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

Taking Risks

Emily Barrosse

Emily Barrosse is a management consultant with expertise in strategic planning, process development; negotiations, managing risk, leadership development, cultural development and change management. She brings significant experience in business transformation and the translation of vision into strategy into actions taken that result in accelerated change and growth.