Yesterday I had a conversation about audacity and whether or not it’s a positive character trait. While it’s true that many know the second definition of audacity, which is, “Rude or disrespectful behavior,” the first and more common definition is, “A willingness to take bold risks.”
BOLD. DARING. BRAVE.
Your first vision may be the audacity to do something that conquers a fear, like skydiving or cliff jumping. Sometimes, though, it can be the momentary bravery you need to make that call you’ve been dreading. Audacity is Sisu. It’s chutzpah. It’s the stuff of courage and determination.
In fact, our most difficult experiences become the crucibles that forge our character and develop the internal powers, the freedom to handle difficult circumstances in the future and to inspire others to do so as well.
Steven R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
These are concepts that don’t translate easily because they represent a set of ideals. Often we find them difficult to explain but we know them when we see them. There is a line where audacious behavior can become a negative trait – just like the definition. Chutzpah in it’s original meaning also has negative connotations. Our Americanized version has turned it into the audacity we admire, even if it’s wrapped in brash, unapologetic behavior.
A few friends have taught me a lot about audacity. Just today, Tracy Seville (who can tech you plenty about living an audacious life!), shared an exceptional video of Pat Mitchell, Editorial Director at TEDWomen, giving her acceptance speech for receiving an honorary Doctorate from the University of Miami. It’s about having the audacity to live dangerously – as a problem solver and a change-maker. For me, it is the reminder to look past the judgement and opinion of others in order to make a difference.
Recently I’ve also been paying attention to Christopher Lochhead. It’s hard not to because he’s audacious. Christopher is a Best-Selling author, Advisor/Investor to over 50 Silicon Valley Startups and I met him when he was a CMO at a public company. He celebrates audacity on his podcast with guests that live the Lochhead, “Follow your different,” ethos. It has quickly become one of the not-to-miss podcasts for business leadership. Tune in and listen up if you want to learn from audacious leaders.
I encourage you to embrace your day and your week with audacity. Learn from those around you that follow their different. Live boldly with vision and a plan for progress.
Have you ever said something stupid? I have. Maybe you spoke out of turn? Let something slip that you shouldn’t have? I did. I also know some pretty smart folks that have done the same. What did you do? Humbly apologized, I hope. I also offered to do what I could to make it better, sans excuses.
It doesn’t always work, right? We all make mistakes but sometimes you’re still at the mercy of the maturity on the other side of the table. Granted, some open-mouth-insert-foot moments are worse than others. Forgiveness can take time.
Here are 3.5 tips for how to act when you’re the one that got “dissed”…
Character, selflessness and focus
are the reasons
that the Pittsburgh Steelers are Super Bowl Champions.
“…The standard is the standard. We don’t choose to point fingers. We
stay humble in times of excellence, and achievements individually are part of a team. By the same token we don’t point the fingers as members of the team. The issue has been, is and hopefully will continue to be winning in this game indefinitely for the Pittsburgh Steelers. That’s where the focus is. We care less how others may judge portions of our football team or portions of our football game and are more concerned about the final outcome, which is having one more point than our opponent…”
How can I be more effective? Is there a road-map I can use to improve my effectiveness? What system or process does Jeff Marmins evangelize? I hope to address these questions by establishing an amalgamation of ideas as a premise for *most* of what my ramblings are about here at jeffmarmins.com.
Time has shown that no one philosophy works for everyone. We are all a work in progress, attempting to execute and learn concurrently. I have a passion for examining ways to improve processes for efficiency in sales and relationship management. That kind of “workflow improvement” finds its way into other aspects of my life. I also made my share of mistakes in years past that push me to learn and encourage effectiveness through character, values and principles.
Core Values as the driving force to an improved level of effectiveness
This model is the root of the “system.”
The model states that time-tested values such as Vision, Identity, Purpose, Order, Concentration, Integrity, Harmony and Progression drive effectiveness to your desired level. Each of these can be explored with some depth. I’ll address each individually in separate posts. Collectively, they combat “resisting forces” like, “Too many things to do, Fatigue, lack of purpose, not enough money, not enough time, mental fragmentation, etc.”
So, I imagine I owe Ms. Allison some credit for providing me inspiration. I’ve struggled with whether or not anyone is really interested in a blog about character and principles. See my post Principled Rant, 8/13/2005.
I picked up a recent copy of Wired with Julia on the cover. She knows how to garner attention and readership. She’s eye candy with no accomplishment other than infamy. And, the article discussing her tactics was an interesting approach – advice on how you, too, can do the same.
Here I am giving little, albeit more, web cred to Julia. It is in the interest of sharing that there is a better, more character based road to travel. There is a more generous means of establishing connections to others. And that’s the discussion i hope to foster.
Wouldn’t it be great to build the same kind of audience and following for interest in how to be more effective through Integrity? Harmony? Focus? and having a purpose!
A while back I came across a company that advertised “Sisu” as a character quality they were seeking in new-hires. Great word. It’s what I want to think of being when I start my day. It is who I am and what I aspire to be. As defined in Wikipedia, It is not momentary courage, but the ability to sustain the same:
Sisu is a Finnish term that could be roughly translated into English as strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of
adversity. The equivalent in English is “to have guts”, and indeed, the word derives from sisus, which means something inner or interior.
Usually sisu means the will and decisiveness to get the things done against impossible odds. It reminded me of Stephen Covey’s statement that true character is revealed in the crucible of life:
“A man’s true confidence is rooted in the wells of courage, and courage is evidence of character. In the end, a man’s character is revealed in the crucible of everyday challenges.”
Life brings moments when extraordinary courage is required. Decide. Have the will. Get things done.
November provides a great occasion to count your blessings and give thanks.
Teach your children the definition of gratefulness: “letting others
know by my words and actions how they have benefited my life.”
Make a list of those who have benefited your family, and discuss
ways you can show your appreciation. Remember that gratefulness is more
than a feeling. It involves expressing appreciation for others’
contributions. Consider these ideas:
Write “Thank You” notes to schoolteachers.
Make food or desserts for someone who has helped your family.
Send notes of appreciation to city leaders, police officers, or other public servants.
Recall the good things that happened this year, even the unexpected benefits of disappointments.
Grateful relationships should be the rule all year. It is the season, however, to give your old coat, your unused toys, some canned goods or whatever you can spare. If you don’t know where or how to do this then connect with your local Rotary Club.