"Venturing into unfamiliar, and sometimes, unsettling territory is often the path that leads to the life-changing transformation we are seeking." - Janine Rudder
I’m closing in on the end of another marvelous year of life. As I think back over the events of this past year I marvel at the vision for my life I dared to create, the various milestones I was able to push myself to accomplish, and the things that “fell” into place at the most favorable time.
It’s those seemingly serendipitous occurrences, which I know to be God’s signal, that confirms my chosen path and strengthens my confidence.
In the last 12 months, I’ve stepped into big, life-changing ventures, such as my journey as a writer. I also took chances on some smaller prospects. Each situation turned out exponentially better than I had imagined it would. It was all because I dared to take action toward what I believed to be the highest possible outcome. Venturing into unfamiliar, and sometimes, unsettling territory is often the path that leads to the life-changing transformation we are seeking.
Radical change comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s the type that the world can see – a big move, a career change, or a difference in physical appearance. However, many times the change is harder to detect at a glance but completely transformative to the spirit – a shift in perspective, exchanging negative self-talk for empowering affirmations, deciding that you are worthy of a fulfilling life.
One of the biggest lessons I learned this past year that will reverberate throughout the remainder of my life is that the size of the reward is in direct proportion to the size of the risk (and your level of faith). I know that I’m wandering into the land of the cliché here, but some sayings live on for so long because of their value.
Here are four of the most powerful discoveries about risk-taking and reward that I made in the past year.
1. Risk-taking facilitates a deeper understanding of oneself
What are you truly capable of? Where in life are you willing to settle? A shrewd friend recently said to me that one doesn’t grow wise by playing it safe. I took from that the notion that to know your true capacity, you must put yourself in situations that require you to do what you’ve never done. It compels you to clarify your standards. What are those things in life that you refuse to do without and what are the areas where you’re fine with mediocrity?
Your responses to those questions can help inform how you’ve been experiencing your own life – your level of joy, confidence, peace, sadness. Does that unsettled feeling you can’t seem to shake stem from the disappointment of feigned contentment with your career or relationships? Risk-taking can open the door to your values. Knowing what you value most provides critical information about what motivates you and how you can prioritize the things, people, and activities that bring meaning to your life.
2. Risk-Taking Accelerates Self-Expansion.
I had never heard the phrase “playing small” until I started training to become a coach. Then I began using it continuously; mostly in my self-talk when faced with a daunting opportunity. Essentially, I was asking if shielding myself from failure is worth missing out on true fulfillment. Do I want to live the type of life that’s comfortable and predictable, but that’s also apathetic, and devoid of those peak experiences where true joy lives?
For many of us, the first risk we take is in our minds. Do we even dare to give ourselves permission to dream big or to imagine all of the possibilities that are available to us? Walking toward conceivable failure stretches you, in both mind and body. You find a new way to think, discover skill sets you weren’t aware of, and hopefully start to live bigger than you had before.
3. Taking Risks Increase the Chances of Getting What You Want
There’s a caveat here. This is only true if what you desire is an exceptional life where you create grand visions and set out on the adventure of actualizing them. However, if you really want a stable, even-keeled existence with as little surprise and agitation as possible, risk-taking isn’t your path.
As children, so many of us allowed ourselves the freedom to aspire to any and everything we could imagine ourselves enjoying. As we age, we acquiesce to other people’s cynicism, failures, and fear. We dull the shine of our own yearnings for our lives because the people around us either gave up on their desires or weren’t bold enough to imagine any. Everyday I encourage myself to have the audacity to want what I want and to be who I have to be to get it.
4. Risk-takers Inspire and Encourage Those Around Them
You are a product of the five people you spend most of your time with. I’ve heard many variations on this theory throughout my life. Of course, there are exceptions, but groupthink is an actual thing and can result in more significant consequences for our lives then we know. Humans are inherently prone to seek out a community. We generally long for deep interpersonal connections and oftentimes the health of our relationships reflect our overall levels of health and satisfaction with our lives.
If the people around us are so vital to our wellbeing, it makes sense that we do what we can to ensure that they thrive. One powerful way to do that is to be an example. Be vulnerable enough to share your desires with your community and listen to their goals. Create action plans together and support each other in taking the next step toward them.
Janine Rudder is a coach and Co-Owner at Manifestara LLC - https://manifestara.com/