Risk taking is society’s new favorite catch phrase. I can’t even begin to count how many times I hear or see the words “take a risk” peppered in articles, campaigns and general conversation. While the act of taking a risk still remains a great catalyst for change in our lives, most of the stories we hear around risk-taking end with a “happily ever after” outcome. We hear hundreds of stories where people have taken the risk to relocate and it ends up being the best decision they’ve ever made. Or we’re told tales of individuals taking a risk in a completely new industry or field where they end up finding their ultimate passion. While these stories continue to be both inspiring and motivating, I personally want more transparency around the unsexy side of risk taking.
I want to hear about the failures, the moments of self-doubt and the lessons gleaned from these unsettling scenarios.
Why do I want to hear these “sad stories” you ask? Because these stories are where the real magic of life happens. The hard moments, where life doesn’t go as planned are the times where you learn what you’re really made of and what it means to truly be resilient. Some of the best advice I’ve ever received has been on the rare occasion where a mentor has stripped the mask of only conveying their “highlight reel” of career moments and sheds light on a scenario where things have been tough, a risk was taken and it didn’t work out. It’s in those stories that I not only find myself releasing a sigh of relief that I’m not alone in my risk-taking failures, but where I also find myself immensely impressed with the human ability to pick ourselves back up when we’ve fallen on our faces.
If you’ve taken a risk and it didn’t turn out how you expected, know that you are not alone and that you are still on the right path. When risk taking goes wrong it’s just another lesson on your journey that you needed add to your development tool belt.
The women whom I admire for their strength and grace did not get that way because shit worked out. They got that way because shit went wrong and they handled it. They handled it in a thousand different ways on a thousand different days, but they handled it. Those women are my superheroes. – Elizabeth Gilbert
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So true! I quit my MBA after completing two classes. It was expensive and embarrassing and took a marriage, a pregnancy and a job loss to try something like that again. I completed my masters in creative writing and am now a professional copywriter. But man those three years in between weren’t pretty.
That Liz Gilbert quote is one of my favorites. I like this – I learn a great deal from real talk from women or men who are not afraid to share that everything was not easy or perfect. I agree, that is where the true learning begins.