Manifesting the Leader in You: 4 Tips to Bolster Your Boldness

“Be bold! Be brave enough to be your true self!” – Queen Latifah

Now, let’s get one thing clear… just because the day is bright and bold and just because we step up to the challenge plate to change the world doesn’t mean that it comes without fear and anxiety. After taking the leap into entrepreneurship, I’m sure we have all spent a night or a week in the fetal position wondering what in the hell have we really jumped into.

Deciding to leave corporate America didn’t come easily. I was a divorced mother of 2 young girls, had been with my company for 15 years and I actually loved my job. I traveled all over the country, sometimes on the private jet, created leadership development programs for all levels of leadership, coached executives and worked on some of the largest implementation plans across the country. I was responsible for 50,000 people, in 12 states and 45 hospitals across the country, but I wanted something more.

I knew my purpose was to develop leaders on a larger scale and impact the lives of people across the globe. I felt the desire in my heart to create my own programming and write my own books to contribute to the development and success of others. My purpose would not let me rest. It spoke louder than the people who told me I was crazy or asked if I was being fired. I had to do it. So, I went to my financial planner and we devised a plan and off I went to boldly go where I hadn’t gone before.

As women-owned business leaders, we have all experienced that pivotal moment where we know it is time to be bold and to do “the thing.” Whether it’s at the start of our entrepreneurial journey or if it’s taking on new investors, there comes a time when we have to boldly step out or speak up.

We talked with the women here at FocusWorks and compiled 4 of our favorite practical yet powerful strategies to help bolster your boldness.

1. Know who you are. “In our personal lives, if we do not develop our own self-awareness and become responsible for first creations, we empower other people and circumstances to shape our lives by default.” – Stephen Covey.

Boldness comes from your core and fundamentally aligns with what you believe. A strong sense of self-awareness is an essential leadership capability that gifts you with an outside-in perspective of yourself- strengths, values and derailers.

Among many other benefits, self-awareness impacts your ability to self-regulate, allowing you to slow down impulses (aka climb out of the emotional mud) and modify your behavior to improve impact, accommodate tasks and handle challenges.

Here are a few suggestions to help enhance your self-awareness:

  • Consider spending time to develop your life story. What experiences have had the biggest impact on who you are? Reviewing your life story helps you to put things into context, drawing out observations that provide key insights into your strengths, values and behavioral patterns.
  • Be open to feedback. Proactively ask people you have built relationship with for specific feedback. Be sure to be appreciative of the feedback without becoming argumentative or defensive. Feedback is a gift (even when the wrapper is atrocious) that provides insight into how you can minimize blind spots and continue to develop.
  • Consider partnering with a coach or completing a cognitive or temperament assessment. Assessments along with outside professional perspective can be helpful in pulling back the layers and shedding light on key developmental areas. FocusWorks offers assessment and coaching options. Click here to contact us.

2. Know what you want. “The first secret of getting what you want is knowing what you want.” – Arthur Hlavaty

Being clear on what you want to achieve gives you a sense of empowerment and a plan. Put your success into focus and make sure you are set up with clear goals and a clear understanding of how to accomplish them.

We recommend a 4-pronged approach to action planning:

  • Describe your objective. What is it that you want to work on? Why? This broader picture often aligns with your personal values, personal gratification and your unique sense of fulfillment.
  • Define your goals. The SMART acronym has been around for a while, and it continues to be a valuable approach to define goals with substance. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timebound. A goal without a deadline is a wish and the likelihood of it being granted is slim. Defining your goals is also about taking time to consider what will success look like (how will you know when the goal is achieved)?
  • Identify resources. Think about who and what is required to support the accomplishment of your goal. Really give this some thought. Are there experiences needed to help you enhance your capabilities? Is there a particular network that can provide positive exposure for you and your business? What funding is required and through which channels might it be obtained?
  • Proactively consider challenges. Be aware enough to know that things can go wrong and that distractions creep in. Consider your challenges upfront along with ways that you can overcome them or minimize the risk.

3. Move your feet. “I’ve learned that it’s better to move fast. I’d rather we make a mistake, realize we did, and try something else instead of spending a lot of time thinking and not acting.” – Rashmi Sinha

After you are clear on who you are and what you want, it is time to make a move. But then, all of a sudden those pesky thoughts begin to stir in your mind- what if this isn’t the right move, I should do more research, I think it needs more work… Before you know it, more time than you care to admit passes by and you are stuck in that state of over-thinking to the point that a choice never gets made and action never takes place. A stale dream-snatching place of indecision known as analysis paralysis.

Ever been there? What we’ve learned in our experience is that action is the quickest way to break free of analysis paralysis, but how? Use these tips to help you swallow your pride and perfection and start making traction:

  • Progress over perfection. High expectations coupled with gusto and strong determination can lead you down a slippery slope into the clutches of perfectionism. Here you either spend an unsustainable amount of time nuancing the details (which can lead to anxiety and burnout) or you give up the struggle to live up to your perfect expectations and resign completely. Know when it’s “good enough” by shifting your focus from the microscopic details of perfection to the more macro view of progress and consider how far you have come along the journey and what that which will get you further along the path.
  • Realign with your anchor. Consider your core values and why you got started. Remembering the broader vision can serve as a trigger to snap you out of your head and into the bigger picture and the world-changing work that is more important than being consumed by thoughts.
  • Work the plan. Avoid getting overwhelmed by trying to do everything at once and instead approach your goals using the action plan you’ve created. Take it step by step and hold yourself accountable for completing each small milestone.

4. Build your Personal Team to Sustain Momentum. “Surround yourself with a trusted and loyal team. It makes all the difference.” – Susan Feldman

There will be missteps, mistakes, and moments when you fall flat. Yes, remembering your why and revisiting your goals, helps you to look past a short-term setback and refocus on the bigger mission. But there is nothing more impactful than harnessing the power of positive people. Having a tribe where you can connect, communicate and share common experiences is game-changing.

Investing time to build your personal team will pay off in priceless support that can help replenish your bold meter and encourage momentum.

  • Move beyond a silo mentality. You were not meant to do business alone. Connecting with others not only provides fresh perspective but it also enhances our reach and extends our capabilities.
  • Connect with others. Really connect. Be intentional about scheduling regular coffee, lunch or check-ins. Also be intentional about allowing these connections to be two-ways- beneficial to you and to the other person.
  • Ask for help. Ask for someone to mentor you. Ask for guidance when you need it. Ask for what you want. If the answer is “no” then ask someone else. This will help you build resilience and can accelerate your development and the attainment of your goals.

We’d love to hear from you. How have you been bold in your career or entrepreneurial journey? Step up and share your bold moment right here!

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