Berni Xiong herself is the most visceral example of her own ideology. And this work that you hold in your hands right now is the culmination of her journey. It is a manifesto wrapped in a memoir, the type of poetry that pushes back the darkness, the story of a strong woman who has bent the threads of reality like it was written in the stars. And if you lend yourself to it, if you listen close and absorb it, this one thing I can assure you, dear reader, it will help you change the world.”
- AJ LEON, Professional Troublemaker: Writer. Designer. Entrepreneur and Humanitarian.
If you’ve always felt like a wanderer—so out of place in the world—because you never fit in.
If all your life you’ve tried to blend in—like the chameleon—but often felt deficient and like an imposter.
I dedicate this to you.
The Year of the Brave Bear is about my journey in 2013 when I stopped trying to write “the book I’ve been meaning to write since 2011” and started living the story worth writing.
This book contains my one-year purging of the truth.
The Year of the Brave Bear is about the year I chose writing as my therapy to overcome depression after being alienated from my adult son…the year I helped spread hope for depression and suicide prevention…the year I helped build a windmill in Africa…the year I helped build the first philanthropic coffee roaster in Laos…the year I launched a web show and podcast featuring brave entrepreneurs to inspire and support other brave entrepreneurs.
In deconstructing the lessons I learned in 2013, three distinct themes became very evident in my writing. I’ve organized this book into these three sections:
Section 1: Unleash Your Brave Bear (Speak Up)—Quit waiting for permission, speak up because you have something to say.
Section 2: Kill the Chameleon (Stand Out)—Stop pretending to be something you’re not, standing out is the new black.
Section 3: Spark People and Movements (Change Your World)—Don’t give up trying, show up and do good work every day and you’ll make a dent in the world.
In each of these sections, I’ve compiled relevant chapters adapted primarily from pieces I’ve written in 2013—not knowing these words would ever be published outside my private journal or newsletter. This is the first time this one-year body of work will be shared publicly for the world to see.