“Every day, people settle for less than they deserve. They are only partially living or at best living a partial life. Every human being has the potential for greatness”.
~ Bo Bennett
My friend cancelled her wedding, a month or so before the day; “I just couldn’t do it, Liz, I knew in my heart, that it wasn’t what I wanted”.
My life-coaching client quit her well-paying corporate career so that she could spend her time writing and creating and building an online business; “Most of all, I quit because I just want to be free,” she told me.
Another friend, Nicole, mutually ended her relationship with her boyfriend: “Over time it became clear that we just didn’t want the same things.”
Blogger and author, Torre De Roche, aged 24 – upon meeting a 31-year old Argentinean man in a bar who turned out to have a humble sailboat and a dream to set off exploring the world in it – agreed to go with him, despite a dilapidating fear of the ocean. Her book, Love with a Chance of Drowning, set against a backdrop of the world’s most beautiful and remote destinations, proves there are some risks worth taking.
(noun): The possibility of suffering harm or loss; danger.
We humans are hard-wired to avoid risk.
Risk catapults us into vulnerability-land – waaaaaaay outside of our comfort zone – a place where anxiety is sky-high, our stomachs flip and we lose sleep at night.
Vulnerability-land is incredibly scary and uncertain terrain, a place where our grip on control considerably loosens.
It’s no wonder we prefer to skirt-around risk.
Risk is terrifying.
Being terrified of risk is the reason why we stay in the job we don’t like, the one that sucks our soul dry, the one we have to literally drag ourselves out of bed for in the morning.
Being terrified of risk is the reason why we go on holiday to the same place each year, because “at least we know what we’re going to get, and anyway, I hear the food’s a bit ‘funny’ in other countries”.
Being terrified of risk is the reason why we stay with the guy, or the girl, because they’re a ‘good’ person and they’re ‘kind’ to us, even though we know, deep down, that they’re not the partner we want to witness our life.
Being terrified of risk is the reason why we save for a rainy day; “just in case”.
So why is it that some of us choose to take risks? What was it that moved my friend to pull out of her wedding, for Nicole to end her relationship? Why did my coaching client quit her job? Why did Torre agree to travel the world on a leaky boat – even though she knew the experience would rocket launch her head-first into vulnerability land – a place where she’d find herself hugging the sides of the boat, too frightened to stand up?
As Leo F. Buscaglia once said, “The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.”
To take a risk is to be vulnerable – and being vulnerable means showing up as the real you, standing in your own truth, putting yourself on the line, putting yourself out there, open to judgement from others, and of course, judgement from ourselves.
Being vulnerable is flipping the bird and saying ‘fuck it’ to our fears and stepping forward anyway.
And each time we step forward, we learn, we gain confidence, we become more and more connected with our own internal strength.
Vulnerability-land is the place where change happens.
Vulnerability-land is a place where our outlook broadens, our dreams and goals and visions become clearer, no matter how terrifying they are, and impossible starts to become possible.
Vulnerability land is where we believe in ourselves enough to take the risk.
I handed in my resignation today.
I can’t stop smiling.