Three Reasons You’ve Got to Take More Risks

risks Do you have those times in life where you feel like you’ve pushed yourself to the limit?

This is long and I’m letting you in some really personal stuff. But if you’re afraid to take risks, it’ll be helpful for you. Part way through you’ll find an exercise you can do to help you really see why you’ve GOT to just go for it when you have an opportunity.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been pushing myself to take more risks.

To deal with things I don’t want to.  To feel things that scare me, that I don’t want to feel.  To feel things that bring me to life again, and are scary in their own way.  To step into bigger things.  To face reality.  To face my dreams.  To get really honest with myself.

And it all ties back into business and the whole idea that we can only grow our businesses as fast as we grow ourselves.

I’m learning three lessons.

1.  Keep saying yes to things that are scary and feel totally out of your league (you might be ready).

Feeling out of my league was the overall theme the last few weeks while I traveled to meet with the mastermind group I’m part of, participate in a livestream, and more.

I had more challenging moments professionally and personally than I have had in a long time.  Every single time, that voice in my head said, “RUN!” and 90% of the time I was able to ignore it.

Is that what you’d expect from inside my head?  I’m not fearless.  Some days I’m not even that brave.  There were moments I was afraid to speak because I didn’t know if I had anything worth sharing.

It’s funny, isn’t it, how we can see ourselves differently than others see us?  I can’t count how many times during the mastermind and VIP coaching day that idea came up in our group–that we can so easily see the brilliance in others but we discount it in ourselves.

Maybe what feels out of your league really isn’t. You might be more ready for it than you realize.

Or maybe it totally is and you’ll discover 5 seconds into it that you need to hang on tight and just figure it out as you go. Give yourself permission to do that.

[pullquote position=”right”]Be brave enough, curious enough, passionate enough to find out. Take the risk.[/pullquote]

2.  Risks are worth it.

I could have totally bombed on any number of things over the last two weeks and there would have been consequences.

Looking back I’m just as tough on myself as you probably are on yourself–I see a lot of things I could and should have done differently or better, but that’s okay.  Knowing where I need to improve in itself made taking the risk worth it because now I’m aware and I can work on it.

Why are we so afraid of taking risks?

An exercise one of my coaches taught me a few years back is to sit down and write out what the worst that could happen was if I took a risk.  Never once have I actually written “die tragically in a flaming ball of fire” on the list of possible end results (then again, sky diving or jumping motorcycles through rings of fire isn’t on my list of things to do).

Seriously though, write it out.  It’s not going to be as scary as the things floating around in your head.  Look at that list.  You can recover from any of it.

And then write out what could go right.  What happens if you DO pull it off?  What if it WORKS?  What if…?

Look at those two lists.  Isn’t the potential of making those amazing things happen worth it?

Be brave enough, curious enough, passionate enough to find out.  Take the risk. 

3.  When you say yes more, even more cool things happen.

I’m consciously saying yes to things that flat out terrify me.  Because I know who I want to be and what I want to change in my life and the world around me.  I don’t have it all figured out, and I’m not there yet, but every single day I’m getting closer.

Big steps, little steps, it doesn’t matter as long as I keep moving the right direction.

Every step you take, you prove to yourself that you CAN do it.

You aren’t defined by your past.  You aren’t defined by who you were yesterday.  You aren’t defined by your failures.

Tomorrow will be what you make it.  Say yes and keep saying yes.  Follow through.  Show up and do the best you can.  Watch what happens.

So I’ll challenge you one more time…

Be brave enough, curious enough, passionate enough to find out.  Take the risk. 

Nelson Mandela said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

It’s okay not to be fearless.  Just find enough courage to take the risk.  Because what’s on the other side is worth the chance.

Let’s Talk: What risks have you taken, or what risks do you WANT to be brave enough to take in your business or life?  How do you move through that fear and step up anyway?

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  1. Michelle, so true! Fear can keep us in our favorite chair. Joyce Meyer says, “Get in motion! You can’t drive a parked car.”

    When thinking about being free of the past, many don’t realize how short memories are. If you did something embarrassingly badly 5 years ago, well, at this point, show up radiant and they will simply accept the new you. Even if you acted like a dwork, dressed badly, wrote poorly, or WERE a total dwork in the past, people are very quick to accept positive changes. So we can forget the past, rise to a new level, and start fresh, succeeding afresh.

    Thanks for the great post!
    Kebba Buckley Button recently posted… UpBeat Living: Ning for Social Networking, or NotMy Profile

    1. Great point, Kebba. :)

      And love that – can’t drive a parked car, so get moving!
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Are You Making These 2 Massive Mistakes in Your Business?My Profile

  2. Such a great post. It is amazing how our minds try so hard to put on the brakes. Congrats to you for acting in spite of fear and really pushing yourself. In doing so, your growing your value and by sharing it you are helping a lot of people do the same. :)
    Mike recently posted… The Gates Are Locked and the Sun Is Setting…My Profile

    1. I figured I can’t be the only one dealing with those crazy brakes. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… 5 Things You MUST Stop Doing (Seriously!)My Profile

  3. Complacency, as well as your comfort zone, are on the flip side of risk, nothing stays the same. It’s so much more empowering when you decide to make the changes that “you want” rather than accepting the changes that happen because…

    Without risk there’s no change. Without change we exist not live.

    Be Bold! Be daring! Take a risk ! Make a change!

    Thanks for sharing this empowering post.
    Adalia John recently posted… How to Rest Your MindMy Profile

    1. So true – make the changes we want instead of just waiting to see what life throws at us. I’d rather create my future. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… She Called Me a Liar and Said I’d Never SucceedMy Profile

  4. Fear can immobilize you or motivate you. I’ve been working through some challenges of establishing myself in a new city. Some days I wonder what am I doing here and other days I just forge ahead. Great post!

    1. That’s true, Kim. And being aware of it means we can choose which we allow it to do.

      Enjoy your new city! :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Learning to Be GentleMy Profile

  5. My word last year was “fearless” and i used it to propel me through the barriers i kept creating for myself -I did not mean it for me to become a daredevil or do insanely risky and courageous things, but rather simply to take the path that is through my fear since it was so pervasive in my life. – last year i launched an ecourse (ran twice with 100 people) and said yes to opportunities that came my way including paid writing on a big site.

    Just this week I launched my first ebook (free for now) to get my list finally launched. It felt scarier than the course!
    Deb recently posted… Intentional living: Look aroundMy Profile

    1. Woohoo!! That’s AWESOME movement forward, Deb! Sounds like the word “fearless” really worked for you. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… 5 Things You MUST Stop Doing (Seriously!)My Profile

  6. Michelle, oh boy! I saw the title of the post and knew I had to read. Thanks for the kick in the butt. It’s so easy to coast along without taking risk, but where’s the reward from that type of inactivity? Thanks for sharing!
    Alison recently posted… UnchainedMy Profile

    1. Sure not as big as the reward from taking risks. ;)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… She Called Me a Liar and Said I’d Never SucceedMy Profile

  7. Proof that we are our own worst enemies…
    Strive on.
    Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A. recently posted… Fish TalesMy Profile

  8. Thanks so much for taking the risk to write about what scares you and the risks you’ve pushed yourself to try. Many people think I’m pretty fearless … and I am … now … but took longer than I care to admit to really challenge myself. Looking back, even the whoops have been more a step forward than back. I’m grateful to those who challenge me…and reach out a hand to help me step over some scary, scary ravines. Also, grateful when others, like you, speak up and share. It’s empowering. Thanks,
    Kathy Henderson-Sturtz recently posted… Choose to live with No Fear this yearMy Profile

  9. “How we can see ourselves differently than others see us?” that rings so true with me. I don’t see myself how others see me and it does scare the hell out of me! Thanks for sharing your experience, inspiration to just close my eyes and get on with it!
    Jan Kearney recently posted… What the Heck is a QR Code and Why Would I Want One?My Profile

  10. Michelle, I’ve participated in the ‘Make your blog famous’ course last week and you seemed to be ‘master of the situation ;-) I’ve just launched a VIP Mentoring Program and of course I could have said to myself: ah, it’s never gonna work, people won’t pay for that, you’re just not good enough, there’s plenty of other people who offer the same … But I took action ;-) Time will tell if it’s a success the first time around. Maybe it needs a second attempt, but that’s ok too. Thanks for all you do.
    Sarah recently posted… Getting Subscribers is Easy – Keeping Them Is The Real ChallengeMy Profile

  11. Thanks so much for this. I needed the challenge to take risks. In a few months, I will be moving from Indonesia where I have made my home for the past twenty years. I will return to Ohio where I will…??? Honestly, I am not sure yet. I am considering trying to do something from home. Perhaps editing might be a part of that. I want to keep doing some writing of my own, but that is not likely to earn a living for my daughter and I in the near future. Needless to say, there is a large element of risk involved in this move. Again, thank you for the challenge.
    Julie recently posted… Chicken Soup for the…Chicken Soul???My Profile

  12. So true! It was a client who pretty much forced me to go into book shepherding back in 2004. When I protested that I didn’t have the skill set, he insisted, yes you do, give it a try. That has become by far the most profitable part of my business, and took away the pressure of needing a constant flow of new small clients.

  13. It’s very easy to rest on your laurels, and in business it’s vital to keep pushing forward and looking for new opportunities.
    Walter recently posted… Driving lessons folkestoneMy Profile

  14. Michelle, love this post on risk. I notice that in every moment we can see and perceive blocks–real or not. I see them in business, personal, spiritual, everywhere. Frankly, it’s amazing how courageous we all are every single day getting through our lives. As a totally blind person, I have always noticed how others place their own fears and blocks in front of me–usually out of love and caring. So, when I was a kid of about 8 or 9 I decided I would teach myself to ride a bike by myself. I didn’t think to ask my mom if she thought I’d be able to do it–I was simply driven by my desire to ride a bike. Recently, many decades later I decided to do a video on “overcoming” and get back on the bike and see if I could do it. Wow, it was scary. If you’d like to check out this inspirational “blind bike riding” 2 minute vid, please check it out and like it and share it if you are inspired.

  15. Michelle, this was a great read thank you.

    It’s surprising how much of a difference these 3 reasons can make.

    I think fear of the unknown is a big barrier to a lot of people but you’re totally right in saying that risks are worth taking. Sure some things might not pan out, but most of them will and it will open doors to other opportunities that people haven’t considered in the past.

    Saying YES! is the best thing I have ever done.
    Adam recently posted… 15 of the Best Premium WordPress PluginsMy Profile

    1. Same here, Adam. Not every risk works out like we hope but so many of them will if we just give it a shot and it’s worth it.

  16. You’re certainly not the only one dealing with those crazy brakes my friend. I’ve been letting them stop me and just yesterday said “It’s okay to feel the resistance. Thank it & move forward anyway.” I guess that’s kind of like “Feel the fear and do it anyway.
    That writing exercise is one I’ve done verbally and 9 times out of 10 the worst that you think can happen really ain’t all that bad.
    So is, “Be brave enough, curious enough, passionate enough to find out. Take the risk.” your own quote. I want to use and make sure I give credit where credit is due.

    You continue to be an inspiration to me. Thanks so much . . .
    Debra Jason recently posted… Do You Know the 5 Steps to Copywriting Success? Part 1My Profile

    1. So far as I know, it is. ;)

  17. Sometimes, we have to take risks and go out of our comfort zone in order to grow and learn new things. Taking risks is part of everyone’s life and success is more sweet if we know we reap it because we took the risk.
    Connor Harley recently posted… 10 Unique Wedding Ideas on a BudgetMy Profile

    1. Yep, bigger risk = bigger rewards. :)

  18. So true, Michelle! Thanks for sharing your own fears and overcoming them, you are being such an inspiration!
    Delia recently posted… 9 blogging tips I learned from my kidsMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Delia. I appreciate you reading and commenting.

  19. You will never grow if you don”t take risks or face your fears.
    Neil Butterfield recently posted… Identifying MSG and how to avoid itMy Profile

  20. 100% agreed that without taking risk nothing is gained. Moreover I am a firm believer that every small decision we make on daily basis adds up and our life is the final result of all our small and big decisions we took. Either they were right or wrong, who knows, but risk is involved everywhere.
    Keral Patel recently posted… Top Questions To Ask Before Hiring A WebmasterMy Profile

  21. Dear Michelle,
    I’ve gotten behind on reading my emails and I’ve missed the genuine honesty that you share in your posts. I especially liked, “…that voice in my head said, “RUN!” and 90% of the time I was able to ignore it.” Your post is very motivating on many levels. Thanks! Debbie Seiling and
    Debbie Seiling recently posted… Christians Rely Heavily on the Nourishment That Jesus Gives ThemMy Profile

  22. Thanks so much for this. I needed the challenge to take risks.Thanks a lot!
    James recently posted… Hello world!My Profile

  23. I love the saying ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ and this post is nothing more than a reinforcement to that line. What is the worst that could happen anyway if you faced your fears and do that which you want to do? Thanks for this inspiration Michelle.

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