Marti’s eyes open wide as she watches my browning marshmallow seriously sag towards the fire. “You’re such a risk taker,” she exclaims! Evan and I laugh. Marti had just told us scary stories of her hot air balloon adventures and my sagging marshmallow just didn’t feel that risky in comparison.
I had never considered myself to be a risk-taker or even wanted to be a risk-taker – until one day a few weeks after Marti’s declaration. I was working on the construction of our fireplace and realized that I was taking a risk. I am inexperienced in construction. I am following the directions in an old book about a style of fire place I have never seen. I designed and built the damper myself having never actually seen a damper. I was taking a risk. Would the fire place work? Then I looked around and realized the entire addition we were building was just as risky.
And this was only the beginning. I began to see many times in my life that I have taken risks: when I’ve selected new music for our church groups, when I bought dairy goats and moved our family diet from cow to goat milk (having never tasted it before), when I started this sculpting group. Choosing to Un-school my Home schooled daughters felt like one of the biggest risks of my life.
As I thought about these risks I noticed something. Across the board the big risks I have taken have been the biggest successes of my life.
Then I noticed something else. My regrets in life were not related to the risks I took, but were related to the risks I didn’t take.
Psychological literature supports my findings. If you want to move forward in life you must take risks.
Sports analysts have discovered that coaches who make the risky calls win more than coaches who play it safe.
Life coaches claim that taking risks is essential to having positive change in our lives.
Studies have found that regrets in life are more related to risks we didn’t take than ones we did.
Risks come in all shapes and sizes. Small ones like my melting marshmallow and big ones like unschooling my girls. I do not put much thought into toasting risks but the unschooling risk came after much research and prayer.
When a risk feels big we want to make it a smart one. If we choose a bigger risk it deserves thought and prayer before we undertake it. But that said, I have needed to get away from the risk = bad idea.
Risks are the road to our most amazing life. No risk leads us into an endless round-about or dead end.
Sculpting project: Risks are the Road: Week 1
This week: Take a risk. Ask yourself what have you wanted to do but haven’t because it feels a bit risky.
If you choose a big risk put plenty of thought and prayer into it. Know that big risks bring big rewards. If you choose a small risk you can move faster into action. Small risks are faster and easier.
Big or small, take a risk.
Ideas for smaller risks: Eat or cook a new food, wear different clothes, talk with someone different than yourself, sing with music team at church one time, do a spiritual practice like fasting or vigils, tell someone about your friend Jesus, offer to pray for someone, draw a picture, do something you have never done before. What ever you pick make it something you have wanted to do.
Taking a risk is scary. This project invites us to bravery.
Engaging in appropriate but scary behavior outside your normal comfort zone is one of the guaranteed ways you can increase your chances of positive change and lower the likelihood that you’ll be doing the same old things that have gotten you the same old results that you don’t want any more. Caroline Adams Miller MAPP life coach