How taking risks can lead to a more fulfilling life
I’ve recently come back from a holiday in Bali, and I absolutely loved it.
For those that don’t know me, I’m the kind of person that plans everything to the T and I always have a plan B, C and D to back me up in case things go wrong. This holiday has been different though...
For the first time in a long time I decided not to get too involved in the planning and allow someone else to take the reins. It was pretty difficult and anxiety-inducing to say the least. The reason I decided to take a risk and hand the reigns to someone else is linked to a decision I made a couple of years ago – I decided I wanted to have an extraordinary life and to do so, I would need to really dip my toe in the unknown water and take a leap of faith.
However, dipping our toes in the unknown water and taking a leap of faith is not easy. Especially when we grow up being told that we have to get an education, get a good paying job, get married, have children etc. There are certain things that are expected of us and to go against the current means to expose ourselves to a life of ridicule and misery. Or so we think...
So, what made me want to take more risks considering how safety and planning can be so important in our lives?
What’s really important in life?
I asked myself what was really important for me – to live a life that has been pre-designed for me or to have experiences that would shape who I am for years to come? Once I had my answers, I was able to drill down to the two or three answers that definitely rang true and used them to set out a list of objectives I could start working on pretty much immediately. One of the things that came out of the list was that I wanted to become a life coach. Once I had my final list I looked into courses that would provide me with a recognised certificate and would give me the knowledge needed to work as a life coach. After that I enrolled on a course and I ended up finishing my 12-month course in four months. What's important for you? Is it mastering playing the piano, learning how to swim or just finding more time to spend with your family? Whatever it is, find out and take steps now to make it happen.
What do I consider an acceptable risk and what can I do to minimise fall out?
I made a list of what acceptable risks are for me. For example, leaving my job would never be an option when starting a life coaching career. The option was then to ask for flexibility at work (which I was very lucky to get!) and to work part time. What's an acceptable risk for you and who can you ask for help? The point is, you may not always get what you want, but you certainly have the right to ask for what you want.
I can’t do this and other anxiety-inducing thoughts
Yes, the gremlins did come to haunt me once I decided to take a left turn instead of a right turn, and the reality is that this happens all the time. Our brains are wired for safety and if we change something we will be telling our brains that we are (somewhat) in danger, so it’ll try to save us from ourselves. Regardless of what happens, remember that the voices are there to keep you safe, not to stop you from achieving your goals. To calm the voices in your head, find a way to reassure them that you are not going to do something that is so out of character for you as to put you in danger. How would you do this if you were dealing with a friend or family member? Once you have the answer, apply it to yourself. In the end, only you have the potential to be your own best friend.
That’s right. Don’t set a plan in stone. If something doesn’t go your way, check what happened and adjust your course. This means that, sometimes, you will have to give up on an idea you had right from the start, but that may be the beginning of something really great.
Enjoy the ride
It’s true that sometimes life will throw lemons at you, but I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Rather than blame the universe for all the bad, concentrate on the good and use every single lesson to build your success.
What I learned from my holiday is that, sometimes, not getting things my way means giving life a chance to surprise me. Yes, that comes with risks of their own, but by embracing the freedom of taking risks, we end up uncovering the truth about who we really are and what we are able to do.
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