There are some situations in life that require bold decisions. Do you go with the spicy chicken sandwich or the extra-crunchy one? Do you pitch the so-far-outside-the-box-it-just-might-work idea even though you might end up looking like an idiot? (Hint: The answer is YES! It’s always yes.) Do you steal Baby Jesus from the church Nativity because you can’t stand to see the sad, faded plastic display sitting front-and-center for another frozen Midwest winter? You do if you’re teenaged me.
Benefits of Being Bold
There will be times in your life when being bold will work out in your favor. Have you ever envied the people who can politely, yet firmly, point out that “the line’s over here” to people who inadvertently skip toward the front? Or even better, how about the people who are skilled enough to point out opposing viewpoints without causing a knock-down, drag-out fight? As the saying goes, “Fortune favors the bold.” You can benefit both personally and professionally from training yourself to be more comfortable in making bold, confident observations and decisions:
- Being bold commands attention. If you’re building a business or your own personal brand, customers will notice your confidence. Boldness is a trait many people don’t have (or struggle to achieve), so if you’re able to wield it effectively and professionally, you’ll have a leg up on the competition. In business, you have to make things happen–and that requires boldness and confidence in your plan:
“Some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen, others make it happen.”
– Michael Jordan
2. Being bold shows off your creativity. You won’t fade into the background when you make bold decisions. Think about Steve Jobs and the iPhone. Did he know the iPod would go by the wayside at the introduction of the iPhone? Of course, but he made a forward-thinking, bold decision. In his words, “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Sometimes, you just KNOW what decision you need to make.
3. Boldness earns opportunity. When you are ready to make decisions and confident moves to propel your brand in the right direction, your opportunities will compound. You’ll get noticed for your choices and for your ability to take action and move forward.
4. Boldness helps you learn. Let’s face it; if you’ve ever made a bold decision, you’ve probably also had the misfortune of falling flat your face at some point. Being fearless helps you become, ahem…indestructible, as well as incrementally smarter. Every time we fall down, we get to learn a better, more effective way of doing things the next time. So no matter how bruised and scraped-up we may be from diving headlong into our last learning experience, we’re getting pretty darned smart.
5. Being bold helps you lead. Whether you’re naturally bold or you’ve had to work at it every step of the way, the results are the same. Boldness is a coveted leadership trait because it means you’re not afraid to go out on a limb, be the lone vote, deliver the impossible proposal, or even the bad news when it’s necessary. It takes courage and creativity to master the art of being tactfully bold, but not bossy. And if you can do that, you can move mountains.
However, I have to warn you, there may be repercussions. (There’s always a disclaimer).
Downfalls of Being Bold
There are a few downfalls to this character trait, too. I’ll tell you what happened to me.
The Baby Jesus thing was just one of those times when I needed to ask forgiveness later, rather than asking permission. I had been pointing out for YEARS that we needed to donate the old set and get a shiny new one to be the star of the stage during our yearly Christmas pageant. And for YEARS, ALL. THE. PEOPLE. had nodded their heads and agreed. But nothing was ever done. And every year, Baby Jesus got more and more faded—until that final year, when he looked like a nothing more than a white blob of plastic resting on a bed of hay.
I bet you can guess how quickly a new Nativity was approved once it was discovered Jesus had gone missing. You can bet your Bible School Kool-Aid that someone from the Spending Committee (consisting of Lucille and Mary) was down at the plastic Nativity store before closing time that day.
This is one of those times when you ask forgiveness LATER. Because you are NOT going to get any sort of permission beforehand to run with whatever crazy scheme you have in mind. Simply stated: Nobody gets to steal Jesus.
Forget the fact that your grandma took you to church your entire life. Wipe that RIGHT out of your mind, because it won’t garner you much sympathy. Also, stop thinking about potential lightning strikes, floods, or fiery asteroid-type objects that could be used to convey to you the error of your ways. It’s all going to be ok.
Sometimes you just know you have a great idea. And you know you need to take a stand. And sometimes, if you start sharing ideas, others will follow suit. It’s funny how being fearless will inspire others to be fearless, too. So, take a chance on your vision, your creativity, your ideas. After all, when you know, you know.
Ok, ok…I’ll tell you the downfalls.
- You will get embarrassed. When you’re confident and brave and bold, you’re eventually going to very fearlessly present the crappiest idea EVER. And that’s a red-faced moment for sure, but you probably already know what I’m going to say. If you take the time to analyze what went wrong, you’ll probably learn a lot.
- There will be jealous or intimidated people. And that’s ok. Just stay the course and do quality work in a kind and empathetic way. You know you’re not out to intimidate anyone, so share your knowledge and keep being yourself. Like-minded people will gravitate toward you.
- You’ll be called bossy. When my younger daughter (now 18, a collegiate diver, and on scholarship to become a nurse) came home from her first day of Kindergarten, she cried, “They called me ‘bossy pants!’” Little did she know, that’s the BEST thing they could have called her. She graduated with a 4.5 GPA, has been a team leader and scholar, and will graduate in 3 years instead of 4. So, if you’re a bossy pants, we’re all cheering for you! You go get, ‘em, Bossy Pants!
Get out there and get bold! When you practice ditching the feelings that hold you back and just let yourself be fearless with your creativity, you’ll truly shine.
Oh yeah, the Baby Jesus thing. The church got a new Nativity, which was beautiful. And I got the distinct honor of tending to the church’s flower beds for the entire following summer, because I was very, very sorry for having stolen Jesus.