What does it mean to be brave? Cammy Nelson, author, public speaker, and founder of Brave Like Me, has made it her mission to redefine the concept of bravery. By encouraging the celebration of risks both big and small, Cammy has empowered young girls and women of all ages to push outside their comfort zones and pursue their passions whole-heartedly. As our third Girls on the Run alumnae, Cammy has shown us that if we are to achieve to the extent of our capabilities, we must fully embrace the little steps and challenges along the way, believe in ourselves, follow our hearts, and love and support each other. Now that is something we can all get behind. We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Cammy to the Be Your Own Muse community!
- Age: 24
- Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
- Field of Interest: There are so many things I’m interested in! My passion is in working with young women to inspire confidence and bravery.
- What Inspired You Today? The sunrise on my morning run. I love watching the new day begin and thinking of all the amazing things I can do in the day when I put my mind to it.
- What’s Your Favorite Thing About Yourself? My belief in myself. If I can dream it, then I can do it. It might be really hard, but when my heart is in it, I know I can do it.
Questions + Answers
What’s your favorite song to sing out loud in the car?
Oh, that’s so hard! Singing in my car is one of my favorite things to do. Right now it’s a tie between “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk The Moon and “Bo$$” by Fifth Harmony. Both songs get me pumped for the day and remind me to have fun and walk with confidence.
You started the organization BRAVE LIKE ME to help empower young women, which is such an important mission. How do you define “bravery”?
Bravery is so many things to me. Too often we think bravery is one massive action like moving across the country, taking a solo trip around the world, or starting a new business. While all of those things are absolutely brave, I think we have multiple opportunities every day to feel brave. It’s all about choosing to step into the unknown a little bit.
I define bravery as the act of believing in yourself enough to try an idea that scares you or challenges your comfort zone.
Brave Like Me is about choosing to embrace our little moments of bravery and using the confidence we gain to watch our comfort zone expand.
WHAT MAKES YOU BRAVE? HOW DO YOU INSPIRE YOURSELF WHEN YOU’RE FEELING NOT-SO-BRAVE?
My passion makes me brave. My heart has been the force behind my decisions for as long as I can remember. In fact, one of my elementary teachers talked to my parents about being a little girl with my heart on my sleeve and how dangerous that could be for me! Even then it was obvious! Fortunately, my heart and my bravery have made me into the woman I am. It’s because of my passion that being brave has never been about me.
Whether it’s the self-esteem of young women, the distorted definition of beauty we see in the media, or an injustice somewhere in the world, my bravery is sparked when I think I could be one more person to help make the world a better place. It’s about fighting for what’s right and teaching young women to love themselves despite what they’re told… or, rather, sold.
In the moments when I’m feeling not-so-brave, I have a very brief conversation with myself. I force myself to face the reality of what my next step could be and I say, “Okay, you can either choose to let fear get in the way of living and experiencing life, or you can find out if you can actually do this (hint: you know you can). What’s it going to be?” At that point, I know it’s time to believe in myself and be the kind of woman I’ve always aspired to be.
WHERE DOES YOUR CONFIDENCE COME FROM? HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN CONFIDENT, OR WAS THERE A TURNING POINT FOR YOU?
That’s a difficult question. I’ve received many compliments on my confidence, but it’s never been something I’ve worked at or intentionally tried to portray.
My parents always encouraged my siblings and I to be independent and taught us we could be anything we wanted to be. It was that belief system that allowed me to reach my goals and then dream a little bigger.
It’s easy to have confidence when you know there’s a support system behind you and people reminding you to use your voice in a big way. There was an expectation in our house that if we had the ability to make a difference, it was our responsibility to do so. That guiding principle shaped my life and absolutely created the confidence I have.
AS A FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR, DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS (OF ANY AGE) WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN STARTING THEIR OWN BUSINESS, ORGANIZATION OR EVEN BLOG?
This question is so interesting to me. The first time I read it I have to admit my immediate response was “I really don’t think I’m qualified to answer,” but I think that’s exactly the honesty female entrepreneurs need to hear. You’re going to be scared, you’re going to feel less than qualified, and there are going to be moments when you feel like you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing and hiding in bed sounds like a reasonable plan for the day. It’ll happen. That’s when you have to do it.
You might be scared at the beginning and you might have a thousand voices in your head trying to convince you that you’re nowhere near ready. Guess what? You’re not. There’s never a right time or a perfect situation. You just do. You find a way to make it work and you push through the fear. It’s going to take time, but it’s going to work. You’ll never know if you don’t at least try. You’ll never know if you don’t start.
Fill in the Blank: Without Girls on the Run, I wouldn’t_____.
Without Girls on the Run, I wouldn’t be me. I always say that Girls on the Run was the beginning of my story. I learned so much about loving me and building strong friendships through Girls on the Run. Those skills carried me through middle school and have only gotten stronger as I went back to coach and as I’ve traveled to speak to young women all over the country. Girls on the Run ignited my first passion and I have the program to thank for influencing the early days of my self-esteem.
Who inspires you?
A mentor of mine once told me that we become the average of the five people we spend the most time with. I took that to heart and have made a conscious effort to be surrounded by people who inspire me, motivate me, and believe in me. My friends, my mentors, the social media accounts I follow, etc, they’re all people I respect and admire. Who would that be?
Hannah Brencher – Author and Speaker
Liz Dennery Sanders – CEO of SheBrand
Katie H. Willcox – Founder of Healthy is the New Skinny
Kate Whitfield – Founder and CEO of FearlesslyGirl
Christine Lopez – Editor of beyoutifulhope.blogspot.com
Jess Weiner – Speaker, Author, CEO of Talk To Jess LLC
+ DO YOU KNOW ANY OTHER YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS WITH A CONSCIENCE? TELL US!