How Can I Be Bold Without Being Overbearing?

Near the end of his remarks to his son Shiblon, Alma gave him the following advice:

Use boldness, but not overbearance (Alma 38:12).

To be bold is to be “confident, courageous, and willing to take risks.” To be overbearing is to be “unpleasantly overpowering.” (Oxford English Dictionary)

Boldness is the outcome of an inner battle. You overcome your fears and your feelings of doubt in order to do what needs to be done and say what needs to be said. Overbearance is about your interactions with other people: how your delivery and your approach affects their ability to express themselves and contribute fully.

There are plenty of times when boldness is appropriate. Abinadi spoke boldly to King Noah and his priests (Mosiah 12:19). Alma spoke boldly to the people of Ammonihah (Alma 9:7). Ammon spoke with boldness to King Lamoni (Alma 18:24). Mormon wrote with boldness to Moroni as he corrected a misunderstanding (Moroni 8:16, 21).

Sometimes bold words are exactly what another person needs to inspire them to action. Other times, bold words may overpower a conversation and discourage important contributions from other people. When the angel taught Nephi about the birth of the Savior, he first asked a series of questions. Only after Nephi had grasped the significance of the event and declared his own testimony did the angel add his confirming witness (1 Nephi 11:12-23). Likewise, Ammon waited until King Lamoni was ready to be taught before beginning to speak with boldness (Alma 18:20).

Today, I will strive to be both assertive and collaborative. I will engage fully in the conversations and meetings that I am a part of, caring about the content, being candid about my opinions, and valuing the opinions and perspectives of others. I will listen, encourage, and elicit input from others, and I will share my own insights and convictions with confidence.

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