I wish I could say I learned to take risks on a summer night with mushrooms as my guide, or traveling on the night train in India with a risk guru. But, really, it was business that forced me to drop the drug of risky behavior.
Business was my risk boot camp. Without a playbook in hand I ventured towards the edge of the high dive as the kids in my head yelled, “Jump. Jump. Jump.”
Launching a company wasn’t risky because I merely had $200 in savings and couldn’t secure a credit card, or because I didn’t have any beverage or manufacturing experience. For me, the nauseating risk was that I was the sole financial provider for my two children and there was nothing to fall back on.
I do not speak of mindless risk taking or extreme-sport-thousand-dollar-poker-table buy-in-behavior, but rather intuitive risk taking. Taking the leap of faith based on gut. Knowing deep inside my dreams demanded that I take action and step off that cliff. Trusting. Trusting. Trusting.
Sure, there were hecklers in the bleachers saying “Not the right time! “Not the right place!” “Not the right gender!” But instead of listening to the naysayers I decided to listen to my intuitive gut. It has now become a practice, as inherent to entrepreneurship as the lack of sleep. Just like my yoga practice, it needs attention, it needs to be fed – and then it will feed me.
Risk taking, for me, has generated more creativity. It’s a cycle that rewards change. Each time I look into those dark waters below, the abyss of the unknown, I learn more about my resiliency, my creativity, and somehow, so far, have come out unscathed into the warm calm turquoise waters of success and learned a little more about who I am and what I want.
This isn’t just for entrepreneurs. Anyone in life feeling safe, wanting a little change, or needing to disrupt the status quo can get to know risk taking. Your bliss and your dreams on are on the other side. Take it out for a spin and see how it can change the trajectory of your life. From moving, quitting a job, expressing your heart, ending that unfulfilling relationship, tackling that musical instrument, or writing the screenplay roaming around in your mind the last 10 years – your bliss will thank you.
The other prong of risk taking is resiliency. Of course not every plunge will bring success. Not feeling attached to these outcomes can then facilitate letting go when things don’t work. The quicker you see and feel it isn’t working, whether it’s an employee that needs to go or a marketing initiative falling flat — pull the Band-Aid off fast and know being malleable and resilient will open you up to more opportunities.
And yet, after thousands of jumps the fear still creeps in at times, whispering “Go Back Home little Girl.” But risk takers don’t turn around. They don’t slump shoulders and fold up into themselves in a corner. They stand up, look the unknown straight in the face and say, “Bring It.”