(And why it’s the only skill YOU need to live a worthwhile life).
What risk have you always wanted to take?
Write a book? Move to another country? Go to college? Change careers? Completely start over in your 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s … etc.?
OK, got that risk in your mind — the one you’ve mulled over, dreamed over, but never took the plunge on?
Over the years, you’ve probably told yourself all of the “valid” reasons why you simply can’t take that risk.
Too expensive. Too dangerous. Too scary. Too worried about what people will think (this one’s a biggie!).
Those things all come with the territory when you’re making a decision that (feels) like a 180 degrees from everything else in your life.
But here’s the secret:
You need to take that risk. ASAP. Post haste.
Because every moment you don’t take that risk, it’s eating away at your ability to love fully, live joyously, and truly feel that you’re living a spectacular life.
You’re letting your fear win.
And fear is a brutal asshole.
But what about the risk?
About that …
“I am more scared of staying the same than of something changing.” I said that in a podcast interview in early 2017, but I wasn’t born feeling that way.
I was the quiet blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl that read book during recess. The only thing that got more usage than the bicycle I rode to school was my library card.
I was quiet + I liked it that way.
But then my parent’s got divorced as I started middle school.
Early teen hormones + parent’s divorce = emotional hell.
With my dad gone (but still living in the same town, thankfully) and my mom working full-time, I had to navigate the social maze of middle school by myself. So I joined the basketball team.
I was OK. I played for 1 season.
Then I joined the track + field team. I was pretty fast + even got a ribbon in my first competition, but I still only played for 1 season.
Then I joined the volleyball team, which my dad also signed up to coach. Other than the pain of my swollen forearms, I loved it. I became the libero — the one player who is 100% defensive + keeps the ball “alive.”
Then my mom got a new job. We were leaving my small hometown in Indiana + heading for Cleveland. The rest of my childhood was a series of changing schools, sports, friends … you name it.
Once I graduated from high school + became an adult, the changes didn’t stop. In the 14 years since I graduated from high school, I’ve been a bit busy: modeling + acting for a decade; data entry specialist for major healthcare companies; professional non-fiction writer for a decade with 2 books published; certified Yoga Teacher; staff member for Yoga Journal + Men’s Fitness magazines; and most recently a Virtual Assistant + Online Business Manager for some of the most successful online entrepreneurs.
That list doesn’t include all the locations I’ve lived in during that time: San Francisco, San Diego, Connecticut, Brooklyn … etc. (P.S. I’m now moving to Austin, Texas)
Making you dizzy?
You’re telling me — I lived it!
But I could have settled down right out of high school, working for a healthcare company full-time with a nearly-6-figures salary … so why didn’t it?
I think Dan Erickson can explain it best, “I don’t fear failure. I fear succeeding at something that doesn’t matter.”
Right now, that big risk you want to take is forcing you to spend your time on things that don’t matter.
You gotta pay the bills. You gotta pay off your debts.
You can be a responsible adult that is also ridiculously happy + openly takes risks.
You sure you’re ready? OK … I trust you … here it is.
Do it. Take that risk.
There’s a reason that you’ve always wanted to do that specific thing AND that the desire to do that thing has never gone away.
That’s your thing.
Doing that thing is going to help your grow + change in ways that you can’t predict right now. That’s not important. Taking the risk is. Proving to yourself that you can take the risk is vital.
In his groundbreaking book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell said, “Decisions made very quickly can be every bit as good as decisions made cautiously and deliberately.”
Whether you’ve mulled it over for 10 years or the idea popped into your mind last month, now’s the time.
The only thing we truly learn from is action. Information is fantastic, but it won’t become wisdom it we don’t use it, if we don’t take action with that information in toe.
You saw the list. I’ve taken some massive risks since high school. Some of them were total failures financially, but I don’t regret a single one. Because each risk lead to another risk where I learned something new, which lead to another risk where I learned something new, which lead to a new opportunity I never would have had if I hadn’t taken that first risk 3, 5, 7, 13 years before.
I’ve been an entrepreneur for 13+ years. I have 4 failed businesses under my belt and one very successful one (with another one in the works). What’s next? I’m going back to college.
For a Bachelor degree in Japanese Language + Culture.
A degree that hasn’t absolutely nothing to do with my current businesses.
I want to start another business as a translator + move to Japan for awhile.
That’s my new risk.
It’s going to cost me time, money, effort — you name it — but it will be worth it.
Because if I don’t take the risk, I’ll always wonder why. I’ll drown under a sea of what-ifs.
I’d probably have less debts to pay back if I could just settle down with a “normal” job.
But the debt of my dying spirit is far more expensive than my credit card bill or student loans.
I can always make more money. I can always take on another client or start another business or get a salaried job. But there’s one thing I can’t do.
I can’t go back and take those risks I wanted to take but was too damn afraid to take. There’s at least 15 of them I can think of right now.
I was small. I was weak. I was afraid. I let my depression + anxiety get the best of me.
Maybe that is where you are too. And if you are, I want to give you a big strong hug + a warm cup of tea right now.
Your risk is calling for you.
It begs to be heard. It’s begging to help you become a better version of yourself than you can imagine right now.
The only way you’ll be able to die happy is to take that risk. You might fail, but I guarantee you’ll learn something valuable, and that will lead you to another risk worth taking.
Get good — get GREAT at taking risks. It’s the only skill you need.
Ready to take that risk?
Declare it in the comments below. Let me know what risk you’re ready to take — your boldness will help inspire others to do the same.
A little more risk in your life will bring exponentially more fulfillment.
A life well lived is a life of risk + curiosity.
Risk forward + stay curious, my friend. 🙂
Originally published at medium.com