When was the last time you scared yourself? I mean really and purposefully scared yourself?
We’d better first define “scared” if you’re going to be able to answer this question. My definition for the purposes of this missive is intentionally taking a risk that has as one of its options failure that could risk your future stability, risk what people think of your perspicacity, or risk your own feelings of self-worth.
My colleague Betsy Jordyn and I just completed a teleconference for aspiring consultants. One of the themes was around the concept of risk taking. I used the example of when I started my own consulting practice 10 years ago. It was a big risk to leave a good job with benefits and security of a comfortable lifestyle for the uncertainty of a career with zero clients and only hope. I committed to the mindset that Hernán Cortéz reputedly held when the explorer landed in the new world. Legend says that he burned the boats so the thought of returning home would never enter the minds of his crew. I was burning the boat of ever being employed by someone else again.
I am not suggesting that you quit your job or be reckless with your financial security. What I am saying is that many people I meet choose to be “safe” rather than take the risk of looking “foolish,” or losing security. Money can always be made. What can’t be replaced is the time and experiences. I believe it’s riskier to waste your time than waste your money. Be bold; take risks; go places; seek what makes you passionate; and once in a while burn some boats.
“A ship on harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
~ John A. Shedd