It may seem five months too late to be sharing my word for 2020, but the risks and uncertainty of life in a pandemic have led me to understand why, on a dark Sunday in January, I felt compelled to choose this word.
So what does gutsy mean exactly?
'Spirit, courage, 1893, figurative plural of gut (n.). The idea of the bowels as the seat of the spirit goes back to at least mid-14c.'
To me, "gutsy" is the courage to use your instincts (gut feelings) to navigate the unknown - to acknowledge, calculate and engage with risk. As a naturally risk-averse person, this terrifies me, especially when it comes to choices that seem odd or foolish to others.
When I think of the fear of failing in front of others, it reminds me of the Theodore Roosevelt quote made famous by Brene Brown:
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust, and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly... who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails daring greatly."
In the horseriding world, a scopey horse is one which is capable of jumping any fence you point it at, with ease, grace and determination. It doesn’t just jump high and wide, it clears any fence from any distance, regardless of whether the timing’s good or not. In short, it’s gutsy, and this is how I want to live. I want to dare greatly, even if the timing's off and regardless of whether I come up short and fall.
Being gutsy is so uncomfortable for this recovering perfectionist, though. It's been second nature to me all my life to only reveal the big gambles if they have paid off.
I don't tend to share the works in progress of my life in case they turn out to be half-baked, overcooked, mishapen or poorly formed. I only feel comfortable sharing the dreams when I have successfully made them into reality. I've come to realise that's a cop out, because it peddles the myth that success is effortless and perfection is something to strive for.
What's more interesting is the story of the struggle. The messy middle.
So that's why I've decided to share my word of the year five months after I chose it, right in the messy middle of a crisis that has changed all of our lives.
Have you ever chosen a word for the year? If so, how did it change things for you? Let me know in the comments below or carry on the conversation over on Instagram, You'll find me at @brambleandfoxshopuk.