I find Winston Churchill’s quote particularly fitting on this day; a day that I continue to write and wonder what will become of my project.
Have you ever noticed that when you take a risk, the voices in your head start questioning your decision? I’ve been fighting mine lately. “Are you sure about this author thing? You might fall flat on your face! What’s everyone going to think about you then? Maybe you should just stick with what you know.” If I listened to the uncertainty and put my dream on the back burner maybe I wouldn’t be faced with doubt but I would surely experience regret down the road.
My entrepreneurial father inspired me greatly to take risks. He kept a notebook at the kitchen table (a well-used table that he lovingly handcrafted for our delightful family meal times). In it he recorded his many ideas as they entered his brilliant mind. He didn’t act on every one but out of the dozen or so he did, he created some highly successful businesses. He also had a few bombs. But he didn’t worry about the outcomes. Amazingly, he didn’t waste his energy on worry at all. The joy, for him, was in the creation and execution of an idea. He wasn’t money motivated but the money followed.
My mother did the worrying for both of them and even though my sunny outlook is most like my dad’s, I do work to keep the energy flowing in a positive direction. How? I read and listen to inspiring books, podcasts, blogs and quotes and even meditate to keep the destructive chatter away. I’ve learned from watching my father and from my own experience that nothing feels sweeter than a mission accomplished so I ensure that nothing derails me.
At some point you’ll likely encounter someone who seeks to hold you back as you step out of your comfort zone. I call them the “cold water committee”. If you take a risk and start your own business or maybe you pick up a new hobby and everyone thinks you’ve gone mad, you might hear concern from people who love you. (This was my Mom’s role.) Learn to take their caution at face value. Those who care the most about you might unwittingly hold you back to cushion you from a difficult blow. Their protection might be a sign that they don’t want to see you get hurt.
Conversely, there are others who sabotage your dreams simply because they aren’t in your corner. They don’t want to see you succeed so that they can somehow, feel better about themselves. Shame on them! (My dad just laughed at these folks–and then proved them wrong. His humility meant that he regularly laughed at himself also.)
If you aren’t wired like my dad and can’t laugh through it all, here are my two pieces of advice for handling the Negative Nellies:
1. Run from those folks as fast as you can. You don’t need people in your life who choose to hold you back for selfish reasons. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
2. Use the limits they place on you as fuel to launch you farther than they could have imagined. Think how rewarding it will feel when you prove them wrong and succeed anyway. Success is the most exhilarating revenge!
My book is titled Stumble to Rise because stumbling (ie: failing) is a prerequisite to ultimately rising above your challenges. The title takes on an extra meaning for me because I literally stumble and crash to the ground or into a wall on a regular basis. I’ve suffered broken toes, ribs, elbow, ankle, torn meniscus and lots of bruises to prove it… but I keep going. So if you hit a wall or fail miserably, think of me. I’m certainly an expert on this topic.
Accept that you WILL fail when you step out of your comfort zone to tackle something new. That’s the risk of taking a risk. Expect it and learn from it and move on! Failure then becomes your best teacher and friend.
The greater risk is NOT taking a risk at all and instead choosing to play it safe inside your comfort zone your entire life–even when that comfort zone is not so comfortable after all. Wayne Gretzky knew: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Go for it and get the Band-Aids ready!
Stay tuned for my next blog. I’ll be highlighting a goal-setter and fellow MS Warrior who went against the odds to achieve a monumental goal!