Cole Brauer

sail away, sail away, sail away

A Moment of Mudita – The Ripple Effect

After completing my trek across America, I received many heartwarming messages. Among my favorites was one from a cycling friend who texted, ‘I didn’t think you could do it – you proved me wrong.’

It wasn’t the first time I’d received such a message. From an early age, many have underestimated what was possible for me. My feisty younger self would have retorted with an ‘In your face’ followed by some choice words for any doubter.

Over the years, I’ve softened. Nowadays, I’m less concerned about proving who’s right—unless we’re debating the best gelato flavor, which is undoubtedly stracciatella. 🍦

My hope today is to inspire anyone who has been told they’re too ‘something’ or don’t have enough ‘something else’ to tackle a challenging endeavor.

I am drawn to others with similar stories, like Cole Brauer, the first American woman to complete the Global Solo Sailing Challenge. As the youngest competitor, she finished second overall last week and set the record for the fastest solo, nonstop sailing race around the world in a Class 40 ship. Her achievement is nothing short of badass. 🔥

But her journey was nearly derailed by those who told her she was too short (at 5′ 1″) to brave the capes of the Southern Ocean. Fortunately, she secured sponsorship from F.K. Day, president of World Bicycle Relief (note: all proceeds from my memoir go to this life-changing organization).

Despite their support, they initially had reservations about her openly sharing her journey on social media and what it would entail. They underestimated her, even as they sponsored her.

Her Instagram following swelled to nearly 500,000 over the last 130 days. She offered us a glimpse behind the scenes, sharing her struggles, dance parties, and some of the most breathtaking sunsets and sunrises you’ll ever see. By sharing her story, she made an unrelatable challenge relatable, reminding us that we can do hard things. 

Indeed, we often pay attention to stories of those born on a yacht. However, the most compelling narratives have obstacles, doubters, grit, resilience, and perseverance. Cole’s story exemplifies how our narratives improve when we face our challenges and find a way through them.

But too often, we wish for an easy path. At the first sign of difficulty, many give up. They seek to avoid the muddy parts and try to fast-track their way to comfort, but such stories only skim the surface and lack growth. They foster a habit that drags us down and empowers those who underestimate us.

Recently, she appeared on The Today Show in honor of her achievements, Women’s History Month, and International Women’s Day. It was a moment of mudita (appreciative joy). 

She shared this message: 

‘I want women to understand that it’s possible. Despite the bad talk, poor treatment, and significant pay disparities, it ultimately comes down to numbers. If we can unite and collaborate, I truly believe we can effect positive change within the industry.’

Some men, possibly some who doubted her capabilities or felt she lacked something, took issue with her statement, thereby proving her point.

Here’s the takeaway: We excel in nearly every facet of life and industry when we believe in ourselves and each other and strive for connection. It’s a rising tide that lifts all boats. 

It’s how we transcend past narratives, grow, and live better stories as we ripple into tomorrow and beyond. You can catch up on Cole’s race at @colebraueroceanracing, and I’ll attempt to feature her on the Kintsugi Podcast despite some saying it’s not possible. 🤔


There were plenty of moments of silence for Cole as she navigated the globe, but for us land animals, the world can be noisy. 

That’s why I’m hosting our 2nd online silent retreat on April 6th. Think of it as an oasis of rejuvenation away from the noise of the day. Your well-being will thank you. 

If you’ve never done one and it sounds too hard, that’s probably your inner critic talking. It forgets that you can do hard things like any of us. 

Please join us. You can save your place below. 

Until next week, have fun storming the castle! 🏰 


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