Do you remember your earliest memories involving risk? The instances in our lives where we can plunge forward into a venture unknown to us, filled with mixed emotions and wonderment if we will fail or succeed? The easiest ones to look at are a child’s development from uttering sounds and converting them into words, or watching a baby move from rolling over to crawling to eventually walking on their own. Our desire to gain independence and mobility, coupled with encouragement and praise, propel humans up the ladder to take a chance on choices so that the next one we make will be easier to gather strength and courage for success.
I think I’ve improved in stepping outside of my comfort zone when it comes to risk over the past 5 to 10 years compared to my earlier years. During my teenage and college years I needed outside confidence from others to ask others out on dates, start new conversations in dorm rooms, even negotiating sales terms when it came to major purchasing decisions for furniture or cars. I convinced myself that no one would like me, I would be rejected and that I wasn’t going to attain the items or status I desired. It was much easier to set myself up with a no than to live within the possibility of a maybe or yes.
All of a sudden when I hit a point in my life (1999) where I radiated joy and comfort with my job and myself as a person, I realized that risk-taking was only about taking a chance on a choice. I went to the car dealership that my father recommended with a salesman he trusted and got a new car with no trouble. I met the woman of my dreams who filled my heart and soul and I couldn’t wait to see or talk to her every moment of every day. I set plans in motion for where I wanted to be in my career and was willing to risk moving on to a completely different career in order to retain better health and less stress not only physically but mentally.
I even made a conscious decision to seek out a bowling coach when others in my local area thought it would be crazy – if you are averaging 220, why would you need a second set of eyes to improve your abilities? My theory behind it- the best only get better through constant, never ending improvement which the Japanese call kaizen. If Tiger Woods has a coach and Michael Jordan had superior coaches through their lives, what’s wrong with me letting an experienced coach watch what I do and see if he or she can give me more tools to maintain a high level of performance?
I’m making commitments to improve in various areas of my life every day. It’s easy to fall into patterns of comfort- but I feel that I only lead one life and I might as well see what I can experience, live, take in, share and learn in the brief time that we have on earth. I have books in my head that I want to pour out and share with the world. I have products I want to develop that will help others solve their problems in my areas of strength- be it bowling, music, reading, writing, adoption and elsewhere. I want to teach and train others to have more self-confidence and make the changes in life that they desire.
Writing this blog has been a worthwhile risk in and of itself. Putting yourself out there for everyone to see all parts of your world can be exciting and scary. My wife inspired me to use my skills to see where this would go- and I’m thrilled with the results to date. The feedback from my friends, family and others has been outstanding. So push yourself to risk in one aspect of your life in the next 30 days. Step away from a comfort zone and learn a new skill, partner up with someone to develop an idea or a product of your own- get the ball rolling in a new direction for personal growth.
I love this Les Brown quote: “If you shoot for the moon and miss, you’ll still be amongst the stars.” Aim high and let us know how you feel in the end.