Michelle Redfern is a bit of a word nerd. She gets word of the day pop-ups every morning from dictionary.com, loves crosswords, scrabble & loves to write.
She says as a kid, she loved thumbing through the big red Oxford Dictionary that her parents had, to learn new words and their meaning. She was a regular at the library and even more regularly called a bookworm. Suffice to say she loves language and words.
So, when she was judging the finals for the Telstra Business Women's Awards recently, Redfern was thrilled when one of the fabulous finalists used the word “audacious” when I interviewed her. I jumped on it. She told us that she uses audacity as a word to help her be focussed, courageous and always be moving herself, her business and her cause forward. It defined her approach to life and leadership.
THE DEFINITION OF AUDACIOUS ACCORDING TO DICTIONARY.COM
- extremely bold or daring; recklessly brave; fearless: an audacious explorer.
- extremely original; without restriction to prior ideas; highly inventive: an audacious vision of the city’s bright future.
- recklessly bold in defiance of convention, propriety, law, or the like; insolent; brazen.
- lively; unrestrained; uninhibited: an audacious interpretation of her role.
WHICH VERSION OF AUDACIOUS ARE YOU?
Which version do you identify most with? I like No.3 as it uses words like defiance and insolence. It reminds me of the quote “Well behaved women rarely make history” which I use regularly as my Facebook cover picture. Let’s face it, without audacious acts by defiant and insolent women, we wouldn’t have the vote, we would still be expected to stop work when we got married and have children, we wouldn’t have equal pay …oh wait! See, still lots of room for audacious acts!
REDFERN'S FAVOURITE ACT OF AUDACITY
My favourite act of audacity, insolence and impudence is by Julia Gillard. No, not when she took the bold move to topple a sitting Prime Minister. But when she took the misogynists to task on what became the world stage. Her audacious act to stand up at Parliament question time and call out revolting behaviour by powerful and influential men inspired me then and continues to inspire me today. Her legendary speech brought about a change in the meaning of the word ‘misogyny’ in the dictionary. The term used to mean a general ‘hatred towards women’ but is now ‘Dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women‘.
"I decided the week of that Telstra interview, that I would undertake one audacious act every day. You know, those acts, actions or thoughts that you secretly harbour but consciously think, oh I couldn’t or shouldn’t do that. Here’s some of what I did..."
- Called upon a Federal politician to get her involved in a new venture. (it worked)
- Asked a high-profile woman of substance to support me in a cause that is important. (it worked)
- Pushed back hard on a matter of injustice and inequity. (it’s a work in progress!)
- Asked to be included in an initiative that means a lot to me. (it’s a work in progress)
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN HER RESULT WAVERED?
"Each time I wavered in my resolve, I called upon that word audacity and the audacious women who have gone before me. I also took some of my own advice, after all, what’s the worst thing that can happen? Not bad for someone who teaches women (& some men) to be bold, courageous. Just goes to show that we are always learning and have the ability to be inspired, to be a bigger bolder version of ourselves each day. So, I’m going to thank that woman when I see her and tell her that her audacity inspired me to make some big, courageous, bold moves that will help me reach more women, reach more organisations and help create a gender equal world."
WHAT AUDACIOUS ACT WILL YOU UNDERTAKE THIS WEEK?
Here’s some reading about audacious women that might inspire you...