Updated: Sep 27
Before I get to the nitty-gritty of being bold to help find your voice, I think it's important to have example definitions/ meanings/ uses of the word before giving any life coaching advice.
According to McKay Law, "Being bold is only a bad thing when you’re not being deliberate. Lots of people think being bold involves being completely dangerous. Acting without any thought and reasoning before making their choices. There’s a difference between being bold and being stupid."
Now if I'm giving the Wikipedia answer, it's only fair to share the Dictionay.com answer as well, "not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger or rebuff; courageous and daring."
And of course, last but not least, Forbes should have input. According to their 10 Behaviors that Make Boldness a Virtue and Not a Vice, they "...identified 10 behaviors that created an exceptionally positive outcome when combined with bold leadership... good judgment... the ability to inspire and energize... recognition of what need[s] to change... openness to feedback from others... willingness to listen to others' ideas and opinions... having high standards of excellence... ability to market and sell new ideas to others... clarity about the vision and strategic direction... spotting new trends, potential problems, and opportunities... keeping others focused on top priorities..."
Alright, so we have different perspectives and scenarios. But now it's my turn to tell you what I mean when I use the word "bold". A bold person is someone who is willing/ able to speak, live their truth, and have confidence.
I remember growing up hearing from different people in my life (friends and adults) that I shouldn't be too bold, as being bold could cause others to think that I am rude. However, that never made sense to me. I knew that being too blunt (straight to the point or saying something without a lack of concern for others) wasn't the best in most situations, but I couldn't understand why being too bold was bad.
An example: in high school, the school would play music during lunch. At that point in my life, I didn't care what strangers thought about me. My friends and I would be standing at the metal folding tables (there weren't any chairs) to eat lunch, laugh, and just hang out. Most days, I would start to dance. It looked pretty much like Jimmy Fallon's dance.
My friends were embarrassed and would move to the other end of the table hoping that I would stop. So, I just would keep going or go stand next to them. Personally, I think of that as bold but also confident.
But if you look at it from my friends' points of view, I was acting stupid, had a lack of good judgment, did not energize or encourage them to join in, was disrespectful, definitely did not consider their feedback, and more based on the definitions above. They all thought I needed some personal development or growth.
Now I was a teenager, so maybe the definition of bold is different for teens than it is for adults. The average teenager isn't running a business or a manager of a company. I think because of that, the definition from Forbes doesn't seem like it applies to teens.
So I want to compare my dancing example to another one from when I was in high school. During my senior year in high school, I was the president of a non-academic club. Every year my school had our cultural fair. All clubs were welcomed to participate by picking a country and teaching the school something about their culture. Students purchased tickets and then those tickets were used to buy food or a small item from each club. The academic clubs got to exchange their tickets for money for their club; non-academic clubs' money went to the school's activity fund. After I found this out, I spoke to the Activities Director and told him our goal. We were raising awareness for child soldiers in Africa and our money was going to go to a non-profit. I was able to negotiate so that 50% of the money raised would be able to get transferred to the non-profit if we agreed to the other 50% being used for the school. I told him specifically for it to be used for the special education department to attend prom in a limo.
This example is not to boast but to explain HOW I stood my ground, was blunt, and didn't take no for an answer. I risked rejection, pushing to have the rules bent, ignored etiquette, and didn't care about being rebuffed. I was energizing my club (and the school during the actual fair). I had a willingness to hear the "why" and countered it. Lastly, I had the ability to keep my club and school focused on the top priorities which were raising money to help these children and educating my classmates on the realities of what was happening in Africa.
I have found that being told to "know your place", "your opinion doesn't matter here", "you're too young", "you don't know what you're talking about", and other phrases like that tend to either quiet a person or causes them to say things they might regret later in life (or immediately). Be discerning when and how you are standing your ground, choosing to be bold, and in some cases, blunt. Just because you get straight to the point at times does not mean you are being rude as long as you choose your words wisely.