What is Bravery?

Tom McCallum
6 min readFeb 7, 2020
bravery iain jamaica pool

**Yesterday’s post “Inspire Bravery” reminded me of this post from February 2018, which I am sharing again today with two updates to the story begun in the picture above.

We often think of bravery as the stuff of myth and legend, passed down through the ages.

What if, instead, we simply considered bravery to be relative to how it feels to the individual. Take a look at the picture above. Does that boy look brave to you?

More on that later on, but first some stories on bravery in different forms, from leading to rebuilding, to reframing mental health conversations.

Bravery as a Coach with a Vision

Coach Dave Kelsheimer arrived in Cayman in the mid-1990s ago as a young swim coach from the USA. He had a vision of qualifying swimmers for the Olympics from this tiny island with one outdoor 25m pool with only six lanes. Over the years, he had to be brave on many occasions to stand up to those who didn’t believe in his vision. Cayman qualified swimmers from the Olympics in 2004, the year after they set a record haul of medals at the Caribbean junior championships (Carifta).

In 2004 Cayman was devastated by Hurricane Ivan, yet soon after that, young Michael Lockwood, in his late teens, showed up at the pool and offered to help get the pool ready for swimming again. Michael is now President of Cayman Swimming.

In 2005 Coach Dave moved on to new roles in the USA (and was a coach for USA swimming at Rio 2016), and his deputy, Coach Dominic Ross took over.

Bravery in having the patience to rebuild

The programme was decimated by Hurricane Ivan, yet Dom and Cayman Swimming set about rebuilding from grassroots. Such development takes time, yet bravery can also mean a commitment to the long haul. In 2017 Cayman once again smashed all records at Carifta. It took about 12 years to come back, but come back Cayman did.

Oh, and that picture? I’ll get to it soon, but for now, I note that it was of a 7-year-old swimmer in 2005 on the first trip overseas led by Coach Dominic Ross after Hurricane Ivan in 2005.

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Tom McCallum

Sounding Board for Visionary Leaders ready to make a Massive Impact. Daily posts here, or https://tommccallum.com/newsletter-sign-up/