Monday, January 5, 2009

Inquiry: Taking Risks

I seldom take risks. I mean, I take them, but only after a great deal of thinking and convincing myself that the world isn't going to fall apart if I go ahead and _____. One of those risks was leaving the safety of my corporate job of nearly 8 years to pursue a dream of writing a book. The thing is, that may have been the last professional risk I've taken. And that was over 2 years ago.

Risk is defined as:
"exposure to the chance of injury or loss; a hazard or dangerous chance: It's not worth the risk."
But life is lived and things accomplished only when taking risks, some might say:
I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.  ~Pablo Picasso
Progress always involves risks.  You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first.  ~Frederick B. Wilcox
You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take.  ~Wayne Gretzky
A ship in harbor is safe - but that is not what ships are for.  ~John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic
Nothing will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must be first overcome.  ~Samuel Johnson, Rasselas, 1759
It's not enough to dream about the things I want to do, I must take action if I want any of those dreams to come true. Last week my life coach challenged me to take one risk. Now I must figure out a risk to take. Do I even have any risks lined up? Is there anything I've been holding off on for the fear of it?

Risk is not about doing things that doesn't make sense. It's not about doing something just because I'm scared. I'm not about to jump out of a plane just yet. To me, risk is doing something that moves me forward when the only thing holding me back is fear. With that in mind, I will...

I started writing about a project I want to work on and the words came out with too much effort. So I stepped away to gain some perspective. By stepped away I mean I sat right here in my chair. And by gain some perspective I mean I journaled for 30 minutes on why I'm feeling so much anxiety in my life right now. 

The money I'd set aside for the past 2 years is gone. I'm concerned about finding a job. I've been looking, but nothing has even remotely sparked my interest. But of course, that's not true. I've had thoughts for the last two years about becoming a life coach. I researched it in November 2006 after leaving my job the month prior. And I let that information sit, unreviewed for the last 25 months. Why?

Because if I enroll in a program to become a Certified Life Coach, then I will have finish that course. And then I'll have to be a Certified Life Coach. I will have to get clients. I will have to coach them. I will have to inspire them. I will have to impart words of wisdom they've never heard before and be the greatest person they ever met. I will have to be the person they owe everything to...but wait...that's just too much pressure. What if I didn't have to be all those things?

What if I just take the course? What if I pass the exams and get a Certificate? What if I end up at a party and someone asks what I do for a living and I tell them I'm a Life Coach? What if that intrigues them and we talk a bit more? What if they ask me to coach them based on that conversation? What if they accomplish some goals as a result of our sessions? What if they refer me to a friend? What if this becomes a pattern and I can make a living out of helping people accomplish their goals? 

With this in mind, I've decided that the best risk I can take to better myself and release the fears in doing so is to make an investment in myself. I've researched certification programs and chosen a program. This morning after my life coach session I enrolled with Coaches Training Institute, and my courses begin on Friday, February 20, 2009. Which means that by this time next year, I will be a Certified Life Coach, as recognized by the International Coach Federation. Good God, I feel liberated!!

I've also been tasked to keep this excitement alive by taking another risk this week. I've confirmed that a small risk is okay, given the huge risk I've just maybe I'll golf at night. Or play a game I've never played or know I'm not good at. Or talk to a neighbor I've never talked to. Whatever the risk, I want to make sure I'm expanding myself in some way that's in alignment not with who I am, but with who I want to be. 

After all, isn't growth the whole point of risk?


And what risk will you take this week?

1 comment:

  1. Today I took a risk of telling my mother how I really feel. She is a yes on prop 8 person and we had a heated debate about it on Thanksgiving. It has been eating me up inside about how she feels, but there is nothing I can do about her thoughts, except to tell her how I feel. The fear in doing this is losing her. I have had too much loss in my life that I fear I will lose my mom after losing my dad and grandparents in the last 10 years. I told her.... we shall see what happens.

    My next risk...being alone for an extended period of time. To sit and be with myself. Not an easy task. It is much easier to escape with (fill in the blank).

    Here's to risking and growing. :)