Taking the Risk out of Risk

I remember it as clearly as if it were yesterday.

I was sitting in my manager’s office.  It was not turning out to be a pleasant meeting.  It had been an awful week…an awful month actually…and both my body and my brain were overloaded.  I was thinking of how much I hated my job when, all of a sudden, a thought came into my head – “I don’t have to do this anymore”.  At the same time a sense of calm came over my entire body.

My intuition had spoken.

Two days after that meeting, my letter of resignation was on my manager’s desk.  Six weeks later, I was free.  Was it an easy decision?  No way!  Was I scared?  For sure!  I was taking a HUGE risk by giving up a good salary.  I didn’t qualify for unemployment insurance and would have to live off my savings until my business got on its feet.  But it was the best decision I have ever made.  In the two years since my wise self spoke to me, I have never been happier.  I may be living on a shoestring budget but my life is full of riches.  I’ve met some wonderful people.  I’ve discovered hidden talents and strengths I never knew I had.  And to great relief to my family and friends, I’ve stopped complaining!  Was it worth the risk?  Yes.  I’ll never regret it.

Life is full of risk.  The small risks we face every day are usually pretty easy to deal with.  Do I walk across the street even though the light is red?  Do I try this new recipe even though it may not work?  These are easy decisions to make because we don’t put much on the line.  But what about the big ones?  What about leaving the job you hate for one you may love?  Or ending a relationship that you know is bad but you are scared of being alone?  Or hiring that coach to help you build your business even though it will mean going into debt?  These steps are much harder to take – the level of risk is higher.  In order to make them happen you have to put your fear aside and have faith.  You have to believe in yourself; that you are capable of weathering any storm that may come your way and coming out of it OK.  You have to be courageous enough to take that first step.

In his CD series, “Maximum Confidence”, Jack Canfield compares taking risks to playing poker.  If you are going into the game with 100 chips, you are more likely to take risks and place large bets than if you only have 10 chips to play with.  Why?  Because you have less to lose.  It is the same with confidence.  You are more likely, and feel more comfortable, taking those big risks because you have less to lose if they don’t work out.  Your confidence doesn’t take as big a hit.  If you have little confidence in yourself and your abilities, you will always strive to stay within your comfort zone, even if it isn’t all that comfortable.

And life truly begins at the end of your comfort zone.

So how can you increase your confidence so that you have the courage to take those big risks?

1)   Identify the area in your life where you feel less confident

All of us are confident in some areas of our lives and less confident in others.  Is there a change you would like to make in your life that you have been putting off?  This will point you in the right direction.

2)   Reconnect with who you are

All change starts from within.  Take the time to reacquaint yourself with what makes you the awesome person that you are.  What are your talents and treasures?  What fears and beliefs are holding you back?  What successes have you had in the past that will help you to move forward?

3)   Start out small

Set yourself up for success by taking baby steps.  For example, if you would like to find a job you love, start out visualizing what your dream job would be.  Then move on from there.  Each small success will give you the confidence to take the next step.

4)    Change loves company

It is extremely hard to increase your confidence, and the risks you take, on your own.  Ask for help from a mentor or good friend that you can trust to support and challenge you.  Attend a class or a workshop like the Get Real Retreat where you can connect with other people who are like you.  Their ideas, encouragement and support will make your journey to a great life easier and faster.

 

As you are reading this, what are you noticing?  What is your intuition telling you about what your next step should be?

Taking the big risks in life, and living your best life with confidence requires inner work, resourcefulness, and being part of a community of like-minded allies.

Could you do this?

Most of my friends know that my favourite movie is one called “Facing the Giants”.  It is an inspirational movie about a high school football team and their coach who, after developing a belief in their ability to succeed, turn from a losing team into a winning team.  I’m not a huge football fan but this movie does it to me every time I watch it.  Bring on the hankies…I’ll soak a dozen of them.  It never fails to leave me feeling as though I can conquer the world.

There is one scene in the movie that I find particularly motivational.  It never fails to make me wonder…am I really doing my best?  Watch this clip and see what you think…

Facing the Giants Video Clip

I strongly believe that we are all capable of doing much more than we ever imagine is possible.  Like Brock, we all have a hidden source of wisdom, strength, and courage that we never tap into until we are encouraged to do so.  We all have talents and gifts that we keep hidden from the world for various reasons, whether it be for fear of failure, rejection or ridicule, or because we just don’t think that what we have to offer has value.  But staying within our comfort zone and keeping these things hidden is doing a great disservice not only to the world, but also to ourselves.  We are missing  out on experiencing deeper relationships with our family, friends and loved ones, financial and personal success, and opportunities because we are scared to be our best.  Others miss out in knowing the true awesomeness that is you.  And that is a real shame.

My challenge to you this week is to tap into those hidden places within you and stretch your limits.  Is there something you have always wanted to do but haven’t because you didn’t think you had the skill, courage or strength to do it?  If there is, go out and do it.  It you feel that you need a bit of support and encouragement, bring a friend or mentor along with you.  I love being a coach because it is always a thrill to see the people I work with accomplish things they never thought possible.  With each new success, each limit broken, they grow – not just metaphorically but physically it seems.  They stand taller, walk more confidently, and they positively glow.  And every time they succeed it acts as an incentive for me to grow as well, to go out and test my own limits.  So, what will your challenge be this week?  Do it and let me know how it goes.  I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

What Food Feeds your Soul?

If you read my blog last week, you know that it was the “Week of the Poop”.  Well, this week should be called “The Curse of the Cat Food”.   As my cat Charlie recovered from his bout with pancreatitis (we think), the one thing that seemed to be lagging behind was his appetite.  No matter what I did, he turned up his nose at it.  I tried his old canned food, which he used to love; Pediatric canned food (a sure winner said the vet), and special gastro-intestinal food that the emergency clinic staff said he gobbled down during his stay there.  He snubbed them all.  Someone even suggested that I try heating his food up so I starting popping each try in the microwave.  Believe me, the resulting scent that permeated my home was a cat’s delight, but was enough to turn any regular human’s stomach.  A smell reminiscent of decaying fish on a beach is not something that one wants to wake up to each morning.  Anyway, that helped a little and I did a happy dance each time he took a bite.  All in all it took us about 4 days to finally come up with a winning combination – Friskies mixed with his favourite dry food.  As he gobbled it down, I did a high five.  Both he and I are now happy campers.

As I was fighting the “Cat Food Wars”, one question kept coming to mind – “What feeds my soul?”  For Charlie, it is obviously Friskies and crunchies.  For me I found it wasn’t quite that simple.  I actually had to give it a lot of thought.  This is what I came up with:

  • Walks on the beach with waves whispering on the shore
  • Listening to music that I love
  • Spending time with my friends
  • Watching the birds at my feeder
  • Giving and receiving hugs

What amazed me was that all the things on my list were simple things; things that didn’t cost anything at all but my time.  None of them involved anything more sophisticated than an iPod.  Instead, they were all things that made me stop my life for a moment and focus on the present.  And when I did this, all of the hassles that I might have been encountering in my life faded into the background.  My soul was at peace.

What do you do that feeds your soul?  Don’t worry if it takes you awhile to think of things.  We all have a tendency to get so caught up in our lives and meeting the needs of others that we forget that we have needs too.  We forget that it is often the simple things that make the most difference, and have the most impact on our lives.  The noise and activity of our busy lives often drown out the things that make us truly happy and healthy.  And it is only when we become ill or stressed that we take the time to unbury them and appreciate them again.

My challenge for you this week is not to wait until you are ill or stressed to do what brings your peace.  Take a few moments each day to do something that feeds your soul.  Hug a loved one.  Walk on a beach.  Do whatever makes your heart sing.  Wallow in it.  My only wish for you is that, whatever you do, may it smell better than warm Friskies!

When Poop isn't just Poop

Now I know what it is like when a parent has a sick child.  You feel helpless.  You know that you can’t make them feel better so you have to concentrate on what you can do.  You make them comfortable.  You offer them tantalizing treats to encourage their appetite.  And you go without a lot of sleep so that you are there for them when they need you.  Everything else in the world comes to a halt.

Over the last week my cat has been sick.  Since I have no children of my own, Charlie is my child.  Many of my friends say that he has me wrapped around his little paw.  They are right.  And when he started to have diahrrea and vomiting (I promise I won’t go into the gory details!), I felt truly helpless.  There wasn’t much I could do for him other than take him to the vet, follow their instructions and pray.

Like any parent, during the recuperation process, little things become important.  For Charlie and I, it was poop.  Yes, my whole life for the last week has revolved around poop!  I honestly never realized there were so many ways of describing it – cow patty, log, solid, watery.   We have experienced them all.   But I knew my world could start revolving again when I cleaned out his litter box the other day and found solid poop!  It was just like finding buried treasure!

So, by this point you must be asking yourself, what does all this, and especially poop, have to do with anything?  Well, finding that little log of solid poop reminded me of just how important it is to celebrate every success, no matter how small.  To most people, that little piece of poop would be nothing much.  It would just be something to put into the litter bag and put in the garbage.  But to us,  that little thing meant that there was a light at the end of the tunnel.  He had turned the corner and was now on the path to recovery – and I could see a full night’s sleep in my future.  That little thing wasn’t little, but HUGE…and worth celebrating!  So, that night, Charlie got an extra treat with his pills and I treated myself to a hamburger and Oreo parfait (yum!) at Wendy’s.  Life was good!

What small successes are you letting go by unnoticed because you think they are too small to make a difference?  I know in the past I’ve let small accomplishments like these go by unrecognized:

– I got the garbage to the curb on time this week

– I remembered to take your books back to the library by the due date

– I ate healthy today

– I picked up the phone and called a friend that you hadn’t spoken to in awhile

– I went for a walk

– I completed something that had been on my “To Do” list for a long time

Successes don’t have to be big to be celebrated.  Don’t wait until you win the lottery or lose 20 lbs to treat yourself to something special.  Write down everything that you accomplish today and take the time to savour each one.  Breathe in the sense of accomplishment you feel.  Then do something kind for yourself to celebrate your achievement!  The more we celebrate every little success, the more success will come our way.  And, before you know it, your whole life will become one big celebration!  Nothing wrong with that!