Be Bold

At Clorox, we encourage big, bold ideas from everyone. Bold innovation. Bold, new ways of working. It’s a team sport, and this guest blog captures the spirit we try to embrace every day.

Barbara Fagan-Smith is founder of Living ROI, an organization she created as a passion, to share her experiences and support others who want to live more authentic, joyful and fulfilling lives.

This post is excerpted with her permission from her Living ROI blog.  Barbara is also founder and CEO of ROI Communication.

When I was in fourth grade, my teacher, Miss Wilson, didn’t like me. I was too bold, too big, too confident. When I said I wanted to be President of the United States she told me, “There will never be a woman President in your lifetime.” I hope she is proved wrong on that count.

The author in 4th grade.

According to Miss Wilson, being bold isn’t how children are supposed to act — especially if they are girls. Miss Wilson’s words somehow imprinted deeply in my psyche, causing me to be bolder despite her, and they probably haunted me a bit over the years: Is there something wrong with me?

As it turns out, fourth grade memories are common. An executive leadership coach, Bobb Biehl, always asks his clients what they remember about fourth grade. According to Bobb’s research, what a child believes about themselves in fourth grade leaves a lasting memory and forms a long-term belief about how they see themselves.

Luckily, my parents had my back and assured me that my boldness was beautiful.

Being a bold woman isn’t always accepted in the world, even today.

If being bold and courageous is something that interests you, here’s what fearless people do differently, according to
1. Be authentic and vulnerable. Don’t hide how you feel. Don’t pretend. Be who you are. Face and embrace your fear. Let your uniqueness shine. Being real is very attractive.
2. Learn from failure. When you mess up; learn from your mistake and try again. There is no reason to be ashamed, embarrassed or fearful. Failure builds character. It creates epic tales of grand adventure. Failure leads to freedom. Fail your way to success. The sooner, the better.
3. Challenge convention. Don’t be afraid to go against the grain. 
4. Connect with others. Really connect. Get away from your electronics and connect face-to-face. Check in with people. Listen for what others need; meet those needs. Go the extra mile without expecting a thing in return. 
5. Speak up. Don’t be afraid to be heard. State your opinion. Take a stand. Let others know who you are and what you’re all about. You count. You matter. Fearless people know that! 
6. Take action. The wisdom and knowledge you have won’t count for much until you put it into action. Embrace fear. Act. Put your dream on your daily to-do-list. 
7. Do what it takes. Take risks. Do the things you’re afraid to do. Dare. Go after what you want. Don’t spend your time overthinking or overanalyzing. Don’t hold back; ask for support. Bet on yourself. 
8. Ask for help. Ask someone to mentor you. Ask for direction. Ask for what you want, when you want it. Most people love to help others. If the answer is “no,” ask someone else. Fearless people are good at asking for and receiving help. Fearful people stop after one rejection.
9. Learn to trust yourself. Keep the commitments you make to yourself and others. Do what you say you’re going to do. Write down your promises so you don’t forget them. Follow through. When you can trust yourself, you’re more likely to trust others. 
10. Learn new skills. Learn to enjoy challenges. When I wanted to be a better parent, I took parenting classes. When I decided to be a professional speaker, I joined Toastmasters. 
11. Shrink your fear. Take your power back. Stand tall. Look fear in the eye. Mentally see it get smaller and smaller. See yourself get taller and taller. Hold your head up high, pull your shoulders back and act confident. Soon you’ll feel that way too! 
12. Expect the best. Expect to succeed. Believe it will happen. Create a mental movie with an amazing ending. What if you believed the best is yet to come? How would you feel and what would you do today?
13. Don’t give up. Try again. Brainstorm solutions. Do something different. Look for the lesson. Look at the problem from a different perspective. Take a break and begin again. Go beyond the fear of not succeeding. Never give up.

Barbara Fagan-Smith today.