Friday, April 15, 2011

Worth the Risk

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I’d like to formally introduce my friend, Ross. He sends me a cool “cowboy quote” every day. He’s done this without fail and it has become something I look forward to. I thought it would be fun to start sharing these with my fabulous blog readers!

Today’s Cowboy Quote of the Day:

“If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more” ~Erica Jong

As children most of us are taught to “play safe”. Because our parents love us so much, they try their best to prevent harm from happening to us. I’ve caught myself saying the same thing to my kids as my parents said to me, “Don’t do that!"

So despite all of those good intentions of keeping us from harm, we may also learn to avoid risks, preferring predictable, “safe” boundaries to make sure our bodies and our lives stay right on track. Though there’s nothing inherently wrong with playing it safe, it may also prevent us from really living, really knowing the depth of our character, our true strengths and how amazing we actually are.

Please know that I am not advocating dare devil invitations here. I am saying that sometimes we can, and should, do things that scare us, temporarily erasing the protective boundaries we’ve created. These boundaries can be self-protective mechanism, primarily to keep our fragile egos from feeling, embarrassment, fear, disappointment, inadequacy and the slurry of other human emotions some of us work really hard to keep hidden.

I say, do what you most love, focus on this and you’ll be guaranteed to experience the gamut of emotions that ensue on your road to success.

Specifically speaking, I started taking guitar lessons. This is an instrument that I’ve wanted to play since I was four. I remember playing on yard stick, tied with a string around my neck, while watching Hee Haw at Grandma Ruth and Grandpa Otto’s house. It’s never left me. A friend sold me her guitar about six years ago. I got it out of the case twice and put it away. My mind told me I’d never learn to play and it was too late in my life to ever be really good. Truth usually sounds and feels differently than the mind. The timing just wasn’t right.

In fact, the timing may never be right for things that we are hesitant to try. There are a myriad of excuses that can keep us safely protected from feeling anything that might cause us, embarrassment, pain, shame, fear and feeling defeated. If we’re feeling these things before we even start, why initiate the event in the first place? Usually because they are only surface “fears”, designed to keep us locked within the safety of our personal boundaries. This is where risk comes into play.

Are we willing to forgo the way we see ourselves in every day light, in contrast to the greatest vision we know we carry? Are we willing to push through those old cell memories of past failures and inadequacies to get to a higher level of experience? If we are then the risk is minimal in comparison to the outcome. And this becomes your “fearless driving rain”.

I risked seeing myself at something that I am NOT good at and have little natural talent for. I risked moving into a world that I knew nothing about; I’m not an authority and the only thing I have going is that I can sort of read music. Want to take a stroll in humility? Find something that you can’t do, at all, and start learning it!

I will likely never be on a stage, in front of a crowd of screaming, adoring fans (so there’s my fantasy!) I’ll probably not be belting out my favorite melodies to anyone other than my dog, the goats and chickens. What I am doing is risking my own self image, seeing, living and fully embracing the image of my clumsy, non-nimble fingers trying to make a cord sound like some sort of music!

This may not sound like a great risk on the scale of “things to do with your life” but it’s one that is teaching me a great deal. There’s no room for perfection, the goal is simply to be in the moment, and learn in a new, kinesthetic way, the likes of which I am most unaccustomed to. I am learning that I can’t just read and master something, it requires the “DOING” aspect. Repetition and consistency are what get me over the hump here; and yes, these are my weak areas (I usually can stick with a diet/exercise routine for about a week before I’m bored or distracted!)

So what is it that you are willing to risk? What is something that you’ve always wanted to try yet you’ve pushed aside? If you were to erase all negative self-talk, what would you set out to do, explore, experience? In other words, if there were so such thing as failure, what would love to succeed at?

You’re only may be holding back from something so amazing it has the potential to change your life. Go ahead, take that risk…… may find you have everything to gain.

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