has provided me with some of my most profound self-discoveries and healing, so I’m so grateful to have found something that allows me to connect with so many people doing something I love.”
Katie said many of those self-discoveries actually came during the process of writing Becoming Brave, which she said was more difficult than she anticipated, even after years of sharing personal thoughts and experiences on her blog.
“I started writing [the book] in December of 2015. I thought I was done a couple of times, but there was still more to learn for me, which meant more to unpack and share with everyone else,” she said.
“The biggest challenge at times was writing through, and about, my own story. It was really confronting because for years I ran from, avoided, worked over, partied over, ate through or exercised around any feelings that made me uncomfortable.
“Getting to a place where I had to be ‘ok’ with everything I wrote before I put it out into the world was difficult for sure, but also incredibly healing.
“It truly cemented the need and my ability to make peace with my past and become unshakeable in the belief that I am worthy of a big future. Without a doubt. After all, if we don’t back ourselves – who will?”
That notion of backing yourself, especially in the face of your fears, is central to both Katie’s work as a motivational coach, and the lessons she shares in her book.
“Anxiety, for the most part, comes from a desire to try and predict or control the future, which stems from a lack of belief in ourselves to be able to handle any event if it happens,” she said.
“Anxiety is a simple beast and oh so complex at the same time, but it’s 100 percent possible to thrive with anxiety when you choose to see it differently.
“For years I thought I was broken, damaged or unlovable because of the stories I was ultimately telling myself. Since choosing to see anxiety as a bit of a superpower and see it for the loving messages that are actually being communicated to me through my feelings, the game entirely changed.
“If you are willing to embrace all of you, and I mean all of you, then anything is possible.”
Becoming Brave is available now from various online booksellers, as well as Katie’s website www.ktdean.com.au
We have 3 copies of Katie's latest book Becoming Brave to give away to 3 lucky readers. Visit the Giveaways page for your chance to win. Entries close midnight June 30 - don’t miss out!