20 February 2024

Reach for the stars - while staying grounded

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Woman standing on rooftop

When you recognise your potential you should act on it to its fullest extent, even if it seems irrational to others. Image: Kasanoff.

Bruce Kasanoff points out the difference between being bold and daring in your self-belief – and being blinded by the size of your ego.

I recently wrote about being irrationally confident, but in retrospect, I failed to mention one important detail: This practice works best for people who are not ego-driven.

If you are normally humble, then an occasional bout of irrational confidence can be highly useful, but if your ego is too big, then you routinely will be overestimating your abilities.

Another way to describe the ideal way to be is to practise grounded audacity. This means having a bold and daring belief in yourself without being blinded by ego. It’s about recognising your own potential and acting on it, even when it seems irrational to others — but doing it with a sense of humility and awareness.

Let’s work out how such a mindset unfolds.

Accurate self-awareness: You benefit greatly from a factual assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Unlike ego-driven confidence, grounded audacity is built on a realistic assessment of your capabilities.

Resilient optimism: You are willing — sometimes eager — to pursue ambitious goals, even in the face of adversity or previous failures.
This differs from being delusional, as it’s based on a rational assessment of your capabilities combined with your firm (perhaps purpose-driven) resolve to succeed.

Focused intention: This is as close to a superpower as humans get — a far greater than normal ability to focus intensely on your goals and vision. This is such a life-changing skill I’ve created a course that teaches it.

Humility in success: You get extra points, and a better life, when you maintain humility and gratitude even in the midst of success. It’s about striving for greatness without losing sight of one’s origins and the contributions of others.

Willingness to learn and adapt: Purely ego-driven individuals often make the mistake of thinking 100 per cent of their success is because of their ‘extraordinary’ gifts and are slow to recognise when they are wrong. It pays to be open to new information and feedback and to adapt accordingly. In other words, pivot when you need to pivot.

Treasure the journey: Understand that a rich life comes from treasuring every step of your journey, rather than arriving at the outcome you imagined. Even with focused intention, you cannot control the world itself. Sometimes the outcomes are different from what you had good reason to expect.

Grounded audacity is a balance between bold confidence and an accurate understanding of your abilities and circumstances. You can be extraordinarily confident in your pursuit of goals, while still being aware of your own limitations and the reality of the situation.

*Bruce Kasanoff is the founder of The Journey, a newsletter for positive, uplifting and accomplished professionals. He is also an executive coach and social media ghostwriter for entrepreneurs. He can be contacted at kasanoff.com.

This article first appeared at kasanoff.com.

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