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  • Jenn Donahue

4 Qualities of a Total Badass

Have you ever been called a badass?

Being a badass is about owning who you are without fear and standing up for what is right with conviction, regardless of the challenges and obstacles that may hold you back.

Are you ready to channel the inner badass you are capable of being?

Owning who you are, unapologetically, and going after what you want is what you were made for. You can learn how to push the fear aside and still move forward. When you possess the inner qualities of confidence, courage, and moral endurance you can change the world in a big way just by being yourself.

Becoming a badass can take practice. The experience comes from small crisis after small crisis, where you learn how to move forward with courage and determination. We often find ourselves battling fear, self-doubt, and the urge to compare ourselves to others. But by focusing on these four core qualities of a badass, we can discover our inner strength and achieve our goals, despite the doubts.

The misconception that you're either born with these qualities or not is simply untrue. Becoming a badass is a skill that can be learned. Some people are automatically good at this; some have to build it up over time

Here are 4 qualities that I believe qualify someone as a total badass.

1. Thrives in a crisis

Who we are in crisis says a lot about us. Our actions show not only our surface-level reaction, but also our ability to stay calm, lead, and see our team through to a solution or resolve. To be able to calmly assess the problem, weigh the outcomes of possible plans of action, and move forward to find the resolution, is a power not every individual has. The ability to thrive in a crisis highlights your resilience, strength, grit, and ability to trust your own instincts. Harvard Business Review highlights this by sharing that intuitiveness helps people to understand what lies ahead and how to reorient themselves and others around them so they can succeed in any environment. That sounds pretty badass to me.

2. Has both moral and physical courage

Courage is the ability to do the things that frighten you. It is the ability to face hard things because they are right for you, even if it makes you uncomfortable. This courage comes both mentally and physically. Moral courage (according to Ret. Colonel Patrick Sweeney, Ph.D.) is “a leader’s strength of character to be willing to incur risk in order to act according to his or her values and beliefs and stand up to authority to protect his or her soldiers’ welfare or defend his or her decisions.” Even if you are in the workplace and not a battlefield, moral courage is still important. When you display this type of courage you become a leader your team trusts and wants to follow.

Physical courage is in your strength, resilience, and awareness when facing danger. A LinkedIn article recently shared that our fear response is built in to protect us. It helps us assess our surroundings cautiously and reduce risk as we build new knowledge and competence around the unknown. Using physical courage, you can react to crises with strength, determination, grit, and power. Whether it’s doing what is best for you at the moment, or standing up for what is right when you see others struggling, having courage is one of the most valuable traits in a badass individual.

3. Achieved something that people did not think was possible

When we see someone succeed in what we previously thought was impossible, it is inspiring. Being an individual who pushes themselves to reach that goal, is resilient and admirable.

However, when we achieve something few people can do, it goes beyond that—it is the makings of a true go-getter. It shows your ability to see the impossible as possible. That blind desire to go for what you want no matter the reality of the situation is a trait that you not only carry within yourself but share with others when you are leading them.

I always like to say, “Go achieve great things” because this phrase embodies the courage and determination it might take to achieve the impossible. And I believe that we all have what it takes to achieve great things.

4. Takes things to the next level

Whether in your life or in your work, the desire to go above and beyond and push yourself forward no matter what is the foundation of what makes you a badass. It is your commitment to who you want to become that takes you to the next level. Some individuals find comfort in their comfort zone—finding joy in what feels safe rather than pushing to achieve more. Being a badass is about getting out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself to grow. There is power both in having awareness to see where you can improve and in knowing when you have outgrown your current space and are ready for more. Your commitment to yourself is your power. And that’s what makes you a badass.

Own Your Badassery With Humility

When we channel the qualities of the true badass within us, we awaken our confidence. However, it’s also important to maintain a sense of humility.

As quoted in a Behaving Humanly article, “Cultivating humanity doesn’t mean that you're going to let people walk all over you. Nor does it mean that you can’t be confident and proud of your accomplishments. It means recognizing that as much of a badass as you are, you’re not infallible and not superior to others.”

This is so important to remember, especially as a leader. We are capable of success and being badass, but our awareness is what makes that possible. And our humility is what earns the respect of others.

If you want to learn more about tapping into your inner badass, subscribe to my newsletter on LinkedIn!


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