We adore and admire bold leaders.
Social media is littered with the quotes that have stood the test of time and are triumphantly repeated as motivation to keep us going. The boldly spoken words of men such as JFK and Martin Luther King have been memorialized and ultimately cost them their lives.
But times have changed. With the convenience of elaborate computer stations, boasting dual monitors and lightning speed internet connections, we can run an empire of opinions, keeping the dance going by a never-ending stream of intelligent questions and third level inquiry, all from the safety of home. If the pen is mightier than the sword, well then the sophistication of the iPhone must be mightier than the smartest of drones.
Sticking your neck out and taking a position can place you in a social media noose with a lynching of angry followers ready to express them in contradiction. In the opposite corner, the pervasive erosion of “Group Think” keeps the masses stuck in repetitive cycles of hopeful thinking and ineffectiveness.
So how do any of us define what it means to be bold? In a world that will provide a good and rewarding life by playing in the middle ground of the safe, why would anyone risk and take action of boldness?
Every person must answer that last question for themselves but for the ones that feel truly called, the ones that feel compelled to lead, to serve and communicate their message buried deep inside, you MUST be bold. So in preparation for your emergence, I’ve prepared 8 considerations to walk through:
1. You’ll feel alone. In reality you’ll be in great company, attracting the attention to others that are busy in their own boldness, eager to befriend and even collaborate on projects. You’ll be invited into a cool club of others that are looking for validation to continue in their own bold actions and struggling with the EXACT same thing you are, isolation. If you hold your course, committed to your new way of living, you’ll prevail.
2. Projection. Automatically, the ones around you will have their patterns disrupted because your new actions are not in line with the role they have you locked into. This will come to you in the form of others offering you caution. ‘Be careful, you could get hurt’ is the common underlying message. ‘I don’t want you to be disappointed’ and other messages that really has nothing to do with you will be communicated, often with great emotion.
3. Fear. Whether it be little whispers or outright screams, the voices of your ego will surface to offer you a false comfort in throttling back to the land of mediocre. Like never before, you’ll be overly concerned about what others are thinking and how you’re perceived. Everything you’ve believed about Reputation will feel like this badly-tailored suit of bullshit that eventually you rip off with machete style swings and begin unfolding the cape that was trapped underneath.
4. Worthlessness. Somewhere along the road of domestication, we began to believe stories about ourselves that we are not of value. Constant questioning if you’re good enough will drive you crazy until eventually, after hundreds or thousands of affirmations, you’ll finally believe that you are amazing and begin acting in that way.
5. Apologizing. Occasionally, you’ll think being bold means falsely asserting yourself in an area that frankly, is none of your business. You’ll live in other people’s lane, you’ll say inappropriate things and feel like a complete idiot and, you’ll have to apologize and mend some fences. But, if you keep going, you’ll learn to set your own boundaries and become, truly bold, even fierce.
6. Criticized. If you remain in YOUR truth, you’ll be criticized, called an asshole and (some) people won’t like you. Trust me, this rarely has anything to do with you. You will trigger the insecurities and fears of others and, since many haven’t developed in the area of safe self-expression, anger is their only answer as a fight, flight or freeze response. Anger is a sign of trapped fear and is rarely connected to any error on your part. The only answer is grounded compassion. Be bold!
7. Accolades. “The crucible for silver, and the furnace for gold but people are tested by their praise.” ~Proverbs 27:21 As gold is refined by being heated up, so you too will be tested as your fan base grows and people begin to praise you, especially follow you. Some will adore you so much, they will tell you anything. As creatures of survival, our brains are hard-wired to look for signs that our bodies are safe and our minds are right. To over-tune your ear to praise is like calling vodka, water because it’s clear, you’ll eventually end up drunk and incoherent, i.e., the opposite of bold.
8. Self Image. Your truth, your beliefs, your mindset…they are ALL that matters. Living boldly without compromise to your values requires having a self-image that is grounded, resolved, confident and not propped up by ANY external circumstances that are all to subject to the winds and tides and times of change.
So many times I’ve been fueled by temporal bursts of motivation, yell a victory cry and raise the flag in bold proclamation to the world of my plans only to fall flat on my face days later. Yes, I’ve done this all too many times. We charge into battle unequipped, with no or little support systems and wonder why we are not victorious.
Damn. I’ve mourned the days of defeat, felt the pain of bankruptcy, reached for the touch of lost love and watched dreams of youth vanish into the distance. So much so that when I think of being bold, the comfort of playing safe sounds so, so freaking good. The girl I was scared to approach morphed into a meaningful relationship. Business ventures I didn’t feel qualified to run became challenges to learn. With the help of brief acts of boldness my life became more resilient and in the end, I learned that things aren’t as hard as we often imagine them to be.
When appropriately executed, boldness has caused the universe to rush to my aid in unexplained ways, providing resources and trials that got me through to the next level, like playing a high-stakes poker game.
So take stock. Quiet your mind and feel that sense of boldness, the courage, the resolve that is right in the middle of the chest, beating with consistency and connected to a source higher and mightier than you ever experienced or dreamed.
You too can be bold, even when it’s a scary proposition.
In service to life,