“The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all.” — Richard Branson
Many moons ago, in a land not far away, a reader of my blog told me that they liked me better in real life than on my blog.
They said they liked my blog, but that I had so much more to share than what showed up in my writing.
They said I need to get my bold on.
They said I need to be more bold, in all things, great and small.
I said, “Great…But, how? How can I build my boldness –if I’m not already bold?” He didn’t really know how. He just knew it was a good idea. I didn’t really know how either, until a few years later.
Or, at least, I had an idea.
So, I introduced into my life, what I called Richard Branson Fridays.
Introducing Richard Branson Fridays
One day, I decided I would do an experiment to build my boldness. I created the idea of Richard Branson Fridays.
Yes, that’s right.
On Fridays, I would show up as Richard Branson.
I made a decision that I would add an experiment in the pursuit of boldness and I would show up on Fridays as if I was Richard Branson.
I would ask myself, “What would Richard Branson do?”
I would try to feel, how I believe Richard Branson would feel, walking into a room, making big bold decisions, and acting full of confidence, and creating amazing clarity around the future.
Talk about feeling strong, all day long!
At First, I Was Not So Bold
I was off to a slow start. I wasn’t really sure what to do, and I found myself over-thinking the process (and that was a big part of the problem.)
I had to get out of my own way. I had to stop thinking, and do more feeling – to feel as if I was Richard Branson. It helped that I had read a few of Richard Branson’s books, including The Virgin Way, Screw It, Let’s Do It, and Finding My Virginity.
And, even though I was just mimicking what Richard Branson might do, I was afraid of losing myself.
But then I realized, now matter how much I play pretend, I’m still me. (Plus, I had the whole rest of the week to revert to my former self if need be.)
This was just another way to explore and expand what I was capable of, while learning how to be more bold – and have fun in the process. And it actually changed me, by helping me be more me.
It helped me find a better, bolder me that was hiding inside. It helped me be all of me.
The more that I learned to play with the process, the more I learned how it felt to be bold. The more I learned how it felt to chop big problems down to size.
The more I learned how to boldly walk through obstacles.
How Richard Branson Fridays Helped Me Achieve More
It turned out to be, a great way to realize my full potential. It was a very real way to find the edges of opportunity for growth and greatness.
In addition to feeling more alive and flowing with energy, I started to use it various settings and scenarios that would ordinarily be high stress.
It also helped me think bigger, think better, and think bolder.
I ended up playing the role of “head coach” of Satya Nadella’s Innovation Team (Satya is CEO of Microsoft, a little software company that changes the world.)
This really required me showing up with bold ideas to shape the future and to help business leaders change their game. It also required that I help a lot of smart people come together around those bold ambitions and create clarity and confidence as we headed into the unknown. (Side note – I also ended up becoming a “CEO Whisperer” as a result of my new found boldness.)
More importantly, Richard Branson Fridays gave me a way to practice and perform pushing my boundaries while feeling the edge of my comfort zone.
It gave me a way to push past my boundaries, because I was no longer limited by what would I do, I could at least play with the idea, of what might somebody else do, if they were in this same situation.
In a word, it gave me new perspective.
Get Past Limiting Beliefs with Richard Branson Fridays
We are really good at mirroring and mimicking other people. After all, we have the most advanced mirror neurons than on the planet.
We just don’t use them as much as we should.
We get in our own way with limiting beliefs and self-doubt or a limited identity.
Instead of seeing our full range of capability and our full power of possibility, we see our limits, or we see limits others imposed on us, that we didn’t really challenge.
We say, “I’m not an artist”, “I’m not an athlete”, “I’m not a musician”, “I’m too young”, “I’m too old”, “I’m not a corporate billionaire”, etc.
And then we get in our own way.
We get in the way of our mirror cells.
Richard Branson Fridays is a Way to Switch Perspectives
This is why the thinking technique, Six-Thinking Hats works so well. Six-Thinking Hats is a technique by Edward de Bono for for making better decisions by looking at a range of perspectives.
De Bono used the idea of switching on a metaphorical or imaginary “hat” so that you could temporarily suspend your disbelief and think in a new, and very different way. For example, if you are always negative, now it was OK to think positive (or vice-versa).
Thoughts are habits. And we tend to think in ways consistent with our character, our flaws, our biases, and all.
But we can break our thought habits when we play with personas and really ask what somebody else might do.
Richard Branson Fridays is also similar to the idea that Napolean Hill used to “emulate the great”. Hill would consult his “imaginary council” to reshape his character and add perspectives to his thinking and judgment.
Screw It, Let’s Do It
This is a story for another day, but here’s the short version. One of the managers at Microsoft starting a new business asked me to join his venture.
He had just listened to me frame the challenge of the Cloud and what we need to do to succeed, so he wanted me to be part of the transformation. He liked that I connected the dots and thought end-to-end transformation vs. piece-meal approaches.
When he asked me to join, I said I need to think about it.
I was actually really torn since I was thriving where I was, and this was a big unknown for me.
Well, I get home that day, I look over at my bookshelf, and there is Richard Branson’s book:
Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons in Life
I immediately write an email to my new manager to-be. Just one line in the subject:
“Screw it, let’s do it!”
And that was the beginning of a whole new series of adventures.
Obstacles Melt Away When We Make Up Our Minds to Walk Through Them
What I learned about boldness is, boldness changes everything. This is one of my favorite quotes about boldness and one that inspires me often:
“Most obstacles melt away when we make up our minds to walk boldly through them.” — Orison Swett Marden
This powerful statement reminds us that the biggest challenges we face often seem formidable and overwhelming.
However, the moment we firmly decide to confront them with unwavering determination and courage, these obstacles lose their intimidating grip on us.
Imagine obstacles as walls blocking your path. When you approach them with a bold mindset, it’s like summoning inner strength to push through or find a way around those walls.
You’ll discover that many of these barriers aren’t as solid as they first appeared.
They can crumble or reveal hidden doors when you approach them boldly.
This quote encourages us to adopt a fearless and determined outlook when encountering life’s challenges.
It’s a reminder that our mindset can transform seemingly insurmountable obstacles into steppingstones on our journey to success and personal growth.
So, the next time you face a daunting challenge, remember to walk boldly through it, and you’ll often find that the path forward becomes clearer and more accessible.
First Stop, Boldness. Next Stop … the Sky is the Limit
Keep in mind, you are not limited to Richard Branson. There is a world full of inspirational people with amazing abilities you can learn and emulate from.
I just wanted to share a very real story, with very real results, that maybe you can benefit from or use in your own life.
Who knows, maybe you want to learn how to think like Bill Gates.
Play at your possibilities and explore your art of what’s possible.
You just might surprise yourself (and others, too).
Get your bold on!