In continuing with the 25 part list found in Part 1 I chose to ask a few people close to me which topic was of most interest. To my interest these people chose #20: Taking Risks. I hope you’ll come to see by the end of this little scribble that if you’re enticed by the idea of taking risks in your life, then quite simply: you’re not taking enough of them to equate to the happiness life can bring you.
I could end this rant there but let me continue…
We’ve all taken risks in our lives. Hell, every decision or change of direction in life is a risk. I take risks every day, some much larger than others. I choose to write every day. Sometimes in the personal scribble or poems that become a marker of my life. I don’t share them (I don’t hide them either; I’m just never asked) but the point is that taking a thought from inside of your head or heart and putting it to paper is a risk. It becomes much more real. We all know people who refuse to share their feelings and thoughts and guess what, we usually pity them for their fear. I choose whom I’m going to spend my time with each day; that’s a risk as I’m literally trading my life’s time to be spent on you. I’m in a committed relationship which I invest a great deal into. I don’t own that person so therefore without any just cause or injustice on my part she could decide one day that I’m not her cup of tea anymore and up and leave. That’s a risk I’m happy to take. I choose to exercise in a manner that could cause me serious injury one day. But I like intense, purposeful exercise. It’s a risk I accept. See the theme here?
Take a moment: what risks are you taking right now? Do you take them on willingly or perhaps out of habit? Do you evaluate which risks are worth the life you’re trying to live?
Things that make you go hmmmmmm…
5 years ago I made the decision that the corporate business (in this case, insurance) world was simply not for me. But what would I do? Would I go back to school? Would I use my office based skill sets for something else? Would I finally hear my friends and co-workers telling me to go do what I was most passionate about: fitness and teaching it to others? I had the kushiest job. Seriously. I was 25, making $40K a year in a union based company where no one ever lost their job and the top available salaries were upwards of $70K/year. I was working in downtown Vancouver, on the 18th floor of the Harbour Centre with a desk that literally was in front of a giant window that overlooked all of North Vancouver, Canada Place, the seabus, heliport, cruise ship dock and gorgeous mountains. My boss was a good woman. My co-workers were good to me. There was a home for me if I wanted it. But I chose to throw caution to the wind and up and quit my job. I was gonna do this personal trainer thing. Let me tell you, I was in for a shock. The hours are horrid (needing to be at work at 5:30am and sometimes back at work until 11pm), the pay was shit (about $20 for an hour’s work; keep in mind that it takes at least an additional hour of other work to perform that one session), the environment was overly salesy which I hate; oh and my first year I took a pay cut from that $40k/year salary to a T4 that told me I made a whopping $17K the following full year in personal training. What the hell was I thinking? I could go on, but the point is the change, the risk, the difficulties that come with owning one’s own business and being a one-man show are not as easy as I make it seem. But I LOVE what I do every day. I LOVE my life. I LOVE who I am and how I’m trusted and able to help others reach their personal goals. It’s an honor.
I had a client a few years back now and I remember distinctly a conversation that went like this. You would be wise to pay attention:
She was working full-time and to complete her degree and further her career she was facing the decision of quitting her full-time job, losing all her income (with very little savings) and going to school full-time versus the part-time she was currently doing. That’s a tough decision as is. To add to it she was about 100lbs overweight. I’d been training her for quite some time, on and off and she roller-coastered from losing 25lbs to gaining it back and more, to losing it and then gaining back even more. It was a nasty cycle. So while she was deciding whether quitting her job was the right choice or whether she should focus on her health, lose the weight and save more money by working for the next year, I had a strong feeling this was one of those life-altering forks in the road. I told her, in my opinion, that once she was in school, with no income that she would then become uber stressed, become unable to pay for personal training which she needed as she could not motivate herself to workout regularly and most likely she would remain the unhealthy weight she was for a much longer time if she chose the career first. It’s not my life, I just foresaw what was going to happen. I’ve not spoken with her in a while but I’m going to assume that her weight and health have not changed markedly for the positive and it leaves me with the question of what if she’d risked taking one year out of her career life to focus on something that would define a great deal more in her life.
Another story: I have a good buddy. I’ve known him for about 3 years. One thing that stuck with me about him was a conversation him and I first had about how he desired to own his own business one day. He wasn’t sure what, but he just knew he wanted to be his own boss and be successful in that way. Now I’ve watched him make some grand personal discoveries and change as all young men inevitably do between 25 and 35, but lately I see something more: an uneasiness; an unhappiness that’s deep seeded in the lack of risks he takes to reach his goals. He’s no closer today than he was 3 years ago to that original goal. He’s been spinning his wheels for far too long. I do my best to converse with him and be honest and frank about the subject but we each change in our own time. The point is, his meandering back and forth, being indecisive about which risk to take has led to a complete lack of action, anxiety, unhappiness, a boredom with life all in a dude who’s a great character; you know, the type that’s interesting, decent and you just wanna see happy.
So let me ask you this:
How many years will you waste by not risking it all?
More importantly do you see risk as opportunity for success and joy? Do you have more regrets in life than you do points of pride?
Will you find the risk presented in every day and discover the way it could mold your life into every dream you ever saw for yourself?
Funny, ‘cuz we’ve all heard the story of Humpty Dumpty; will anyone hear your life story?