So you want to learn how to be a badass? Awesome! You are already on your way by just showing up here.
I first encountered this word when I was about 14 during a family trip to Kona, Hawaii. We were exploring one of the main streets and came across a store selling local coffee. Kona is known for their coffee so my family had to check it out…being good tourists and all. We went inside and my sister immediately saw this bumper sticker that said, “I love my badass attitude.”
She looked at me and said, “Christina, you need this. This is perfect for you.” I was a little confused at the time but it was a cool sticker so my parents bought it for me as a fun souvenir. When we returned home, I stuck it on my bedroom door and never thought too much about it after.
Looking back, I definitely had the makings of a badass. After 30ish years on this Earth, being around amazing people, starting my own business, dealing with a chronic illness, and moving to a different country, I have learned a thing or two about what it takes to be a badass and achieve greatness.
WHAT MAKES SOMEONE A BADASS?
Is it a look? Is it a feeling?
Way back in the day, hearing this term would usually conjure ideas of James Dean or the Fonz. It’s some dude who’s rough and tough. He’s a player and a bad boy. He wears a leather jacket, rides a motorcycle and maybe he’s not the most educated. This was a person that your parents would definitely not approve of.
Well, throw that notion out the door. It is long gone!
I like to think of Bill Gates. Nerd. Innovator. Tech genius. Entrepreneur. Philanthropist. Loving husband and father.
Or how about Michelle Obama? Bookworm. Born on the South Side of Chicago. Ivy-league graduate. Lawyer. First-Lady. A true inspiration.
CAN YOU LEARN HOW TO BE A BADASS?
Absolutely! There is no question!
You, as a human being, are incredibly resilient, adaptable, and capable of great change.
Truth. Being a badass will take time. Like all things that ebb and flow in life. One day you may be feeling on top of the world. The next day, maybe not so much and that’s okay! Success does not come in a day…unless you have some genie in a bottle laying around somewhere.
I’m going to ask you to look deeply within yourself and do some soul-searching.
Are you ready to be a badass? If you are, follow this step-by-step guide and there will be no limit to what you can achieve.
DISCOVER YOUR TRUE SELF
This is the foundation to every badass out there in the world. A badass is UNAPOLOGETICALLY themself.
But, how do you know what is your true self? How do you discover your true self?
What do you believe?
What are your values?
Consider the type of people, situations, environments that make you feel good.
Where and when do you feel happy, peaceful, and calm? Instincts tell you that this is a place where you are completely comfortable where time passes by without any stress.
Consider the type of people, situations, environments where you feel fake.
You may feel like you’re an actor performing in front of a live audience. There is an energy there that may feed you for a moment or two. However, after some time that energy is unsustainable. It becomes exhausting. Feelings of stress, anxiety, discomfort tend to grow. You just want to retreat or you find yourself taking an unexpectedly long time to recharge after certain situations.
If you’re wracking your brain about this and nothing seems to be quite clear yet. Don’t worry!
Go have a conversation with the people closest to you.
That classic saying, “I know you better than you know yourself,” tends to come to mind here and there is truth to that. Subconsciously, you may have created a complex maze of personality traits and habits that you can’t see which way is left or right. By simply talking to a friend or family member, profound information can be uncovered. They know your history. They see every angle of you.
The key to being a badass is identifying and acknowledging who you truly are.
Once you meet this milestone, hold onto it tightly. There may be times when you are tempted to fight your truth but every badass defends their ground with all of the strength that they have. They recognize those obstacles and are still unapologetically themself.
You have the ultimate power when you are living your authentic truth.
HAVE A VISION
Being badass means having a vision. It is a person who never clings to the past. Knowing where you start is essential to know where you’re going but don’t let it hold you back. Acknowledge the past, let it go, and always look ahead.
This is when you get to dream.
- Where do you want to be in 5, 10, or 20 years?
- What does your badass life look like?
- What type of career do you have?
- What is your financial situation?
- Who are you surrounded by?
- What skills will you have?
- What activities will you participate in?
- What are you passionate about?
By having a clear vision, incredible goals begin to materialize. With your starting point and your endpoint set, the path to get there is revealed. You will be able to finally take charge, decide how you want to reach your goal, and make a plan.
A badass dares to be different. Every single human being on this Earth is different and, when you embrace your true self, you also embrace being different.
No matter what other people think of you or don’t think of you and your choices, stay the course. You are on the path to awesomeness.
It’s not easy. We often create our identities around the reactions and habits of other people.
I challenge you to say, “WHO CARES!”
People will ignore you, judge you, and try to beat you down. Who cares….definitely not you. Normal is not something to aspire to. Normal doesn’t get you noticed. It only hinders your limitless potential.
What makes you unique? It could be a personality trait, skill, experience, family history. Every story is different so define yours.
How do you want to be different? Look at who you are now and your current situation. Are there things that you want to change or improve? Dig deep and allow yourself to be special, to be an innovator.
You are a caterpillar in the midst of becoming a butterfly.
BE ACTION ORIENTED
Once you have your vision, you now have to set clear goals for yourself, decide when you’re going to achieve them and how.
It’s time to create a roadmap.
Set milestones or mini-goals. These tend to be longer-term projects that will take a bunch of little tasks to complete which lead to, of course, your ultimate goal of being a badass.
I stand by the SMART goal method to really hone your efforts and motivate you to meet your milestones.
For added fun, grab a sheet of paper, some crayons and draw a long, winding road with stops along the way as milestone markers.
Next, think about the smaller tasks.
What can you do today? What needs to happen this particular week? What do you want to complete within the month? Make a daily list of things that you will need to accomplish in order to reach each milestone.
Your roadmap and to-do list are incredibly useful tools to see exactly what you need to do to stay you on track. They allow you to stay organized and make it easier for you to reprioritize and reorganize when you are feeling overwhelmed or blocked.
Most importantly, these tools give you purpose and something to look forward to. When you see that you’ve reached a milestone, take a moment to celebrate! You deserve it!
Keep in mind:
- Actions speak louder than words.
- Always follow through.
- If you say you’re going to do something, do it.
- Hold yourself accountable.
- Take responsibility.
- Avoid spending too much time planning.
- Avoid overanalyzing if this is the right step or not.
- Perfectionism often leads nowhere.
- Procrastination and laziness are the antitheses of progress.
And I’m not talking about physical strength. I’m talking about the mental and spiritual kind. Because, in order to uncover your truth and live your truth, you must be strong.
The road can be long. You may have to ask yourself a million questions or ask a friend a million questions. This journey may even lead you to experiment with different scenarios to see where you shine the brightest.
Inner strength will provide motivation and push you to keep going until you reach your moment of awesomeness.
Once you find some answers, having strength will also allow you to be honest. Honesty is very scary and difficult to confront but every badass is always honest with themselves and with others.
- When do you feel like you’re hiding?
- With whom or in what situations could you be more honest?
- When do you feel weak?
- When do you hesitate?
- What tasks or activities come naturally to you?
- When are you fearless and feel in control?
Try not to worry about what people think of you. I know it is often easier said than done but find inspiration in others who have come before you. Albert Einstein did not speak until he was about 4 years old. His teachers called him lazy and distracted. Oprah Winfrey grew up in poverty and was sexually abused. Nobody thought that she’d be the incredible media mogul that she is today.
The badass have mental toughness. They have a vision and they move full-throttle ahead. They are strong and so are you.
CONQUER THE NEGATIVITY
What are all of the buts and cants racing through your mind?
Negativity is all around us. It’s a normal part of everyday life. We hear limiting words such as but or can’t from the people closest to us. More importantly, we experience it within ourselves.
Avoid that trap at all costs.
Negativity can quickly latch on when you least expect it and burrow so far down into your subconscious that it becomes a ruthless, never-ending, cycle. It becomes a habit that you become accustomed to and that’s just not cool.
Sure, there may be countless reasons why you can’t aim to be better than you are but badasses keep their head in the game.
When you find your mind spiraling, take a step back and see what’s really going on. It’s probably enemy number one, fear. What are you afraid of? Is it fear of failure? Of disappointing yourself or others?
Let it all out.
- Identify the negativity.
- Is it a but, a can’t, or a not?
- Are you deflecting the responsibility and putting it on someone else?
- What is the basis of the negativity? Is it fear?
Have a conversation with yourself and talk it through. Remember why you’re doing this. Remember that you’re strong. Are these thoughts benefiting your goal? Are they helping you to forge a path forward? If not, let them go.
If you believe that you can’t do something, you won’t. That’s how the mind works. You give in to defeat without even getting started. You’re not owning your journey and you’re not holding yourself accountable.
Give yourself a chance. Allow success to be a possibility and believe in your ability to achieve greatness.
Fight the negativity.
Revisit your vision and your goals.
Tell yourself you’re capable, committed, and in control.
Start by letting go of but and can’t. Use phrases that are action-oriented and positive.
-This is too hard; I can’t do it.
-I’ll never reach my goal, so why don’t I just stop now?
-I’m not smart enough.
Say to yourself…
-I will focus my power on why it is hard and how I can overcome it.
-I will revisit my roadmap and assess how it can be reorganized to meet smaller milestones. I may not get there as quickly as I thought and that’s okay.
-I need to learn how to …so I will enroll in a class.
No doubt or self-sabotage here.
This way of thinking may not be solved overnight but if you focus on yourself and what you can do, you’re on the right path.
BE A RISK TAKER
Now, this doesn’t mean jumping off a cliff or skydiving. Again, it is the mental strength that takes precedence. Being a risk-taker is all about conquering your emotions and being fearless.
A badass has the confidence to put themselves out there in the world despite insecurity and fear. You are not afraid of looking stupid. You are not afraid of being different. You are not afraid of showing your true self. Despite what the past and present have told you, you are putting that all on the line to be better and do better in life.
Courage fuels you to break through all emotional barriers.
A badass is also a risk-taker when it comes to trying new things.
Once you have defined your vision and your path, in all likelihood, you will be forced out of your comfort zone. Fear of failure is real but the badass in you will jump right in!
Need to take a coding class to be the fiercest female engineer at Google? Go enroll in a class right now!
Don’t hesitate. Don’t let anything hold you back. The rewards outweigh the risk.
KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS
On your journey to greatness, if you haven’t guessed by now, you will confront many new experiences. Inevitably, in all of the excitement, you will probably attempt to conquer everything. Because, that’s what badasses do, right? They can do everything. They’re invincible.
While I’ve been writing about the importance of being action-oriented, a risk-taker, etc., knowing your limitations and knowing when to ask for help is equally badass. This journey will be filled with exploration and change. It will be impossible to have all of the answers and the skills of a badass because this is still a learning process.
Badasses are always learning and looking for ways to improve themselves.
As you face each new step, there will come a moment when you will need to seek out guidance and support. Why spend hours, days, weeks trying to solve a problem or complete a task when you could find a more efficient way to do it through the assistance of others?
Surround yourself with people who support you. When you are on the brink of defeat, they will lift you up out of the shadows.
Seek out greatness. If you find yourself stuck on a particular problem or task, find inspiration in others. Engage with people who have what you want. This could mean, physically, looking for mentorship. It could be simply reading an autobiography or a how-to book to see examples of overcoming personal and technical obstacles. Don’t allow yourself to be stuck. Find a way to progress.
Finally, when you want to look, feel, and truly be a badass, remember to spread kindness. Even if a person has a rags to riches story, they are not badasses if they are bullies.
Badass does not mean a bad attitude.
On this journey, you will have to turn people away as you focus on the road less travelled. These people are your friends, family members or colleagues. They may not understand what you are trying to accomplish.
When this happens, stay calm and do your best to let those people down gently. If family members want to spend time with you…well how can you resist that? That’s important! Offer to set aside time for an activity on a day that makes more sense for you.
Tone matters and you want to be remembered as a kind and compassionate badass who did not leave all those who loved and supported you in the dust.
Other times, you will face opposition. Somebody will want to argue and question your choices. Take the higher ground. Explain your journey. Heated discussions and yelling aren’t necessary. Remain neutral. If that doesn’t do the trick, do your best to end the conversation on a positive note, walk away, and move forward.
Your energy is better spent elsewhere.
I applaud you for wanting your life to be better and for aiming high. You are BRAVE!
Now that you are ready to take the plunge, tell me…
What can you do RIGHT NOW to be more badass?