Is it Time to take more risk in your life?

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What would you do if you weren't scared to go outside your comfort zone? 

I got to a point in my life, right in my mid-twenties, where I became totally risk averse. From my financial decisions, to my agreeable personality (aka a people pleasing expert), my goal in life was to keep all things stable and copasetic. 

But I remember the day where this all started to change so clearly...

I was 26, single, living in a super cute Chicago studio apartment, working at a lucrative finance job. It was mid-August, about a week before my scheduled summer PTO and for the first time ever, I hadn't made any plans. I just couldn't make up my mind - I couldn't ask my girlfriends to go last minute, I didn't have a partner to travel with, and I was scared to go anywhere on my own.

But traveling alone was pretty much my only option at this point, so I started to explore why I was so scared of this. Turns out, I had some pretty false, whacked out stories in my mind: "Solo travelers are desperate, lonely, weird, sad, too single," I would tell myself.

Looking back, traveling alone symbolized opening up to risk of the unknown, fear of judgment, and fear of being alone. I had a somewhat irrational fear that I'd thoroughly enjoy the time, and if I liked being alone, I would end up alone forever (aka not what I wanted for my life).

But I was determined to go somewhere, and a voice inside me was telling me to go do something different, to step outside my box of "normal." And I couldn't ignore it; I knew I needed a break and to shake things up in my life! Things were getting too routine.

I had to go it alone.

So I got vulnerable, I posted on Facebook: "If you had 10 days of PTO and wanted to do something totally new and different, what would you do?" I got an overwhelming amount of responses, and one stuck out like no other, "I'd go 'WWOOFing'." I had no idea what that was, drugs? No. It's a website that aligned organic farms and vineyards with volunteers. I was sold! I loved wine, I wanted to learn more about it, and I so badly wanted be outside in a beautiful part of the country and meet some new people who would be totally different than me.

That's exactly what I did. I found a vineyard in Cloverdale, CA, booked a last minute ticket to SFO and off I was! The voices of judgement were still with me before I left. My parents and siblings thought I was crazy, but I couldn't let them stop me. 

And that trip was INSANELY amazing, from new friendships and love, to fun and adventure, breathing the fresh NOCAL air, I did it all and I felt SO empowered and free! I felt the feelings I needed to feel and I took them with me back to Chicago, as a new version of myself that was ready to take on more risk, and try new things.

Step by step, I ended up where I am today, writing to you. And what's cool about taking the risk is that the fear of judgement vanishes once you realize you're exactly where you're supposed to be.

For me, my first risk was doing something that really scared me, traveling solo. It felt big to me, but it felt as right as it could - it was staring me in the face. And from that experience, I gained the confidence and resilience to know I could do more. What are the signs that it’s time to step outside your comfort zone:

  • You feel like you’ve accomplished everything that you’re supposed to, but still feel like something is missing

  • You listen to opinions of people around you more than your own inner voice

  • You find yourself saying, “One day I’ll do X,” and you’ve been saying it for years already (“X" being, starting that company, passion project, getting out there to date again, etc…)

  • You are bored with your daily routine

  • You don’t feel challenged by what you’re doing each day, or you’re being challenged in ways that don’t feel authentic to you

If you’ve identified that it’s time to take more risk in your life, try something small first. There’s no reason to turn your life upside down, or commit to a risk that feels too large and overwhelming. For instance, if you’re not happy in your job, go volunteer doing something you love, or sign up for a class that interests you. You don’t have to do it all overnight, and you also don’t have to do it alone. I’m here for you.

Ready to take more risk, let’s talk. 

Photo by Jen Traines and Anthony Artese.

Liz TrainesComment