My dear friend, Matt Brandt, once described “audacity,” as “a bold and blatant disregard for normal constraints,” and from that moment on, those words have been emblazoned on my brain.
If you look up the word “audacious” in Webster’s Thesaurus, however, you’ll see that it has several, very different connotations. One, as it relates to words like courageous, heroic, and gallant, and another is the audacity synonymous with impudence, temerity, or brazenness.
The difference between the two meanings comes down to love versus ego. Love-inspired audacity is courageous and bold and filled with valor. It’s the kind of audacity that’s required to change the world for the better.
Ego-inspired audacity is just annoying, irritating, or even–when taken to an extreme–dangerous. Some people are audacious just for the purpose of drawing attention to themselves, grabbing the spotlight, puffing themselves up, or advancing their own agenda. They have no care or concern about the impact of their behavior or action on anyone else. They’re not concerned about anything except their image.
And, therefore, they certainly don’t qualify for Extreme Leader. Not in my book, anyway.
If you think of yourself as an audacious person–or aspire to be one–I’d encourage you to ask this critical question:
“In order to do what?”
If your answer falls anywhere south of “in order to change my piece of the world for the better,” you’re not there yet. Technically, you may be acting audaciously, but–if I may be blunt–the rest of us will experience you as nothing more than a pain in the patootie. (I’ve always wanted to use that in a sentence).
So up the ante and raise the stakes. Be bold. Be blatant. Disregard the normal constraints in order to leave this place better than you found it.
And that’s as audacious an intent as I can imagine.