We are just two days away from 2024!! As we embark on the New Year, there is often a feeling of hope and excitement. New goals, new energy, and a renewed commitment to making things happen. I love that feeling and yes, I am one of the few who still gets excited about making New Year’s Resolutions.
However, before I create a new vision, I always make a point of looking at what I accomplished last year and why those goals happened. If you haven’t done that, I highly recommend setting an alarm for 10 minutes and writing down everything you accomplished that made you feel happy or proud last year. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, in fact, some of the small things often have the greatest impact. Then reflect, how does it feel? And what do you notice??
As I reviewed my year, there was undoubtedly a common thread around the things I was most proud of and that is RISK. Ahhhhh that big, scary thing that raises your heart rate just by saying the word! Yet, the reality is all of those really hard goals, that at one point felt impossible were achieved by stepping wildly outside my comfort zone and taking action despite the fear.
Mark Zuckerberg has said, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk…. In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risk.”
However, in a twist of human irony, mankind is actually hardwired to avoid risks. Our survival mechanism or “threat protection system” instantly kicks in the moment we detect risk, and our bodies reflexively move into fight, flight, or fright. At that point, the mind and body perceives survival to be infinitely more important than quitting your job, making that sales call, or going out on a date.
There are a few other sneaky stress responses that can get in the way of big action. Do any of these sound familiar?
The good news is we can retrain the brain and the nervous system to accept risk, even perhaps, find it exciting. Now I’m not suggesting you need to quit your job, sell your home, and take up cliff diving. Everyone has their “risk set point” and their personal goals. This is not a one size fits all but when you have that gut feeling or you know in your heart there is more you are capable of, listen, lean in and TAKE THAT RISK!
Here are 5 surprising ways to help you take bigger risks for greater rewards.
So how might you create a game out of one of those “risks” that feels “scary”. Perhaps, add a time component or a fun reward?
What can you practice or study that will help you take those bigger risks?
Big goals require both little tasks and big, “risky” actions- it’s ok to do both, just make sure you cultivate the flower and don’t get caught in the weeds.
It made me think of a story I read years ago about Lisa, a struggling actress in Los Angeles who created a character who became her make believe “manager”. The pretend manager was named Fiona, she had a British accent and a whole backstory, separate phone number, email, and even a fake assistant. When Lisa “pretended” to be Fiona she was able to sell and pitch herself like an old car’s salesman. And it worked! She got auditions and ultimately landed some great jobs. Eventually, people figured out Fiona was really Lisa but by then she had booked enough work, she was able to get real representation.
This is rather extreme but it’s a powerful example of what can happen when you become the persona of someone who would take those risks.
So here is your Oscar winning moment…..what fearless superhero are you ready to step into and what’s possible if you do?
Remember you are already a risk taker- you have been taking risks since you were a baby learning to crawl. So, you have lots of data to prove that you are more than capable, and it’s been worth it. And with a little bit of courage, practice, and patience, we can all continue to raise the bar of possibility. Here is to a great 2024 full of lots of exciting, fun, and proud moments.
Go take a risk and SHINE!
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