Perhaps it all begins on the playground at school. Somebody breaks a rule during Four Square and all hell breaks loose. “You can’t do that! That’s against the rules!!” Playing the game, whether in Four Square or in life, is all about following the rules. And when someone has the audacity to break the rules well, that’s when we collectively pile on the judgment and demand compliance.
But what I know to be true, to the depth of my soul, is that having audacity creates change. Audacity creates businesses, and art, and world ranked athletes. It creates best selling authors, award winning actors, and awe inspiring activists. In short, it moves people to action. It cuts through credentials and experience and it demands a level playing field for anyone willing to step up, be remarkable, and lead.
Culturally, Audacity is always paired with her vapid sister Ego, but they aren’t one in the same. Audacity is breathtakingly beautiful in her internal confidence; Ego seeks external recognition and is often offensive. Instead of being applauded for the change agent she is, when Audacity enters a room, barely audible snide remarks are exchanged and she’s left standing in the corner to enjoy her drink without company.
It can be very lonely when we choose to be audacious because culturally we’ve thoughtlessly accepted the notion that we shouldn’t challenge the status quo, that there are certain ways of doing things, that there’s an order that needs to be followed while on the journey toward success. Stepping off the well-worn path does require courage; the challenge lies in naming your fear, grabbing it by the lapels, and refusing to be controlled by it.
I invite you to be inspired this issue by Carmine Gallo who offers concrete advice on how to boldly conquer our fears around public speaking (pg. 17) and by Dayna Steele who challenges us to own the stage like a rock star, once we step foot on it (pg. 25). I hope you truly hear Bethany Eaton when she shares the importance of naming our heart’s desire (pg. 43) and Gerald McGroarty when he advises us to define our personal brand (pg. 28). I encourage you to apply Silken Laumann’s advice on how to choose audacity daily (pg. 50) and to pair that audacity with leadership in the same manner that Angelina Jolie and Microsoft (pg. 32) and Dennis Willms (pg. 70) have. –All in an effort to change the world. I want you to understand like Becky Blanton, that events don’t define who you are (pg. 20) and that there’s great merit in refusing to listen to the critics; Kim Nelson knows this first hand (pg. 35).
This brings me to the remarkable Seth Godin – the embodiment of audacity. If you haven’t read his book Linchpin, stop reading this magazine and go buy it. Send me an email after you’ve read it. It’s life changing.
My sincerest wish for you is that you’ll walk through your fear, embrace the truth that success is infinite in nature, and applaud instead of judge, those who choose to be audacious. Say quietly to the bitter hearts around you, “watch me” and go create change without ego. –See what happens. You have nothing to lose except the regret of never having truly lived up to your potential. As always, I believe in you. You are remarkable.