3 Reasons to Become Audacious

Do you have the audacity to be audacious?

Do you desire to be bold, courageous, or even fearless?

If your answer is yes, then what’s stopping you?  If you answer no, then maybe this article isn’t for you.  If you hesitated or didn’t know the answer, then read on.

So, what do I mean by ‘being audacious’?

I mean to be bold.  Be brave and/or daring.   Step outside of your comfort zone.   Be unrestrained by the conventional way.  Purposefully learn something that’s outside of your norm.  Gain a new or broader perspective. Be adventurous and inquisitive.  Step up and do something different!

Why should you become audacious?  Here are three good reasons.

  • You’re sleepwalking.  Most of us have been here for either a brief time or perhaps are still stuck here in lifeisboringsville.  You do the same things every day – day in and day out – over and over.  It’s repetitious…and you’re tired of it!  It’s time to wake up!  It’s time to jump the rut and do something different with your life!
  • You’re living scared.  Most of us have been here too.  We’ve all been scared from time to time – but being scared and being too petrified to move or act are two very different things.   If we allow our fear and worry to imprison us, we may never break free and may never meet our true potential.  But if we can find the courage and strength, we may be able to overcome our self-imposed prison to find new amazing success and achievement.
  • You want something more or different.  Ahhh….one of my favorites.  You know that you have more in you to give.  More in you to share.  More in you to accomplish.  This reason is the one that focuses on the positive of untapped potential – and quite honestly has the greatest opportunity for success – if only we take a leap of faith and step out.

If you find yourself relating to one of the three situations mentioned above, then it’s time for you to take a step into audaciousness.

Don’t know how?  Try one (or all) of these:

  • Set one Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG – as author Jim Collins puts it) with a time limit.  Don’t set some little wimpy arbitrary goal.  Really put something specific out there that is just out of reach, but realistic.  Something that will challenge you to learn, grow, stretch, and evolve.
  • Push past your comfort zone.  If you know yourself well enough to know your boundaries, start poking beyond those.   If you can only run a 12-minute mile – push yourself to hit a 10- minute mile.
  • Create accountability.  Invite others to hold you accountable.  Share your goals and desires.  Tell them what you’re doing and have them help you succeed.
  • Meet one new person a week.  Proactively introduce yourself to others.  Choose people that you wouldn’t normally meet and/or create a list of people you want to meet (and seek them out without becoming a stalker). Be proactive in growing your relationships.  But don’t just develop acquaintances.  Develop a real relationship where you invest time in learning about others.  What drives them?   What experiences have they had?  Why do they do what they do?
  • Ask more questions than you make statements.  This is one of my favorites. Use open ended questions (who, what, when, where, why, and how).  Listen more, learn more.

These are just a few things you can do to jump start your new audacious life!  What others can you think of?

As a personal goal, I want to step out even more this next year.  I want to be more bold in the way that I live life, work, play and relate to others.  I won’t settle for less.

You only get one turn on this earth.  Live your life everyday!  Make it the best!  Make a difference!

I will be audacious!  What about you?


Steve Jobs: Don’t Settle

As my daughter and I were getting ready to leave the soccer fields tonight, my iPhone buzzed.  It was a text from our local news station letting me know that Steve Jobs had passed away.

When I arrived home, I grabbed my Mac Book Pro and sat down in our family room to surf for some more news about the tragedy.  As I looked around the room, my wife was on her iPhone, my 8 year old was playing on her iPod, and my 3 year old was watching a movie on our iPad that she launched from iTunes.

It was a profound moment of realization at the impact of what this one visionary had created.

Jobs was a visionary.  He created things that will impact us for generations to come.  He laid an amazing foundation from which even greater innovation will come.

He didn’t just create things that we wanted.  He was able to create things we never dreamed about.  Things that stretched imagination.  Things that made our lives better.

But why?  How?

Then I found it.  Buried in an interview he conducted somewhere along his journey, two little words.

“Don’t settle.”

He didn’t settle in the way he designed and innovated.  He didn’t settle when he was losing millions of dollars in Apple.  He didn’t settle when the naysayers were their loudest.  He didn’t settle when there was an easier path.  He didn’t settle in developing a great culture and company.  He didn’t settle in developing others.  He didn’t settle when it came to his customers.

He didn’t settle…       …and ended up doing the impossible and building the improbable.

Interestingly, he also said, “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”

And it’s through this relentless pursuit and passion that he created a legacy that will live for decades ….perhaps forever.  He was inspirational.

There are many leadership lessons to learn from the life of Steve Jobs.  But for now, I will simply say we will miss him.

What kind of legacy will you leave?

A Lesson in Dignity

My parents have taught me many lessons over the years.   I joke with them that I’m amazed how wise they’ve become as I’ve gotten older.   But as I get older, I’ve noticed that those lessons sometimes come when I least expect them – and last week was no different.

Last week, my Dad called.  Our phone conversation started off pretty normal.  After making sure everything was going well with me, he let me in on some news.

My Dad informed me that his company was downsizing and he had just been laid off from work.

I must admit – a whole host of emotions occur when someone close gives you news like this.  I ran the gamut and experienced everything from shock to concern to anger.

But what happened next was truly a life lesson in dignity.

As he spoke, I took note of several things.

My Dad was calm.  As I think about it, I wonder if I’d be that calm if I was just let go from my job.  He was very composed and his voice was soothing and relaxed.

My Dad was not angry.  He said that he didn’t blame anyone for the situation.  He didn’t take it personally.  It just was what it was.  He explained the company’s situation, economy, challenges and in the end that they (the company) had to make a decision.

My Dad was at peace with the situation.  He informed me that things happen for a reason, and clearly there was a reason for this to happen.  My Dad is a man of strong faith and knows that God has a greater plan for his life.

My Dad is close, but not quite ready to retire – he told me that he was going to search for the opportunity in the situation.  And that he was going to take advantage of it to make sure his next step better positions them [my parents] for the next chapter in their life.

My Dad took the high road.  Probably one of the most impacting parts of his story was when he told me about his boss having to terminate his employment.  He said that while he had known his boss for a good many years and they were friends, he had recently been restructured and his boss had only been his boss for about a week.

His boss and an HR rep sat my Dad down that afternoon.  My Dad already knew what was coming.  He said his boss was clearly upset by the situation and could barely talk.  When he did speak, he spoke quietly.  Then my Dad did something very cool.  He reassured his boss and told him it was okay.  He told him that he knew it wasn’t his fault.  In essence, he gave his boss permission to carry out his duty.

Knowing my Dad, I can mentally picture him sitting there with his employers.  His head held high – a compassionate look on his face – with a half-grin telling the weary messenger – “It’s okay.  Go ahead.”

My Dad left his company with dignity.  He did it with no shame or embarrassment.  He did it with the satisfaction of knowing he had contributed greatly to his organization. He did it with poise and pride.  He did it like I’d expect of a great man.

And, in a son’s eyes, my Dad is a great man.  He’s taught me much.  And I love him dearly.

While this is a very personal story, I wanted to share because there were several lessons above about how to think and act when life knocks you down.

One of the most valuable lessons is one my parents taught me growing up:  You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control how you react.

I have taught and re-taught that lesson to many (and reminded myself of it many times).  To see it in practice by the one who taught it to me in such an extreme circumstance is absolutely inspiring.

The next time, I find myself face to face with a difficult dilemma – I will remember this story.  I will remember my Dad.

How will you react when faced with a difficult challenge?

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