A Bold Life is a Happy Life

“Fortune befriends the bold.” ~Emily Dickinson

Are you living an inspired life? I’m not asking if you hope to, but are you? Do you feel the energy and lust for a life being well lived? Or are you hiding in the shadows of the daily grind, one weary day after never-ending day?

I know someone who can help.

If you’ve been wandering around the internet long, peeking in on personal development blogs, you’ve likely bumped into Tess Marshall of The Bold Life. She’s been making a splash out there that is rippling through peoples’ lives far and wide.

I’m thrilled to have her here today in an interview I conducted with her by email last week. One of the taglines to my blog (there in the upper right-hand corner … see it?) is Grow with Courage. So Tess’s basic philosophy of life is something I resonate with very deeply.

It is with this in mind that I wanted to introduce her, her thoughts on living a bold life, and a new course she’s developed called 30 Days to Bold.

My Interview with the Master of Bold

Me: Thanks for being here, Tess. When we think of a bold life, I suspect many imagine a life filled with bungee chords and rock climbing, snow boarding, exotic travel and walking on hot coals. But we all have different passions, interests and personalities. Some are quite content with a relatively quiet life of contemplation, for instance.

Within the context of those differences, how would you define a bold life?

Tess: A bold life doesn’t depend on interests and personalities. For me a bold life is when a person does what it takes to speak their truth, walk their talk, and use their gifts and talents with joy, passion and meaning.

For example, it’s just as bold for a 10 year old to stand up to a bully as it is for someone to bungee jump for the first time. All acts of courage count and they’re incomparable. What a bold life means to me may look different than what a bold life means to you.

Me: I like that. Sounds like a bold life is when we live undaunted by our fears, to be courageous in the face of fear, to step into the life we most want to live, doing what we most love to do no matter what obstacles and challenges may stand in the way.

I love that concept, Tess. But it can be very difficult for people who fear risking that first step into the murky depths of the unknown.

Have you had times in your own life when obstacles mounted and courage and boldness was needed to step forward? I guess I’m asking if you come from a place of experience.

Tess: I’ve overcome some major hurdles in my life that have given me both courage and wisdom. I grew up with nine siblings and that alone taught me to go after what I wanted or needed! I also married when I was 17 and pregnant and was a mom to four daughters by age 22.

One of my daughters was born without a right hand and played sports in middle school, high school and college. That’s bold! I also got my bachelors degree while raising the girls. Then when they were in high school I got my masters degree in counseling psychology. My first year out of school I worked in inpatient rehab and the second year I went and did counseling in prison. Anyone whose crime was related to drugs and alcohol was required to see me.

After that, I decided to build my own private practice, wrote a book and began speaking professionally. When we moved to Arizona from Michigan five years ago I began to blog and coach others on bold and fear-less living.

I’ve also done a lot of volunteer work. I taught English in Brownsville, Texas, worked with women in prison, deconstructed homes in Mississippi after hurricane Katrina and worked in an orphanage in Guadalajara Mexico. Crazy, fulfilling and bold stuff!

Me: You’ve already lived quite an exceptional life, Tess. I’ve spent some time in orphanages in Taiwan and if Guadalajara’s orphanages are anything like those, they are in dire need of bold people with loads of love to offer. I think such experiences give your words credibility, so thank you so much for sharing that part of your life with us.

Well, you know what my favorite topic is. I think happiness drives us to do most of what we do (some philosophers and psychologists say all things). So this is my next question:

What would you identify as the connection between a bold life and a happy one?

Tess: If you shrink and hold back from who you are, it’s impossible to be happy. Some people live in fear because they believe change involves big leaps. We only need to take penguin steps! Take one small step today and then another and carry on. A journey begins with just one step. This course for me was bold itself. It required me to do so many things I’ve never done before.

I’ve learned so much. If I wouldn’t have moved forward I’d still be wondering if I could do it. Sitting around wondering and wishing and hoping…I’d be miserable. I wouldn’t be contributing or serving others the way I can here. No, we can’t be happy playing it safe.

Me: We’ve talked behind the scenes a little bit about your new course, and I have to say that it is itself a very bold endeavor and trust it will prove very successful–for you and those who sign on.

Can you tell my readers about 30 Days to Bold? What are you providing those who sign up?

Tess: 30 Days to Bold is an interactive, live course that begins on Monday February 18th. It allows us to support and personally get to know each other. We overcome our fears and grow through our courage.

The course is designed to take us beyond excuses, procrastination, worries and doubts…from fear to freedom. They’ll gain the confidence to take bold action.

Every Monday participants will receive a password in their inbox that will give them access to the course material, videos, eBooks and more, along with access to a private Facebook page with myself and other bold people in the 30 Days of Bold community. They will receive a series of personal videos from my awesome and courageous friends who will share their own stories and expertise on how they have overcome fear and how your readers can too. And more.

So what can my readers expect to get out of your course? How will their lives become bolder, better and happier?

Tess: Not only does 30 Days of Bold offer the tools to move beyond fear, it offers a map to self-love, faith in oneself, risk-taking, to positively anticipate our future and achieve a deeper appreciation of life and everything in it. We often look up to brave, bold and successful people. It’s time to become one of them!

If a person commits to and does the work in the course, just imagine these possibilities:

They can get clear and commit to what thy really want for themselves. Make fear work for them instead of against them. Go from imagining the worst to expecting the best. Unearth their innate strength and freedom. Find a sense of safety while living in a world of fear. Step beyond their limitations and experience their true selves. Be confident. Live without apology, explanation or apprehension. Receive encouragement and friendship from a supportive community.

It is life-changing if participants do the exercises, watch the videos, get involved in the community and apply what they learn. Anais Nin said, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Me: Thanks so much for this interview, Tess. You are an example of courage and boldness and I appreciate all you do and wish you the best as you work so tirelessly to help others live more boldly as well.

Disclaimer: While I love Tess and love what she’s doing, I do have to say that I am endorsing her and the idea of boldness more than anything else. I just haven’t personally gotten behind the wheel of 30 Days to Bold to give it a spin around the block a few times for myself yet, so can’t endorse anything specific.

Still, knowing Tess, I believe it will be a wonderfully powerful tool for those stuck in the shadows of their own dreams and need a little extra push getting out of those shadows into the life you were meant to live. It is that confidence in her that inspires my own leap of faith here.

(Disclosure: If you enroll, I do get a small affiliate “thank-you”)


Bold living is living a life of meaning and purpose. It is doing what you love even if you don’t necessarily get paid to do it. It is stepping up and jumping head first into life by living fully in harmony with your core values and fundamental principles of decency, excellence and happiness. It is overcoming obstacles and learning to accept those that can’t be overcome, refusing to allow them to push you into the corner of your own life.

So be bold, step away from cowering fear into motivating courage. And love the life you were meant to live!