Do you hunger for adventure? Are you eager for exploration? Do you want to push boundaries and learn something new? Itching to get outside that comfort zone by undertaking a variety of experiences? Want to spend magical time with other authentic, passionate women, and get away from the daily grind? If you do, you may be a Bold Betty at heart…
Boldness Challenge partnered with Bold Betties, a triad of strong and inspiring leaders who generate a type of energy that fuel the dreams of other women, activate adventure, and encourage the building of new friendships and foundations. Part one of the Bold Betties Story of Bold featured CEO Niki Koubourlis. Today we introduce you to the rest of the leadership team, COO Sommer Rains, and CMO Aresou Zarafshan.
Leanne Tibiatowski (LT) We love having this deeper dive into learning more about the core values of your company. With bold as the center point of your company’s work, tell us, what does that word mean to each of you?
Sommer Rains (SR) Boldness means constantly stretching myself by doing things that are ‘uncomfortable’. It’s ‘not listening’ to the voice in my head that doubts or wants to stagnate.
Arezou Zarafshan (AZ) For me, bold is believing in myself, taking risks and knowing that whatever the outcome might be, I can persevere and will prevail.
(LT) The moments preceding bold breakthroughs can be intense—discomfort, doubt, risk—what inner hurdles did you each encounter before, during, and after your boldest life shifts?
(SR) A LOT of self-doubt! There were voices that constantly listed the reasons I shouldn’t make a change with my marriage. Before, there was a bit of a physical reaction, an upset stomach. Also, before the shift, I believe there was a type of depression; kind of looking at the world through a pessimistic lens and, not only doubting myself, but doubting others around me. During the shift, I found myself just doing what I needed to do to get through each day. Not all of it completely healthy, as some of my actions were selfish. And after? Well, I felt a sense of relief, but also uncertainty at the road ahead. I began to look at the world through a different lens, and noticed that my thoughts and actions were more ‘big picture’ rather than the shortsighted thoughts of the past.
(AZ) Well, the comforts of status quo were big hurdles that were getting in my way. When I lived in Chicago, I worked for a global enterprise, had a big job, big title, big paycheck AND a promotion waiting for me. My fiancé and I lived in a giant house on a private golf course, drove fancy cars, travelled to exotic places. On paper, everything was great. But I was miserable. I couldn’t get excited about any of the things that I had always thought I wanted. I had to go on sleeping pills because, night after night, I would stay awake wondering why I was so unhappy. Finally, my body spoke to me and told me that it had had enough stress! I took some time off from work to re-evaluate my life and my decisions. I realized that I had made all of my career decisions for the wrong reasons. So, I left my position (amidst the biggest economic downturn since the depression), redesigned my career to focus it on marketing and analytics, and my fiancé (now husband) and I moved to Colorado because we loved it. I have never looked back on that decision.
(LT) Was there an inner story that you overcame? For example: a limiting belief or a feeling that was so strong it almost prevented you from taking action?
(SR) When I chose to let go of my marriage, I had to overcome the belief that I couldn’t take care of my son and myself. I was paralyzed by fear that I wouldn’t be able to survive without someone else.
(AZ) Yes. I’d spent 17 years building my career in technology and engineering and, as much as I knew I would enjoy marketing and consumer products, I held myself back because I was afraid of the ‘what ifs? or what mights?’ I cared deeply about the image that I projected, and wanted that image to be flawless… I worried about what others might think if I didn’t achieve success in this new field. I also worried about what might happen if I could no longer make the same amount of money. I worried about letting my family down.
Once my body spoke to me, and forced me to pause and reflect, I realized that none of those seemingly important things truly mattered. I felt like I had misused the gift that had been given to me: Life! There were a few hard months of introspection and self-rediscovery. Ultimately, I realized that I had held myself in a prison and I needed to break away from that to find joy and happiness again.
(LT) How did others respond to your bold action and life-changing decisions?
(SR) Most were supportive and happy that I finally took the leap. They were there for me during the dark times. I had a lot of cheerleaders which I think made a huge impact.
(AZ) I received a tremendous amount of support after I decided to make that hard decision. My family was extremely supportive, as were my friends. I learned that the people who truly care about me, support me no matter what! I didn’t need to worry about letting them down as they wanted me to be happy and alive!
(LT) What blessings have you received in life based on your choice to live boldly?
(SR) I grew and found out who I really am. I have way more self-confidence and a lot less self-doubt. I go after what I want and I don’t let fear drive my decisions. I feel like the whole world has opened up to me. Because of this, I have found my dream job and am doing what I’m meant to be doing, which is hugely empowering.
(AZ) Many! I’ve learned to believe in myself and know that I will be able to persevere no matter how difficult the situation might be. I’ve developed a strong sense of optimism; a total belief in kindness in people and in life in general. I’ve learned to enjoy the little moments in life… I take time with my family every night to review the day’s highlights. We take joy in simple things; hearing my son’s belly laugh, enjoying the beauty of sunrise from our deck…. These things are free, but they are invaluable and true blessings.
(LT) Your team holds community as a center point for your work, this is 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?
(SR) Community is so important! If we try to operate in a vacuum, our lives will be completely meaningless. Having the support and feedback from a community helps keep us honest, it also helps us stretch ourselves toward greatness. It’s much easier to let go of ideas, preconceived notions, and fear, when there’s support from a community. In times of doubt, those who surround us can be the voice of reason.
(AZ) Community is everything. Having gone through a number of major transitions, I can say, with confidence, that community is what provides strength, supports beliefs, and provides the platform to help others get through challenges, and come out stronger on the other side.
(LT) What words of advice do you have to someone reading this article who sit on the precipice, tipping back and forth between fear and action?
(SR) Reach out to friends and family who are supportive. Ask them to tell you the things they admire about you. Write those things down and put them up where you can see them regularly… Also, write down what you admire about yourself, and repeat those things as a regular mantra. I’ve also found that reading inspirational books helps me to get out of a rut.
(AZ) Believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, don’t expect others to believe in you. And… if not now, then when?
(LT) What is an example of bold action in your life?
(SR) I’d say running a startup is pretty bold.
(AZ) Agreed, Bold Betties is enough of a “Boldness Challenge” for me. Becoming an entrepreneur—joining Bold Betties after having worked for Corporate America in executive roles for over 20 years! It is crazy, scary, out of control and absolutely wonderful all at once. Loving every moment of it!
We are honored to have partnered with Bold Betties during the Boldness Challenge.
It’s not too late to join us!
Let’s ring in the new year together… bold, brave, and badass!
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