I talk with people a lot about taking risks. Personally I think taking risks is the most fulfilling way to live. When life gets predictable and too comfortable people have a tendency to get stuck and stop growing.
I am someone who considers herself experienced in this area and therefore feel like a good guide for most. I have done what some only dream of, and some claim “could never do!” A few years ago I quit my 3 jobs, sold my house, sent my daughter on her freshman year of college and took my son and dog to an island in Central America to live for a year. Recently, I left a 5 year career in my home state where I was fully established to take a chance on a job in a state I had been to once (for my interview) across the country where I know no one, for an opportunity with an amazing company who had let the previous employee go after a very short period.
I do however, consider myself a calculated risk taker and I believe this has served me very well. I carefully think through a situation and review any consequences I can see. Once assessed, action follows. Before I moved out of the country I set criteria I couldn’t live without – there was no specific number, these were just the elements that absolutely had to be present in the new location. Luckily I do not have tremendous needs, so the number was fairly small. Once I found the location that fit my criteria, I decided that was where I would relocate and went to visit for a weekend mostly to give my father some peace! I had already decided it was perfect.
A little research before any big change, and even some of the small ones, is definitely necessary but then take action! To every West, there is an East if you take the wrong exit off the highway, find the onramp and try again! Leap, a net will appear although, most times you’ll find, one isn’t required, or that it’s a simple as taking the next exit.
Risk taking is not without its concerns and stresses. Before most of my biggest risks I get butterflies and fears about making a bad decision, but I move forward in spite of the fear and feelings. I have done this enough times to understand the difference between an experience being different and unknown to it being dangerous. I suggest you practice with the little things and learn to decipher the differences in your own experiences and gradually move to bigger things.
There are little things I encounter each week that I may hesitate to do for fear of failure or how the action might be perceived by others. No one wants to be rejected or look badly to others, but for me, the opportunity that I might regret not having tried or been true to myself is worse. I often think of the worst case scenario – if I do something that is not received the way I hoped, at least I know and won’t waste any further energy on it. Win, win!! If I do it and it is received how, or better than how I hoped – then I win again!
I save a lot of energy and time by making a decision and leaping and not worrying about the net, I know if I miss my mark, something will be there to catch me, or I may land somewhere better altogether. This is certainly a muscle I suggest everyone exercise.
What risks are you not taking because of fear? Break it down, calculate and then take action! You will likely find a great freedom to facing the unknown and from there you are limitless!!