Take Action and Be Bold

advice to younger me - take action and be bold

For too many years of my career, fear, panic, dread, and uncertainty were my constant companions.

You might think I was a timid, mousy, thing. You might assume I played it safe and perhaps didn’t go particularly far in my career.

You would be wrong. I was wildly successful. I worked my way up the ladder in a conservative world where men ruled and women rarely made it past middle management. 

There are many things I would have told younger Emily given the chance – but the most important thing would have been, “you are not alone…many of the women you work with feel exactly the same way”. What a gift that knowledge would have been at the time.

Today my passion is helping women to take action and be bold so they can fully own their power. If I could go back in time, there are 5 pieces of confidence advice I would give to my younger self:

  1. It’s all about you – Decide what values are important to you, (honesty, courage, tenacity) and  live your life guided by those values with the goal of making yourself happy. It’s none of your business what other people think of you and when you treat yourself like your best friend and the person you respect and admire most in the world – others will do the same. (And if they don’t, it’s irrelevant – why? – because it’s none of your business what other people think of you.) 

  2. Be grateful and kind – Practice gratitude every day. When you’re focused on the good in others and the good all around you, you don’t have time for negative energy. If the self-critic pops up in your head, thank her for wanting to protect you and ask her to kindly shush, then turn your attention to gratitude and power through. 

  3. It’s all about connection – Surround yourself with good people and nurture those relationships. In business, find a network of friends who will help you raise your game.  Your right people will always be honest (but kind), push you outside of your comfort zone, and support you when you fail. Having these connections will build your resilience, and having greater resilience will build your confidence. 

  4. Dream big and take a step every day – Dream big and set goals. Expect to be uncomfortable and scared – everyone is when they challenge themselves. But, the definition of courage is being scared and doing it anyway, and nothing will build your confidence faster than taking action. Even when you fail, taking action builds confidence. Get into the habit of finding and taking at least one action (no matter how small) every day to keep moving forward. 

  5. Start failing now – Nothing big, nothing important, nothing life-changing, ever happened without risk, and taking risks means at times you will win and at times you will fail. Failing gets easier and easier with practice. You get back up, dust yourself off, note what is to be learned from this failure, and try again. Because, while taking risks and living in a place of working toward your dream can be scary, it is also the most exhilarating life you can live.

Take action and be bold. Know who you are and find that dream that inspires you. Surround yourself with a posse who believe in you, and even when you are afraid, take action every day toward making your dreams a reality.

What do you wish you’d known when you were younger?  Let me know by hitting reply or join us in the Facebook group, Bold in Business Community and share with us there.  And if you’d like some extra support in confidently owning your power, you can sign up for your free clarity call with me right here.

If you don’t have….

When I first started out in business, many years ago, I was excited, I was hopeful, and I was terrified as I headed to New York to start in an entry level job in publishing. Part of me was reasonably confident I was going to figure this out and I was excited to get to it.

Another part of me, the “downer” part, unfortunately, said things like “Who do you think you are to be….?” and “What makes you think you can….?”.

It’s not that this part didn’t want me to succeed, she was just trying to manage disappointment and humiliation by keeping the bar set very low. Her favorite strategy for saving me from failure was to throw up mountains of fear when it came to risk taking.

Because my more optimistic part was as strong and sometimes stronger, I took some of those risks anyway and in time my fear got smaller and smaller.

The more action I took, the more confident I became. I began to own the “feeling” of success, and loved it, of course. I was also, importantly, developing muscle memory for the process of failing and surviving – and getting back up and trying again.

Over time I learned that success at work and in life often come down to taking action. And when I’m nervous and frightened, I’ve learned to look for the smallest possible step that I can take and to start there.

What I wish for you, (reader) I also wish for my son and for all my beautiful, smart nieces and nephews – all in their 20’s. My wish for you is that is that you throw yourselves into your work with abandon. That you ask big questions (without worrying if they’re dumb) in order to inhale all the knowledge you can. I hope you will take ridiculously bold risks – caring not if you are right or wrong, but rather about what you will learn and what impact your good ideas can have.

I hope if any of you forget how smart and wonderful you are, and you find yourself stopped by fear, that you will find that smallest possible step you are able to take – and then take it.

I hope if you ever need a reminder of how capable and brave you are, you will have a network of people to whom you can turn for support and renewed courage.

And, if you don’t have that critical network of support (yet), I hope you call me.


Emily Barrosse
Founder and CEO
Bold in Business
Join my free Facebook group:Bold in Business Community

It’s none of your business, I said…

A few weeks ago, I was in a meeting where someone said something I didn’t agree with. In fact, I felt quite strongly about my opinion, but I was new to this group and I did not know these people. At the time, I thought if I speak up and disagree they will think I am negative and disagreeable, and so lacking the courage to do otherwise, I kept my opinion to myself.  But, I left that meeting uncomfortable that I had stayed silent.

Almost immediately after the meeting, I thought of a favorite saying, one I’ve been trying to live by – it was advice a mentor gave me years ago, “what others think of you is none of your business.” I will never forget the first time I heard it. Hearing those words stopped me in my tracks.

“What others think of me is none of my business.”
Why didn’t I remember that while sitting in that meeting? I want to be supportive, honest and respectful of others, but most important – I want my choices and actions to reflect my authenticity and honor my integrity. Staying quiet because of my fear in that meeting did neither of those.
What others think of me? It’s none of my business.
I was talking about this with a member of my program the other day. She came to me worried about speaking her mind at work because of a group of critical women in her office. I said let me tell you something that someone once said to me – “what others think of you at work is none of your business.”
Because truly, there is only one opinion you need to worry about at work or anyplace else for that matter, and that is what you think of you!
Next time you are hesitating to speak up and make your point of view heard, ask yourself the following:
1. Is what I’m about to say in alignment with my values?
2. Is speaking up authentically me?
3. Does it feel right to stay silent?
My student was on board but thought it was surely easier said than done. She asked “How do I DO it, Emily?” I understood what she was saying because when I first heard this advice, I felt the same way. So, I want to share with you what I did and what I advised my client to do:
1. BELIEVE – you must first believe that what you say has value. Believing your opinion has value will give you the courage you need to express yourself. Believing your opinion is worthy of being heard leads others to believe it, too.
2. AFFIRM – Every morning write down the values that are important to you: I am honest; I am courageous; I am hard-working. Repeat them to yourself throughout the day. Your brain takes what you say as a program that it wants to execute on to make reality. Simply by saying these phrases your brain will believe they are true.
3. PLAN – Write down how you will handle conflict if it arises for you today – will you confront the person, will you set the record straight? Will you speak up for yourself? Being prepared with a plan has a huge impact on successfully handling situations when they arise. (Listen to Rick Hanson’s podcast on the courageous brain – https://www.rickhanson.net/a-courageous-brain/?highlight=courage)
4. PRACTICE – Finally, practice, practice, practice. Go into each meeting with the goal of contributing at least one thing. The more you speak up, the easier it becomes. The less you worry about it.
Employing these tips will help you to take more risks, speak your opinion and feel more confident!
Do you have something in your life or business where you are holding back because of the fear of other people’s opinions? Hit reply and let me know and tell me the first tiny step you are going to take to move towards it.

As a Professional Woman, are you Making This Mistake in Business?

Recently, I was having an important conversation with someone and even though I had prepared for it in advance and was certain of the exact words I wanted to convey, the conversation quickly went off track. In the moment – I got nervous, my mind blanked, and I blurted out the thing I thought would make him happy instead of the thing that I wanted and planned to say.

In my mind, I replayed the conversation for the entire 30-minute car ride home, upset at my people-pleasing behavior and that I hadn’t had the confidence to say what I wanted to say.

Finally, I said “enough.” I made a mistake. I will learn from the mistake, and I will try not to do it again. If you are a woman in business like me, you may have also been raised to be a “people-pleaser,” a nurturer whose focus is too often on the other person being happy. I’ve been working on changing that behavior for some time, so while erring on the “too nice” side still pops up occasionally, it is now the exception rather than the rule.

I found that becoming aware was the first step in changing my behavior so I could be my stronger, more authentic, self. When I am being authentic, I don’t want to please all people, but sometimes my discomfort with confrontation is so strong, I defer.

Last week, while teaching a class on this content, some women groaned as they recognized their own language choices in the descriptions of low-power vs high-power language and affect below:

Have you ever given away your credit?

  • Instead of owning your success with, “thank you, I worked hard on that.” You say: “It was no big deal,” “I got lucky,” “I couldn’t have done it without Joe and Mary?”

Are you using low-power language in your emails?

  • Self-effacing language – “Sorry,” “I guess what I’m saying,” “What this basically means…”
  • Undermining language – “Just,” “I’m no expert,” “I feel,” “I think,” “I believe,” vs. “I’m confident, I’m convinced, I expect”
  • Add unnecessary tag lines to the ends of sentence – “don’t you think?” “Does that make sense?” “Just a suggestion, ok?”
  • Use collective language (as though embarrassed to say I or my) -“We,” “Ours”

Check out this helpful Google app called, “Just Not Sorry”. It’s a Gmail Plug-in that highlights content in your emails, thus warning you when you write emails using words which undermine your message.

Developing a more confident image through your choice of language and non-verbals is worth the work – even if you are “faking it until you make it.”

Confidence is even more important than competence for some, according to this article, “The Confidence Gap” in the Atlantic Monthly:

“When people are confident, when they think they are good at something, regardless of how good they actually are, they display a lot of confident nonverbal and verbal behavior,” Anderson said. He mentioned expansive body language, a lower vocal tone, and a tendency to speak early and often in a calm, relaxed manner. “They do a lot of things that make them look very confident in the eyes of others,” he added. “Whether they are good or not is kind of irrelevant.” Kind of irrelevant. Infuriatingly, a lack of competence doesn’t necessarily have negative consequences. Among Anderson’s students, those who displayed more confidence than competence were admired by the rest of the group and awarded a high social status. “The most confident people were just considered the most beloved in the group,” he said. “Their overconfidence did not come across as narcissistic.”

And, the end of my story ? That day, though I felt awkward, I took a deep breath and contacted the person to schedule another conversation – this time it went as I had intended.

If you would like to begin using more high-power language, start by becoming aware of where you are communicating in ways that don’t represent the bold you that you want to convey. Grab a friend and do some role-playing. Nothing will help you own new practices and behaviors faster than taking action and doing.

Make the call to choose language more assertive.

I’ve created a helpful document with tips and role-playing exercises to help you practice fearless communication. Click here if you would like to receive a copy!

Interested in learning more about how you are communicating non-verbally? Check out this interesting article.



What Would Happen if Every Woman Spoke Her Mind?

What would happen if every woman regularly spoke her mind?

What if she never worried that others might criticize her or call her a bitch?

What if it simply never occurred to her to try and please others when expressing her beliefs?

What if she never, ever, concerned herself with the need to be perfect – to make no mistake and avoid at all cost anything that would embarrass?

What if every woman spoke her mind – with no fear of criticism or rebuke? What if she never gave a thought to retribution from those more powerful? What if she always acted on her beliefs and refused to hold her tongue?

What if every woman believed her voice was needed – that speaking up was not just her right, but also her obligation? What if her commitment to herself and to the world was to speak up – to be heard, regardless of the risk?

Would the bullying strategies of industries who put profit ahead of safety stop? Would powerful individuals, who hurt others with impunity be held accountable? Would we hold those in power to their promises? Would saving our planet for our children and future generations be a higher priority?

Would we still have mass shootings?

Would we allow those motivated by power, hatred or greed to rule us – whether in our homes, our places of work, or our halls of government?

A year from now – what would the world look like if every women in it could own her power, use her voice, and speak her conscience?

Speak your mind.

Live your power.