I was sitting in my four-year-old’s room finishing up the square knot on his muslin-blanket-turned-superhero-cape. He looked at me with a twinkle and said, “Let’s play the jumping game!”
I put my hands on the ground palms down and assumed the posture of a silverback gorilla. Jack climbed onto my back, perched on my shoulders, and started counting.
“One. Two. Three. GO!!!” He launched himself as far as his little legs will push him and landed with a rolling crash, cape fluttering behind him. As only a small child can after such a collision, Jack popped up. His grin was extraordinary. He ran back to me and said, “I was brave about that. Let’s do it again!”
Whenever Jack does something new, whether it’s something adventuresome or just new and scary, he always comes back to me and says, “I was brave about that.”
What do you need to be brave about?
If there were a sliding scale with risk aversion at one end and risk taking on the other, I wouldn’t be the person hugging the sign that said “Risk Averse,” but I would be standing right beside that person. I have a low risk tolerance, and it has served me well. But I also see that it can sometimes hinder progress and development. So I purposefully push myself toward risks, or I align myself with people who are less inhibited than I am so that I will be pressured into taking risks I would otherwise “nope” out of.
There is great value in taking measured and considered risks. Even when I fail after taking a risk, the fallout isn’t usually as bad as I had anticipated. Scared about reaching out to that potential client? My imagined worst case scenario – they laugh in my face and tell me to get out. The realistic worst case scenario – they ignore my correspondence or tell me, “No, thanks.” And really, that’s not such a bad worst case; you will have lost nothing.
Thinking about doing a Facebook Live event to answer questions within your niche? Your imagined fears – you make a total fool of yourself and don’t know what you’re talking about. Likely worst outcome – only a few people show up, you have some technical difficulties at the beginning, then answer their questions. That’s not so bad; you’ve got some experience under your belt and are better situated for the next go-round.
Whatever it is you’re facing with some trepidation as we kick off the new year, don’t hold yourself back. Remember the words of my 4-year-old, and be brave about that.
Photo by USFWS Midwest Region.