Advancing in your career, let alone life takes a little luck and a lot of work but in the end, you hopefully land where you want to be which is happy and successful.

How you get there is the real question.

We all know the folklore about the famous success stories paved with failure after failure only leading to success but what you don’t hear much about is the actual make up of these individuals – insert definition:

  • adjective: bold; comparative adjective: bolder; superlative adjective: boldest (of a person, action, or idea) showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous.

According to Costa and McCrae who are known for the development of the OCEAN modelbelieve there are ways to measure one’s openness to things like: ideas, actions, feelings, values, fantasy and aesthetics. Here are their six factors to consider when determining your level of openness:

  • Openness to ideas. Do you like a mental challenge? Rather than reading only popular novels, do you enjoy dabbling in philosophy at least once in a while? Are you open to ideas and solve problems just for the sake of keeping your mind active?
  • Openness to actions. Are you willing to try new things or do you prefer the same-old/same-old? If you’re high on this openness facet, you’re willing to try new foods, visit new places, and perhaps you’re always ready to check out the latest tech.
  • Openness to feelings. At any given moment, can you identify whether you’re happy, sad, or afraid? Do you find it easy to read the emotions of others? People high on openness to feelings are receptive to their own feelings and those of others. If you’re open to feelings, you’re both passionate and compassionate.
  • Openness to values. Do you think that there is only one “right” way to live? Should anyone who commits a crime be punished, or do you think that criminals can be rehabilitated? If you’re open to values, you’re able to see that life is full of gray areas. You also appreciate that other people’s views have validity and are willing to learn from them.
  • Openness to fantasy. Do enjoy imagining possibilities that don’t yet exist? Are you prone to daydreaming? Being willing to engage in mental flights of fancy suggests that you’re high on this openness trait. You like to turn new ideas over in your mind and even if you don’t act on them, you enjoy thinking about them.
  • Openness to aesthetics. If you’ve got free time, would you rather go to a concert or art museum or would you prefer to “veg out”? Is gardening or taking care of indoor plants one of your favorite pastimes?

Being bold can look like a lot of things. Take this quote from Sir Richard Branson. Wildly successful and equally known for being bold and taking risks. It’s served him well and if you look at the factors above mapped against his career success, the OCEAN model becomes a lot clearer to understand.

Call it “hustle”, “grind” (well actually please don’t as I can’t stand these terms) or simply call it being proactive, assertive, fearless or even courageous. No matter the label – there is an art to being bold without being overbearing. In order to move forward in life and get what you want, you will undoubtedly have to move beyond your comfort zone requiring you to take action, be open, be bold and hopefully not brash. Here are 5 ways to do just that:

  1. Speak up & Stand up: The only given if you don’t is that the answer will always be no and the situation will most likely never change. Don’t overthink it and put your fears about being judged to the side. Everyone gets scared but it’s the ones willing to breakthrough it who choose to be bold. Bold people actively express their needs with the intention to have them heard and fulfilled.
  2. Stop apologizing: There is an old expression that says never apologize more than once as it’s a sign of weakness. Never make excuses and own your actions as this shows both maturity and confidence. People who give a lot of excuses are typically fearful of being judged. Bold people understand this and don’t dwell on the negative and look to move forward.
  3. Don’t crumble at criticism: We all know the stories of Oprah, Disney, Dyson, Einstein and so on. If these people gave up on their ideas and pursuits because of public opinion, who knows where we would be today. Bold people know this and keep moving forward without allowing the naysayers to completely stop them in their tracks.
  4. Take measured risks: Bold people know that in order to exercise their courage, they will need to do something they haven’t done before and out of character. Being bold means experimenting. It doesn’t mean being irresponsible, it simply means you are able and willing to see past your current circumstances and open to creating new ones.
  5. Act “as if”: Or as many like to call it, “fake it until you make it.” It turns out there is something real to this. Pretend for a day that you are bold, no seriously try it. How would that make you feel? What might you do differently? Find bold people that you admire, research and study them and examine what and how they do things. Then model them and act as if you, too, are bold. Then when situations arise, don’t act as you would normally but pause and ask yourself what that person would do. Bold people know that this works and in order to grow in this area, it will take both time and putting yourself in new place and situations where you can expriment without feeling judged.

Final thoughts:

One could argue there is a fine line between being bold versus brash and they would be correct. Take our pal Sir Richard Branson, many have called him the latter but in the end, his boldness and of course his heart has won more people over in his achievements. Finding where the line is for you is your mission should you choose to accept it. Just remember along the way to be authentic, be vulnerable, be open to learning from failure, challenge the conventional ways, ask for help and if you do these things, you will undoubtedly begin to trust yourself more and increase your ability to be bold.

The floor is yours: What’s your advice on how to be bold?

Please leave your comment below as your insights are greatly appreciated and a learning opportunity for everyone reading this article.

With leadership,

Joshua /

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