If Steady Eddie had a twin sister, that would be me! I am admittedly a creature of habit, most comfortable with my daily routines. But my destiny is not in my comfort zone! When it comes to taking risks, women can be more hesitant to take the leap. We are raised to be nurturing and provide a sense of stability for our families. We were raised to think safe was better. The world is harsh and the thought of putting ourselves out there can be scary. But by taking cover in our comfort zones we miss the opportunity to experience life at it’s fullest. It’s time to push through! We must move past our fears to live our best lives.
When I started this journey, I had no idea where it would take me. One thing I was sure of was, there must be “more”. I am confident that God has a plan and purpose for my life. If we want to see change and advancement in our lives, we can’t play it safe any longer. Years will pass, and women who take calculated risks; although they possess the same skills as those of us still living in the comfort zone, will have accomplished major things. It is because they choose to risk the good to get to the great! Packaging our vulnerability in bubble wrap is a way of protecting ourselves from what we don’t want. Typically, that is rejection and failure.
As a young woman I had a love for roller coasters. Probably because it was one thing that made me feel closer to my father. He loved the thrill of the ride and my mother and brother were afraid to give it a go with him. I was terrified standing waiting in line with him for our one-minute ride on the Corkscrew. As we moved up in the line, my heart would beat faster in anticipation. I focused on what I would do on the ride. Eyes open or eyes closed? Hands in the air or gripping the bar? Either way, I knew I was going to be scared as hell, and, I looked forward to the ride! If we want to live courageously we must change our thoughts on taking risks. I now view my “scary” situations as an opportunity not a risk. I view each new thing with excitement instead of fear. I focus on turning my anxiety to positive anticipation of the future.
Listen, I know it is easier to play it safe and wait for success to come your way, but taking risks is what separates the wishers and dreamers from the doers and achievers. While everyone else is waiting for opportunity to knock on the door, those of us who step out there will be reaping the rewards of getting after our dreams. The women who take risks are more likely to be successful because they are willing to step up when everyone else is hesitant. I had to realize that my best life would not fall into my lap. To get what I really wanted in life I was going to have to pursue it relentlessly.
Unfortunately, I can’t promise that every risk you take will produce the outcome you hope for. In fact, I have experienced setbacks and failures on this journey. I’ve had failed initiatives, ideas that did not pan out, slow progress and lost relationships. But I have started to see victory even in those trying times. In those darkest hours where I questioned everything; my purpose, my path and my will to win; I realized I gained a few things. With every setback I learned valuable lessons. With every mistake, I was sharpening my saw, identifying my inner strengths, and developing a better strategy for future endeavors. Some of my biggest learning moments have occurred as the result of a stumble. As with anything, the more you put yourself out there the easier it gets. Guess what? Taking risks made me better at taking risks! You become smarter and more strategic with the risks you take. You will be stronger and able to roll through setbacks more confidently. Fear no longer prevents you from achieving your dreams.
If you are ready for change but are still hesitant, you can get started slowly. Identify why you are choosing to make a shift. Write it down so you can refer to it when you are feeling overwhelmed by a task. Start with small tasks that get you out of the safe space in your routines. That could mean going to that networking event (even if it is for 15 minutes), taking a class, or even sitting in a new seat in church (you know how we like “our seats”).
When you are ready to go:
Try something new every day. Even if it’s something small. Making shifts in the way we do things brings new perspective. Some experiences won’t be positive, but the delight is in the experiment. You’ll find many things that will propel you forward and provide excitement.
Don’t pressure yourself to make decisions quickly. While we don’t want to be paralyzed in the decision-making process; take a minute to assess the situation or opportunity. Taking risks does mean acting irresponsibly. Our decisions should be strategic and logical.
It is going to take courage and time to change the way you approach risk. I frequently fight the urge to retreat into my comfort zone. Most times my resolve wins but sometimes fear and self-doubt get the best of me. I focus on the journey, taking on one task at a time. We will never know what the results will be but push forward. Expect to achieve your dreams. Expect to live your best life!