Audacity Matters

Today is a wild and crazy time! Whether you’re extremely proactive, or mainstream proactive like a typical mid-manager in a typical mid-sized company … to thrive and survive in a disruptive world, you’ve got to put yourself, your ideas and your beliefs out there.

Not just occasionally. Continuously.

Not Dickensian-style — “Please, sir, may I have some more?” — but boldly. Passionately.

Your own hero’s journey begins with the understanding that you’ve got to be ballsy. Otherwise, today’s world will drown you out.

“One of the things that’s behind everything I do was spending the first 25 years of my life in an economically dying environment, where I witnessed what happens when people fail to adapt to disruptive change. Audacity matters. That’s the only way out. Be aggressive with your ideas and beliefs.”

That comes from Alec Ross who, for four years, served as senior advisor for innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And he has now penned one of the essentials to your understanding the future of work, the best-selling Industries of the Future

“I am an unapologetic optimist,” shares Ross, “which is needed, especially because driving change within very large hierarchies tends not to be the easiest thing in the world.”

So when he says audacity matters, Ross is saying: Even if others think you’re nuts, you’ve got to believe in yourself and your ideas. You’ve got to push past your own doubts, or others’ skepticism, and go for it. Draw upon your passion and vision to guide you.

Ross developed his audacity chops years earlier as co-founder of One Economy, a global nonprofit dedicated to erasing the digital divide among third world and lower-income populations.

“We were four guys in a basement and didn’t have two nickels to rub together,” Ross relayed. “If you want to see people like Bill Gates of Microsoft, you just have to figure a way to do it. I managed to get in front of a lot of powerful and important people who later supported my NGO because I had the audacity to email them directly, hustle my way to get in to see them, and make a compelling case while I was there.”

He concludes, “If you have a measure of audacity and a willingness to be aggressive with your idea, that idea has a far greater chance of finding a toehold at the tables of power. You don’t need to go rogue. Just be very aggressive about your beliefs and be unabashed and don’t necessarily follow the minutia of protocol — that’s what’s necessary to ascend.”

Everyone else’s belief in you and your ideas begins with your own.

Get aggressive about your ideas. Now.

Do Something That Matters With Your Audacity

Jeremy Heimans is co-founder and CEO of Purpose, whose sole purpose is to create global disruptions through social movements. His firm has helped create movements to fight cancer, change the Australian constitution, stand up for citizens’ rights in Sweden and Uganda, and more.

Heimans has been honored with the Ford Foundation’s Visionary Award; named one the Top Ten People Changing the World of the Internet and Politics; called a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and one of the Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company.

He and Purpose epitomize audacity in action by leveraging the combined power of the Internet and social movements.

“As a child, my mental canvas was the world’s biggest problems instead of, like … lunch,” he says with a grin.

“When I was a kid, I went around to international conferences and met with Nobel Prize winners and heads of state, and I had this agenda of change I was trying to implement. People didn’t know what to make of me, I was such a funny kid. At 12, I had a meeting with the [Australian] foreign minister and at the press conference afterward I said ‘I’m very disappointed with the minister.’”

Heimans is a 21st-century movement entrepreneur, and he encourages all of us to use our audacity to be the same.

“Don’t look to institutions to make big change,” he pleads. “Maybe the most important way you can create change within institutions is to create something like an innovation team that’s protected from the institutional pathologies. The biggest and best value today is being created outside of big institutions.” This, coming from an ex-McKinsey & Company consultant.

Audacity Is Simply You Putting Yourself Out There

Be ballsy. Get aggressive. Just make sure you use that audacity to make a difference.

Excerpted from Bill Jensen’s book, Disrupt! Think Epic, Be Epic, which covers the habits necessary to survive and thrive in today’s crazy disruptive world. Bill’s latest book is Future Strong.


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Bill Jensen makes it easier to do great work. He helps companies and teams double their productivity and pursue their passions. Bill has spent the past 25 years studying how work gets done. (Much of what he’s found horrifies him.) Bill is an internationally-acclaimed thought leader who is known for extremely useful content, with a passion for making it easier for everyone to work smarter, not harder. His first book, Simplicity, was the Number 5 Leadership/ Management book on Amazon in 2000. His eighth book, Future Strong, is available on Amazon. Bill is CEO of The Jensen Group. Among his clients are Bank of America, Merck, Pfizer, GE, L’Oréal Italia, Genentech, NASA, The World Bank, BBC, Philips Lighting, the US Navy SEALS, the government of Ontario, Singapore Institute of Management, Guangzhou China Development District, and the Swedish Post Office. Bill’s personal life fantasy is to bicycle around the globe via breweries.

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