Holding back is an easy thing to do. There are times when it’s smart to hold back, watch a situation unfold, and be conservative in your approach. That’s an important skill to develop, but I think the opposite skill is just as important and much harder to learn.
Here’s an example from a member of my team. He has a background in sales and moved into directing our partnership efforts. This was new territory for us; I didn’t have much background in this and he didn’t either. He started small by contacting sites that we had previous affiliate relationships with. Within a month, however, he was closing contracts with sites that have millions of monthly views and built an impressive portfolio of partnerships. It was an amazing piece of work and far outside what I thought was possible.
There’s a time to be audacious.
One of the best examples of this is how Richard Branson got started in the airline business. He was among a group of passengers stranded at a small airport on the way to Puerto Rico because of a canceled flight. He had the idea to charter a plane, and divided the cost of the charter among the stranded passengers. They gladly paid $39 to continue on their trip, and the groundwork for Virgin Atlantic was started.
Looking back it seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to do, and that’s part of the beauty of bold action. In the moment it can feel gut wrenching, terrifying, and incredibly risky. By practicing being audacious in small things, we become prepared to be audacious in big things.
Audacity can be learned. Boldness can become a habit.
Start small by taking actions outside your bubble of comfort. Compliment someone who did great work even if it feels threatening to do so. Think of a strategy that could be huge even if it sounds a bit crazy at first. Develop your taste for bold action. Make a habit of looking for the bigger play or the key move in a larger course of action.
And most important, when the moment for action comes be audacious.