“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
That’s one of my favorite quotes, spoken by the legendary boxer and activist Muhammad Ali. Ali certainly knew something about the courage to take risks despite the chance to lose it all, as he did time and time again in and out of the ring.
It got me to wondering, when was the last time I took a risk? I mean really took a big chance?
When we talk about risk-taking, we’re not talking about frivolous or reckless ones that embrace chaos or chance. Quite the opposite, calculated decisions that take you out of your comfort zone are commendable – and often result in exponential self-improvement.
I’ve always believed that no matter how well we do in life, that we can always improve. In fact, that quest to be healthier, happier, more successful, and better than you were yesterday becomes a habit that only leads to excellence.
It all starts with that initial first step outside of your comfort zone – and taking a chance on yourself.
Look, by no means am I perfect. But, I’m always trying to understand my shortcomings and self-limiting behaviors – and address them. By taking an honest look in the mirror, I can focus on doing better day by day for my family, my friends, my community, and yes, for my clients.
But I haven’t always taken those life-affirming risks. Early on in my career, I was more complacent. I sought greener pastures. I probably talked more than I listened. And, if I’m being perfectly honest, I probably didn’t risk good in search of great.
It took years, but I’ve forced myself (literally!) to make that change. Now, I embrace risks. The thought of a parachute or a Plan B doesn’t even cross my mind.
If you’re undertaking a similar process, I’m sure you’ll find that the hardest part is just taking that first step. Inertia has a powerful gravity. We’re often frozen by inaction, caught in the same loop, and unable to make any meaningful changes. We cling to the familiar, even if it causes us pain and strife, just because it’s more comfortable to risk nothing.
So, I encourage you, like Muhammad Ali, to seek out the risks with the biggest and boldest payoffs in your life. If you’re bored, unfulfilled, and seeking a more actualized existence, do something about it!
I’m not going to lie to you; it’s a painstaking process to create some positive momentum in our lives. After all, it’s always easier to stay exactly where we are!
Start by changing or risking one thing…just one thing that is different and out of your comfort zone today. No matter how big or small, it’s training your mind to be comfortable outside your comfort zone that’s important. Try that for 90 days and see what the result is.
You may not end up as the heavyweight champion of the world like Ali, but you may be surprised to find that you’re the new, undisputed champion of your own destiny.