Posts tagged ‘risk’

January 1, 2017

Leap into 2017

Happy New Year everyone!

I offer the following quote in honour of my brother, who is making a major career change in 2017. Thirty-something and newly married, my bro is leaving the world salaried work to strike out on his own. It’s a path that he’s been talking about for years, and in 2017 he’s finally going for it — obstacles and unknowns be damned. My brother says that the following words from American naturalist John Burroughs helped ease his anxieties as he made his decision:

Leap, and the net will appear.

That is: Only when you take that first step off solid ground and launch yourself in the direction of your dreams will the ideas, solutions and options that you need — but could never see from the comfort and safety of your old position — reveal themselves. Plan you leap as much as you can, then go for it. The answers will appear over the course of your journey.

This year, I encourage you to take some leaps of your own. Do something that scares you but has been calling to you for a long time. Listen to your heart and act on it, even if you don’t know what the end result will be. Trust — trust yourself and your abilities enough to simply go for it.

Your net is out there, but it can’t catch you unless you leap.

Happy 2017!

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July 4, 2016

Be a frequent cliff jumper

Thought of the moment, courtesy of science-fiction author Ray Bradbury:

If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair, we’d never have a friendship . . . . You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.

 

October 25, 2015

Sometimes you just gotta go through it

Are you facing a fear or uncertainty that’s stalled your progress in a particular direction? Remember this verse from an old children’s song:

Can’t go over it. Can’t go under it. Can’t go around it. Have to go through it!

Whether you’re encountering long grass and oozy mud on a make-believe “bear hunt,” or confronting obstacles (real or perceived) in day-to-day life, sometimes the only way forward is through!

October 21, 2015

Today is the right moment

Are you waiting until “the right moment” to do something big? Maybe putting something aside until you feel “ready”? Consider these words from actor and author Hugh Laurie, and you might decide that the right moment is today:

It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.

You’re as ready now as you’ll ever be. Suck up some courage and act … reach out … open your heart … live. ❤

January 13, 2015

Adversity is an ally that helps you grow

I just finished reading Robyn Davidson’s excellent book Tracks, a bitingly candid account of Davidson’s mostly solo camel trek across 1,700 miles of Australian desert.

Davidson’s inner landscape understandably shifts considerably during her arduous journey. At one point, she falls into a deep depression and arrives at an observation that I think holds value for how we handle moments of despondency in our own lives:

In the past, my bouts of gloom and despair had led, like widdershins [water-worn gulleys] to the same place. And it seemed that at that place was a signpost saying, “Here it is,” here is the thing you must push through, leap free of, before you can learn any more. It was as if the self brought me constantly to this place — took every opportunity to show it to me. It was as if there was a button there which I could push if I only had the courage. If I could only just remember. Ah, but we always forget. Or are too lazy. Or too frightened. Or too certain we have all the time in the world. And so back up the ravines to the comfortable places . . . where we don’t have to think too much. Where life is, after all, just “getting by” and where we survive, half asleep.

What I take from Davidson’s words is this: life’s low moments often point us directly to the issues, challenges or shifts that really matter — the ones that we must, at some point, overcome or address in order to grow as people. To ignore these “signposts” and hightail it back behind the safety barriers does us no good in the long run. We grow through discomfort, not ease, and we must tackle discomfort head on in order to realize our full potential as human beings.

In this way, adversity becomes our ally — a partner and collaborator in the exercise of stretching our lives and our selves to new heights. We’d never get to the point of having to choose “leap or retreat” (“grow or stagnate”) if not for adversity constantly forcing us down the road upon which that choice lies.

The next time you are confronted with a “signpost” in your life, what will you do? Will you muster the courage to stride past it into the unknown, knowing that the true value of your life ultimately lies in this direction? Or will you quail, turn tail and scramble back to safety, mumbling excuses all the way? The direction is clear, but the choice is yours to make.

February 10, 2014

Don’t be afraid to be a little messy

Quote for the week, courtesy of Eleanor Roosevelt:

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.

I did something like this the other day. I stopped, turned the car around, and went back to do a thing that made me feel exposed and vulnerable — a thing that scared me but was also the very thing I most wanted to do in that moment. The result? A little awkwardness, a little uncertainly, and a positive outcome.

This experience made me realize that life’s events don’t always have to unfold gracefully or fluently or in any sort of well-ordered, elegant fashion. They just have to unfold, period. The how of it doesn’t really matter in the long run.

Fear tends to stop us from creating space for our lives to unfold in the first place. That’s a sad state of affairs, when you think about it.

So this week, do a thing which you think you cannot do. Do it messily; do it clumsily; do it red-faced and stuttering — but do it anyway. At the end of the day, you’ll find that the rewards far outweigh the risks.

February 1, 2014

February challenge: Do something unexpected

This month, put your personal boundaries to the test: do something completely unanticipated, something totally out of the ordinary — out of your ordinary. Do something that surprises others, something that surprises yourself. Go out on a whole new limb; test the air out there and see where it takes you. Be astonishing!

Whatever out-of-the-blue thing you do, make sure it’s something that lifts your heart and fills you (or someone else) with joy.

Have fun!

December 19, 2013

Get on that train (before it leaves for good)

Life offers countless opportunities for each of us to grab on to new adventures and experiences and see where they lead. Often, as we head out in some new direction, we do so blindly, with no idea of where we’ll actually end up. All we can do is decide to board that new train (unfamiliar as it is) and place our faith in the journey ahead.

Yet many people shy away from new adventures, activities and relationships out of a fear of the “unknown entities” that might lurk along the way. Without having proof that these entities actually exist, people worry that these phantoms will somehow overpower them, or derail the journey altogether. But each of us is stronger (and braver) than we think. And each of us is clever, resourceful and capable enough to overcome any obstacles that might loom ahead.

The real crux of the situation is this: when an opportunity comes your way and you let it pass, it may never come your way again. Never. Would your life be fuller, richer — more magical — if you summoned the courage to embrace more of these proffered adventures and experiences before they slip away forever?

To quote the train conductor from the 2004 movie The Polar Express (in which children must choose whether or not to board a magical train that will transport them to the North Pole):

The thing about trains is, it doesn’t matter where they’re going. What matters is deciding to get on.

The next time an enticing opportunity comes your way, decide to get on. Ride the magic, and believe in your own ability to see the journey through.

October 25, 2013

Into the great wide open (of your future!)

Have you ever made a decision about what to do or how to act based on what happened during a similar instance in your past? If you got hurt years ago, do you now avoid similar situations for fear of getting hurt again? If you failed (or succeeded) once, do you expect the same results the next time you try? Or do you simply stop trying, because doing so seems easier (and safer) than taking a risk and putting yourself out there?

We’ve all entertained these kinds of thoughts. But guess what? They’re not helping us.

The past is the past, and history rarely repeats itself. If you got hurt once, that’s fine. But you are a strong, capable person, and you don’t follow any patterns. With new acquaintances, the passing of time and your own personal growth factored in, it’s unlikely that you’ll experience the same result twice.

As for fear of failure, hardly anyone succeeds at anything the first time they try. The successful person is the one who tries anyway, again and again — and willingly makes mistakes — because what they’re doing is something they love, and they want to learn, or grow, or laugh, or challenge themselves in some way.

It’s time to rid yourself of the belief that your past defines your future. Your old experiences may have shaped the person you are today, but they have absolutely no bearing on where you go from here — unless you like the idea of moving through life wearing blinders that rob you of all the wonderful experiences and opportunities waiting for you in your peripheral vision.

In the end, nothing defines your future better than you do. Toss aside those old limiting perspectives — those blinders — and watch your path open up before you.

In the words of late author and motivational speaker Keith D. Harrell:

What has happened is not nearly as important as what can happen. Look to the possibilities of your future for direction, forsaking the burdensome limitations of your past.

Your future really is wide open. All that remains is for you to see that.  ♥

July 14, 2013

In every crisis lies an opportunity

An encouraging quote from Canadian journalist Jan Wong:

In Chinese, the word for crisis is wei ji, composed of the character wei, which means danger, and ji, which means opportunity.

Danger and opportunity: joined hand-in-hand, one beside the other, in every crisis you face.

The next time you find yourself in a tough spot, remember that the potential for growth lies somewhere within the mess before you. Big or small, the opening is there. Look for it. Then grasp it tight and follow it home.