From Arlene: Entrepreneurs Reveal The Most Courageous Thing They’ve Done

From Arlene: Entrepreneurs Reveal The Most Courageous Thing They’ve Done

Lifestyle | Posted by - May 3, 2018 at 12:30 am

A little while ago, I decided to ask my Twitter followers: what’s the most courageous thing you’ve done? An astounding 500 people responded--an act of courage on its own--and bared their souls to reveal their struggles and gains in death, divorce, and illness, and in standing up for others, speaking up for themselves, and taking a leap towards a better life. As people responded, one thing became even more touching: people replied to each other to show support and encouragement. 

As Vulnerability Researcher Brene Brown so eloquently says, “courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” That’s exactly what these people have done--let’s celebrate them today and encourage people in our lives to continue being brave: 


“Pulled a drowning guy out of the Nottawasaga River.”

“Rescued four firefighters in a forest fire. Flew into the middle of the fire and picked them up out of a swamp.”

“I've taken homeless people into my home.”

“Intervening in a parking lot fight where three guys, one with a tire iron, were beating up an Indigenous person. My wife also intervened, so she needs full props. We have also stood up for, presumably, naturalized people being harassed.”

“I confronted a man, who was abusing a woman on the street in New Jersey. I got the woman to her home safe.”

“I held my best friend's hand on one side, while her only son held her other [hand], while she died. It was the hardest thing I've done, and the one I'm most grateful to have done.”


“Telling my husband how much he was loved as he died in my arms, and then getting up and keeping myself alive every day; trying to live well while missing him so deeply in every way...”

“Woke up after the death of my son.”

“I stopped cutting myself; three-and-a-half years since the last time and still going strong!”

“Continued to live when I wanted to end my life, especially one night in 2009. As well as stopping self-harm; four years free.”

“Eight years ago I told my wife that I was sexually abused as a child by my father. Set off a journey of healing that led to a TEDx talk about my healing. Now I'm writing a book.”

“Wrote about my experience with postpartum depression and anxiety and shared my story, so that others wouldn’t feel so alone.”


“Pitched a seed investor, while wearing my four-month-old son at Google Campus London. I kept bringing him to other pitch meetings with accelerators.”

“Becoming a mom of three daughters. I had no idea how much courage it takes to love freely and ferociously in this wild world. I wasn't a maternal human, until I became a mom.”

“Had two children, while working full time. Doesn't sound like much, but for me it was huge.”

“Closing a successful retail business to care for my son.  The business was growing, leveraging e-commerce when it was still in its infancy; circumstances in my personal life forced me to make a decision.  Closing the door for the last time was hard, but doing so to care for my son was more important.”


“Became an entrepreneur in a different industry at 42, after 20 years in one field.”

“Left a secure well-paying government job to start my own business. Courage gets me through everyday. Though it’s scary at times, it’s the best thing I’ve done for myself.”

“I left corporate America to start my own company in 2012. Everyone told me I was nuts. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is also the right thing to do. I've never regretted that decision. I still have my company.”

“My husband loves horses and decided to buy four horses and a farm. I knew nothing about horses, but decided to learn. I hired instructors, spent all my time hanging out with them, read books and took a certification course in Equine Assisted Learning. I now run my own EAL business.”


“Blew the whistle on a bad senior manager, who was bullying, a compulsive liar, not doing her job, and mentally unstable--she was eventually terminated. I consider this one of the most important things I did in my career, for myself and for the dozens of others who had suffered because of her manipulative cruelty.” 

“Put integrity before my job, knowing it was going to cost all the management staff their jobs. Integrity is all you have and must be put first. Still felt bad for the others affected.”

“Walked away from big long-term business I could have partnered on because my product didn't suit; I suggested the appropriate competitor. It payed off long-term with the client. Honesty is profitable.”

“Had to fire the son-in-law of the president of our company.”

“Quit working for my father, and started my own business, in the same discipline. It worked out well in the end for both of us, and dramatically changed our working relationship from father-to-daughter to daughter-and-father, as I would send work his way. He was a fantastic mentor: disciplined, honest, kind, and smart. I miss him to this day.”

“Realized my value and departed from a job that was oppressive and lacked integrity.”

“Sold a 30-year-old family business, because I felt that it was holding me back and wasn't meant to be the final chapter in my business life.”

“Closed a business that wasn’t making money. It was easier to keep hoping it will turn around and ignore the numbers, but at some point you have to bite the bullet and pull the plug. Luckily we were able to get out of our lease contract quickly so the bleeding could stop.”


“Driving again after hitting a female at 9pm as she tried to cross four lanes. No crosswalk. No one around. No phone. Terrified, I waved down the first car I saw for help. She survived, but as a mom myself, I still think of her mother getting that call.”

“Drove across Canada and the U.S. twice to follow my passion. Asked my husband to give up his job for me and we packed a U-haul and our dog and left Ontario. Then, I got offered an opportunity in British Columbia, and we drive from Saskatchewan to Victoria, and we never looked back. I feel grateful that I was scared, but still jumped at 50-years-old.”

“After staying on to help a dying business through four rounds of layoffs and being laid off myself, I started a company with a colleague.”

“Told him I wanted a divorce, then walked away from an 18-year-job in TV to try something new. Totally worth it.”

“Broke multiple court orders and took myself and my son thousands of kilometres away from an abusive ex-husband. Gave up a job I loved and struck out to make a new life. That was 14-years-ago and I’ve never regretted it; my son is now 22-years-old and happy.”

“Moved to Northern Alberta to sell ice cream.” 


Each day we have a choice to create the change we want to see in our lives. If this thread of responses has shown me anything, it’s that each of us has the ability to find the courage to be the best we can be for ourselves and the people in our lives. 

What’s the most courageous thing you’ve done this year? 

Tags: arlene dickinson, business, courage, inspiration, motivation, parenting, twitter

Arlene Dickinson

Arlene Dickinson is one of Canada’s most renowned independent marketing communications entrepreneurs. As CEO of Venture Communications, her creative and strategic approach has turned the company into a powerhouse with a blue chip client list.  She is also the CEO of, a company she founded in 2012 that is dedicated to serving and investing in entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial lifestyle. 

Dickinson is best known to Canadians as one of the venture capitalists on the award-winning CBC series Dragons’ Den, The Big Decision and marketing expert on Recipe to Riches.  She is the author of two books, the number one bestselling book, Persuasion and her most recent best-selling release, All In. 

Joe Wasylyk
February 3, 2018 at 8:43 pm
In 2018 I'm still working on the Seniorpreneur Project to get a breakthrough for the 50+ entrepreneurs. The older entrepreneurs are basically forced to work alone with no 'business support' programs available in Canada. The Canadian Federal Government is focused on the younger under 40 entrepreneurs and practices ageism when formulating their policies to help small businesses in Canada. Personally, I have lost my joint partner on this project because of health issues. Other than Arlene there is not many people in Canada that understand the potential of older entrepreneurs. My question is- Does anybody know who would be courageous enough to step up to the plate and help me get some more traction either from the Federal Government OR possibly setting up a new Canadian based Foundation to help senior entrepreneurs? Thanks!
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