“Bold is being exposed, being vulnerable, being emotional—essentially, bold is being authentically me. Sometimes, being bold requires choosing the path less travelled.”
These are the words of Niki Koubourlis, CEO and founder of Bold Betties. She wisely continues…
“Bold is not letting fear have a say in my decision-making. It’s actively going after the things I want in life…
It’s leaving a little grain of boldness in everything I do… making the choice frequently and actively, to go outside my comfort zone and try new things…”
Niki’s all-women company is doing all of that and more as they help others defy their perceived limits by lifting them from bored and elevating them to ‘bold’ through the company’s tribe of Betties. Her unique company provides a vital sense of community, and delivers the type of support that gets women active outdoors through adventure, fun, and friendship.
Bold Betties are taking on the world one outdoor adventure at a time…
Boldness Challenge loves Niki’s story, and are thrilled to share it. We’ve learned that the more we discuss bold living, and how it feels, the easier it is to go big with our bolds. Through storytelling we get to learn that we’re not alone. We also increase our familiarity with the inner cues that alert us when we’re onto something great, helping us bypass fear so we can step into action.
Bold Betties came to be through one woman’s evolving relationship with life, it’s a powerful story of achieving personal awareness, followed by taking courageous action…
Leanne Tibiatowski (LT) Niki, you’ve taken leaps of faith that have transformed your life. The moments preceding breakthroughs can be intense. What inner hurdles did you encounter just before your major life shifts?
Niki Koubourlis (NK) I have had many big life shifts, but there are two in particular that stand out.
The first was when I decided to get a divorce. I married my college boyfriend at 27, by our 1st wedding anniversary I knew I wanted a divorce, it was five years later when I took action.
I was incredibly unhappy in that relationship. BUT, I was too afraid to do anything about it.
I was afraid of hurting my ex., afraid of admitting I failed at my marriage, afraid of the uncertainty and of being alone. I was afraid I might find that the grass wasn’t greener…
I remember driving to work one day thinking that if I got divorced, I wouldn’t have anyone to travel with, to go to concerts with, to go to dinner with; a whole list of activities that I saw as ‘partner-centered’. And then I had the most empowering thought: I realized that if I really wanted to do those things, being alone was not going to stop me—I could do those things BY MYSELF. And that was so freaking empowering. At that moment I called myself on my own bullshit and abandoned the excuses I was using to keep myself in my comfort zone.
The next such experience came when I decided I wanted to get my health under control.
For years, my career was my focus and I neglected my health. It took a toll and I found myself clinically obese at the age of 32.
I signed up for a weight loss program so rigorous that I wasn’t sure I could do it. Most of the people in my life were telling me I wouldn’t be able to stick with it, particularly since alcohol was NOT on the diet. Right before the program started, I was a basket case totally freaking out about the meal planning and the bikini photo shoot I would have to do at the end of the 90 days…
Once again, I was afraid. Afraid of the uncertainty ahead, afraid of the changes I would have to make, afraid of the commitment I would have to make, and doubtful of my ability to succeed.
I kept telling myself how hard it was, as if I was subconsciously working to give myself an out.
But then I thought about all the other hard things I have done in my life. And I thought about all the people I know of who have succeeded in losing weight. Instead of focusing on the end of the 90 days and getting overwhelmed with how far I had to go, I said to myself: “Ok, losing weight IS hard. If it weren’t hard, everyone would do it…
But, whether it’s easy or hard, the things I need to do to succeed are the same. So what specifically do I need to do?”
I listed the action items, and I stopped thinking about how hard those things were and just started doing them, as though they were any other task on my to do list, like grocery shopping, or a project at work.
It took getting out of my head and taking action to succeed. And that has been true many times subsequently in my life.
In 90 days, I lost 11% body fat, nearly 30 pounds, and I rocked that bikini photo shoot!
(LT) Has there been an inner-story or limiting belief that you became aware of and overcame?
(NK) I’ve constantly wrestled with self-doubt selling myself short and minimizing my talent. Honestly, I still deal with self-doubt. I think it’s something we as women deal with a lot. It’s one of the reasons I believe genuine and supportive female friendships are so important.
(LT) Your team has placed community as the center point for your work; very much in alignment with the Boldness Challenge. What are your thoughts on community and how it works in relation to making breakthrough choices in life?
(NK) Women thrive in community. You can see examples of this throughout history. The people you surround yourself with can either lift you up or tear you down. When we’re going through difficult times, the people in our lives become even more important. We need the support to get through the struggle, we need the inspiration to even go for it at all, we need people who have gone through it before that can encourage us and show us we will be ok on the other side, and…
We need people who will not try to keep us still because they are afraid of our change.
(LT) What words of advice do you have to those sitting on the precipice, tipping back and forth between fear and action?
(NK) Get out of your head and start taking action…
Whatever it is you want, but are afraid to go after, break it down into tiny little steps so it’s not so scary and overwhelming, then just start doing the damn steps.
Don’t allow yourself to question, and if you feel the fear coming on, stand up as straight as you can and walk right towards that fear. Do not let it stop you.
If you aren’t quite there yet, but would still like to experiment with living boldly, then I say to start incorporating boldness into your life everyday in small ways. Take a new route home from work, try a new restaurant or go to a movie alone, get a new hairstyle. By gradually incorporating boldness into your life, you will work towards the bigger and scarier things in order to build the courage to tackle those as well.
(LT) What is the boldest action you have taken in your life?
(NK) I’d say leaving behind my lucrative corporate career to become a startup founder was the boldest action I’ve taken. In my last job I made $500k each year. In this venture, we still aren’t paying ourselves a regular salary, so that was a massive leap for me.
(LT) What blessings have you received in life due to your choice to live boldly?
(NK) I discovered that living boldly is habit forming, once I started it became addictive. I became bolder and things that were once off limits were attainable.
The bold mindset opened my world and I wouldn’t be where I currently am without it.
Now, having left my corporate life behind, I get to wake up every day to work with my incredible co-founders on Bold Betties.
Had I not decided to live Boldly, I never would have left the comfort zone… nor would I have even stumbled upon the idea for Bold Betties.
(LT) Starting your own business was a bold exciting leap, what’s it like?
Every day our work at Bold Betties forces us to be bold. We’re constantly doing things we haven’t done before and we’re LIVING well outside our comfort zones in many ways. Every day is different. It’s like living inside a tornado, having all sorts of things flying at you, then figuring out how to navigate through the tornado safely, or sometimes, just finding a way to make it through the night to be able to try again tomorrow.
Niki’s story proves the power of bold. You CAN live the life your desire… instead of just dreaming about it.
Will you live bold today? Seize the moment, step into action… we’re cheering you on!