Helen Keller said that life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing. For your life to have meaning, you must take risks. They allow you to grow and move forward. Life without risk isn’t living at all—it’s just staying in the same place doing the same thing.
I’m no stranger to risk taking. When I was 41, I went back to college to get my degree – I took the risk. I retired early from General Motors – a huge risk for me. And, when I was asked to be the keynote speaker for a conference, I said “Yes”. I said “Yes” before I gave myself the chance to say “No” because I wanted to take the risk.
What are you afraid of? What opportunities have slipped through your fingers because you couldn’t bring yourself to take the risk to get started? There’s something very comforting in the status quo.
We wrap our lives around us like a blanket that is safe and warm. It becomes our cocoon, and it slowly suffocates us! Even the butterfly emerges from its cocoon, unfolds its wings and risks flying. If it doesn’t take the risk, it dies!
often well qualified and some have held successful positions in the past. But they're afraid...afraid
of failing. It's as if their whole body is screaming "What if I can't do this?" Most people don't do
things right the first time. We need to learn to do new things. There's a Japanese proverb that
says "Fall down seven times, get up eight". There is no failure in falling down, only in not getting back up.
Sometimes they're afraid of succeeding. Success might change their lives in ways they couldn't begin to imagine. It's okay to give yourself permission to experiment with life...to stretch beyond your comfort zone into new territory. It's called growth.
Whether the fear is driven by failure or success, they get caught up in the “what if’s” of their
situation. “If” is such a small word, yet we give it so much power over our lives. Remember, the
word “if” is two letters. The “I” stands for Ignorance of what’s possible for us, and the “F”
stands for Fear of taking the risk to try. Instead of asking “What if”, we would be wise to ask
ourselves "Why not?"
Don’t be afraid to take a risk because you think you’re not good enough. Henry Van Dyke said
“Use your talents. The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.”
So be like a bird and soar into new possibilities. Remember, the sky’s the limit.
- Make a list of things that you want to do but are afraid to try.
- Make a list of the excuses you give yourself for not trying.
- Imagine putting all the excuses into the basket of a hot air balloon, untying the ropes grounding the balloon and watching it (and your excuses) rise higher and higher until they're gone from view.
- Now pick one thing from your list and get started. You can do this.