Pshaw, you say. That girl doesn’t need courage, she can sing. She can move. But Beyoncé wasn’t always Beyoncé. She used to have two names, just like you. Courage is what allowed her to put in her 20,000 hours, to push through the crowd of less remarkable artists, to leap over the hurdles the industry and life put in her way. Courage is what made her the businesswoman, pop deity, and modern (some say feminist) cultural role model she is today.
1. There’s a Sasha Fierce in Every Woman
As the lady says, “pretty hurts.” The cold hard fact is, strong women get resistance so you need to find a way to deal with it. For Beyoncé, creating an alter ego gave her the perfect way to experiment with her image, and her style, without being hurt by it. Sasha is fearless, ruthless, untouchable. By her own admission, the artist created Ms. Fierce to “protect herself.” Imagine if you had that kind of protection from the judgment of others. How would your decisions be different?
2. There’s a Destiny’s Child in There, Too
Believing you are destined for greatness, putting it in writing, and giving it a name multiplies your chances of succeeding by a factor of ten. What if, instead of imagining the worst that could happen when faced with a challenging decision, you asked yourself, “What’s the best thing that could happen?” When you feel yourself judging your ideas and actions because of some painful episode in your past, remember those things – the good and the bad – made you who you are today. Decide to accept them and get on with fulfilling your destiny.
3. Forces of Nature Are Never Satisfied
This woman wants to run the world and she wants you “college girls” to run it with her. Don’t believe me? Look up the lyrics to Run The World (Girls). Beyoncé is thirsty. Just when we think we’ve got her tucked neatly in a category, she pushes the limits one more time. How does she keep from getting complacent? She surrounds herself with talented people who demand greatness from her. Look at the list of personnel involved in any one of her albums. It’s epic. The very best songwriters, managers, audio specialists, producers, stylists, designers, musicians, not to mention her formidable husband, Jay Z.
How much easier is it just to say “Oh, okay, whatever. You’re in charge.” That’s what holds us back. I can’t imagine Beyoncé letting her agent or anybody else in her (I’m sure) massive entourage make all the decisions for her. She works hard to harness the talents of every individual in her orbit to get that extra edge. But she is the one in there every day, with her sequined sleeves rolled up, always pushing, pushing, pushing for more.
4. You Have to Be “Drunk in Love” With Yourself
As women, especially, we have to deal with the critical voices in our heads. I’m too tall. I’m too short. I have to get this weight off. I’m too introverted. I don’t know enough to do that job. Our own visions of ourselves holds us back, much more so than what others think of us. And all that self-criticism comes from a fear of the unknown.
Beyoncé looked that fear in the face, acknowledged where it was coming from, and then charged ahead with her dreams. When you start to feel the crush of self-criticism, recognize the fear for what it is. Take time out to regroup and fall deeply, madly, drunkenly back in love with yourself. Until you believe in all you can do – both today and in the future – the rest of the world won’t even have a chance to get behind you.
5. You Have to Know Exactly What You Want
Misalignment of goals, or confusion about your goals, is one of the biggest barriers to a courageous life and career. So pick something, something really big, something that makes you “freaky” uncomfortable and zero-in on that with a laser focus. Expect to feel challenged, to be nervous, to perspire, to have your heart race. Learn to welcome it. Get comfortable with the discomfort of doing things differently. If your palms are sweating, you’re doing something right.