The Greatest Risk is No Risk At All

Risks: to take or not to take, isn’t that the usual question?  But just as I stated in my last blog, life is dynamic and whether you take the risk or not, life as you know it will change. As someone who looks at life through a positive, glass-is-full and overflow isn’t a problem perspective, risks generally appear to offer a welcoming outcome.

Yet, I too have struggled with the potential side impacts of my choices. In other words, how will what I am about to do, or say, or ignore affect others? Often times it is the impact on others that has prevented me from taking risks that ultimately would benefit me in the future.

I am not speaking of the wild ‘n crazy risks of adolescence when we are certain we are smart enough to get ourselves out of a bad situation if we were to get caught (ah yes, that lingered somewhere in the back of the brain). No, I’m talking about the choices that appear as risks when it involves making a change to our life that seems out of the norm.

How many of us have angst over leaving a job because of the projected fear of how our colleagues or even the company  will manage without us.  And, if they do, well, what does that say about our value to the company?  So many times in speaking with my clients, I’ve heard them bemoan the horrible risks of changing jobs in terms of leaving their friends. I tell them that if they are truly friends, and not colleagues, they too will want the relationship to continue after you leave the job. For if the new job opportunity presents options for growth and satisfaction in your life, wouldn’t a true friend want you to succeed?

So what is the real risk here? I believe the risk is allowing that gerbil in our head, or ache in our heart, or tightness in our gut, to tell us we shouldn’t risk success beyond the known comfort of our friends/family. If that job/relationship/location/income is good enough for them, who are we to think we need/deserve/want more?  After all, they are happy in that place. What does it say about us that we would leave them for another place and other people?  Are we that callous and selfish?

My long and winding journey has proven to me that when considering risk in one’s life, the primary consideration should be the impact of the risk on the authentic potential for quality of life and sustainable growth. We need to acknowledge that life is dynamic and will bring change regardless. If we don’t risk moving forward and growing toward full potential, we have settled ourselves into a life that is less than we deserve. No one comes into this world with the banner across her chest reading: “Will Settle For Good Enough, So Handle Gently”.

I ask you to think about the risk of taking no risk at all when envisioning your life story. The investment in self of taking risks to grow, change, experience, appreciate life at its fullest will result in those around you having a model for success.

I leave you with a poem  (author unknown)  that has carried me for decades as I have risked stepping in the river of life to experience the best of me, the fullest of life, and the potential to make a difference in my world.

RISKS

To laugh is to risk appearing a fool.

To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.

To reach out for another is to risk involvement.

To expose feeling is to risk exposing your true self.

To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss.

To love is to risk not being loved in return.

To live is to risk dying.

To hope is to risk despair.

To try is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The  person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply can not learn, feel, change, grow, love – live. Chained by his certitude, he is a slave. He has forfeited freedom. Only a person who risks is free.

Till next time, mo

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