When I talk with people about transition and making changes in their lives, I can sometimes feel people’s body clench, and they want to suddenly change the subject. Why is taking a risk so darn frightening?
Taking a risk can be anything from changing your job, ending your marriage, retiring, to changing what brand of toothpaste you use. There is inherent risk in all of those decisions. Now I’m not comparing ending a marriage to the kind of toothpaste you use, but see what type of reaction you get when you bring home a different brand of toothpaste.
Making a change in your life is a risk; it’s knowing that what you’re doing could not be the right decision and end in a failure. But what if you don’t take that risk? What if you don’t take that leap of faith that what you’re doing is best for you?
Think back on significant events in your life; there was an imaginary fork in the road, and you went one direction. But what if you had gone the other direction? How different would your life be?
Whether you realized it or not, you choosing the direction you did was a risk. I find that the older we get, the less of a risk taker we become. We have other things to consider when making decisions, such as the person we share our life with, our responsibilities, children, mortgage, etc.
I believe it’s still important to take risks in life. Why? Because you have this one life. This is it folks; there are no do-overs.
What would it feel like to live saying, “I’m going to go after my dream”? I’m going to quit my job, sell my house and belongings, and put everything into what I’ve always wanted to do. There are plenty of people who will say, “Whoa, whoa, wait a minute, what about x, y and z?”
If you are living an unfulfilled life, a life of routine, mediocrity, or no joy, you just exist. Why exist without meaning or fulfillment? Stop looking at other people and comparing your life to theirs. You have your life to live.
I remember in my 20’s I felt I could do anything. Were there times when I questioned myself, or felt scared about a decision? Definitely. Sometimes I wish I could harness the fearlessness I had then and use it now. I’m a work in progress, just like everyone else, and taking risks is also frightening for me.
If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, I encourage you to figure it out, take the risk, ignore the naysayers, and go after it. Risk taking is indeed frightening. But let’s all stop talking about the things we wish we could have done, or envying those who have taken the risks that you wish you would have.
“Fear does not stop death, it stops life.”
Let’s all leave the fear in the rear view mirror, and start taking more risks. You never know how much more fulfilled your life will be unless you take that chance.