The Essence of Bold

“Be bold enough to use your voice, brave enough to listen to your heart, strong enough to live the life you've always imagined.” - Anonymous

Saying that bold people are just risk takers is too simplistic. Bold people are not just bungy jumping or free climbing cliff faces. At the heart of “boldness,” is an identity-forming quality that goes beyond a willingness to gamble with peril. The bold are standing up to bullies when others remain silent; they are advocating for justice in spite of consequence; they are moving forward with dreams when people they love call them foolish.

We all want to live authentic lives and follow our passions and dreams, but many of us are too timid. We’ve been told it’s more important to be liked than to speak up, or to fit in than to be original. Think of all the times you don’t say what you think or don’t ask for what you need because of the “trouble” it will cause for you and others.  

The fact is, it’s almost impossible to be bold without believing in, and understanding, your authentic self. It is also impossible to be bold if you let fear infiltrate your decision making. Bold people are willing to lay themselves bare to others and take the physical and emotional consequences of doing so. Being bold, while scary for many of us, is the key to living an authentic life.

While we may be tempted to think a bold person is sporting tattoo sleeves or running their own business, consider that boldness looks different for different people. Staying home to raise a kid can be a bold move for someone raised by law partners who expected her to take over the practice. Just as being a law firm partner for 80 hours a week is a bold move for the child of hippies running an organic farm.

It’s true that you must be willing to be uncomfortable and embrace fear to be who you truly are, but take heart. As Helen Keller once said: “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.”  She reminds us that being bold is actually not more risky than playing it safe. If you don’t risk anything, you actually risk more. And fear, the opposite of boldness, can’t keep us safe from life’s random cruelties and suffering.

So why not dive in and live your life, authentically and with no regrets? To blossom into bold, and reveal a more authentic self, consider these 5 proactive steps to big up your bold:

  1. Get to Know Yourself - learn your values, prioritizes, skills and flaws. Then use this knowledge to inspire confident action. Get in touch with your values. Are they really yours or your family’s, friends or societies? Uncovering the nuance of value is key.
  1. Get Uncomfortable - Learn to accept fear, failure and varying outcomes without it damaging your esteem or larger plans. Understand that failure is essential in learning and fail forward.

  2. Get Vocal & Trust Your Voice - Speak to, advocate for and inspire others who share your values. Be willing, consistently, to put yourself out there and not just for your own benefit. We’re hardwired for altruism and connection, so find your authentic allies and then give back to your people.
  1. Get Unapologetic - Be positive about your authentic self and unapologetic about who you are and what you want. Do as they say. Talk and walk the same line.  Learn how to say no, so you have time to say yes to what matters. Be courageous and develop your character.
  1. Get Positive about Your Story - Your narratives of self can be triumphant, even amidst failure.  Every negative circumstance becomes about “learning and opportunity,” no really. That’s not just motivational poster shit. Learn more about embracing a growth mindset and about how our inner narratives shape our esteem.

So go forth and step into your dreams, stand up for what matters to you and embrace your full potential. You will be rewarded with the freedom of spirit granted to all who are authentic. 

Human Unlimited
Human Unlimited