Exhibiting Our Boldest Selves in our Writing

colored boldest pencils

By: Paige Zimmer, Student in the School of Applied Leadership’s Doctoral Program in Leadership

Amy Cuddy in her book Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges made a name for herself discussing how to be our boldest selves in the most stressful of situations.  Her book inspired me to consider the question; how can we exhibit our boldest selves in our writing?

In Writing, You’re in Control

In a conversation, you have limited time for gathering your thoughts and choosing the perfect words. We live in an impatient and extroverted world and before you can count to three, someone else is already talking and taking the conversation in another direction. In writing, you’re in control. It’s the perfect occasion to be your boldest self and I say don’t waste the opportunity.

Writing with Passion

Begin with your passion. What do you feel strongly about? Give yourself permission to be vulnerable so you can share our truest and deepest thoughts. Give your writing substance so you can truly be your boldest.  That means making yourself heard by backing up your stance: Who else agrees with you? Who has done the work you’re talking about? Who are you saying got it wrong? Get those people on your team by including them as references. Cite them and build your case. There’s safety in numbers.

Be Uniquely You

Next, be uniquely you. Just as we each decorate our homes to fit ourselves, your writing style belongs to you. Paint the picture of what you’re trying to say. Create visual images and demand that the person reading see you through your writing, maybe even with your hands flailing. This is done by using specific word choice and figurative language. However, be careful about using unnecessary words and rambling. Instead, be concise and say exactly what you mean.  It is through precision that you can be your boldest as a writer.  The most powerful messages can come in the shortest of sentences.

Don’t Forget Grammar

Use good grammar.  Don’t see grammar as a set of rules, but rather as a set of tools.  Some of the greatest speakers use effective delivery to reel us in: they pause at the exact right moment, they use punctuation to drive home their point, and they use sentence fluency to their advantage.   Allow periods, commas, and colons do the work in helping you execute a bold delivery.  Use paragraph separation to keep like ideas together to drive your point home. Finally, create headings that aid you in telling your story by keeping your reader focused.

Create a Conversation

And finally, encourage people to respond to you. Invite disagreements even. If you’ve gotten someone to disagree, you’ve connected with them. You’ve created a dialogue and dialogue is what helps us synthesize and make meaning of the written word. Your goal is to leave the reader with more than what was found on the page (Laminack & Wadsworth, 2015, p. 78).


Cuddy, A. (2015). Presence: Bringing your boldest self into your biggest challenges. New York: Little Brown and Company.

Laminack, L., & Wadsworth, R. (2015). Writers are readers: Flipping reading instruction into writing opportunities. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

To learn more about City University of Seattle and the School of Applied Leadership, go to the following link: https://www.cityu.edu/schools-overview/school-of-applied-leadership/

Published April 28, 2016



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