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What would you do if you knew you would succeed?
They say that everything you have ever wanted is one step outside your comfort zone. I believe that life is a balance between comfort and discomfort, between the stability of “what already is” and the uncertainty of “what could be.”
As human beings, we crave the feeling of certainty. But certainty is a false sense of security that we find in our day-to-day existence. It is well-known that the only constant in life is change.
So why would we risk anything if there was no guarantee of success? I believe that the greatest reward is found in taking the risk, not in the outcome. When we take that leap into the unknown, we get to strengthen our courage, our resilience and our grit or staying power. And it is only when we take risks that we get to meet our potential face to face and face our dreams head-on. It is in this space we begin to cultivate a life of “must do” versus “should do.”
What would you do today if you knew you would succeed?
What would you start if you knew you would have the grit to finish?
Risk can be its own reward
In today’s culture of faster, bigger, stronger, we often see the greatest risk being a failed outcome. The idea of failure weighs us down and, in the worst case, paralyzes us into procrastination and stagnancy.
The reality is we never know for certain that the reward will be worth the risk if we attach our definition of success solely to the outcome.
But what if the risk was no longer connected to the finish line but to the starting line? What if the risk of staying where you are is greater than moving ahead into the unknown, and what if the reward was found in knowing you took a chance and you bet on yourself?
The one risk I believe is always worth taking is to step out of our comfort zone and journey inward to the unexplored potential and excellence that resides in all of us. I am not someone who believes in throwing financial stability or the harmony of family life to the curb so that you can crush your fears, dream big and live an epic life. But I do believe in pushing our inner journey to the max. After all, isn’t that what life is about? To discover who we are and to move closer to who we could be? It is from that discovery we can leverage our potential to leave the world a better place than when we found it.
Complete the sentence – again and again
Nathaniel Branden, who wrote several books including “The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem” (Bantam, 1995), created a revealing exercise called sentence completion. In a moment, I am going to invite you to complete a sentence stem, but first here are his guidelines for this mini-exploration.
1. Read the sentence stem, and then as rapidly as possible, without pausing for reflection, write as many endings for that sentence as you can in two or three minutes—never less than six, and 10 is enough.
2. Do not worry if your endings are literally true or make sense or are “profound.” Write anything, but write something.
3. Do this exercise every morning, Monday through Friday, before the start of the day’s business. Do not read what you wrote the day before. Naturally, there will be many repetitions. But also, new endings are inevitable.
4. Sometime during the weekend, reread what you have written for the week, reflect on it, and then write a minimum of six endings for the follow-up sentence stem.
5. The art of doing sentence completion well is to maintain a high level of mental focus combined with a complete lack of internal censorship.
Now I invite you to find a pen and paper. Think of something you have wanted to try but have continually pushed to the back burner because of a fear of failure.
Weekday Sentence Completion Exercise
If I knew the reward would be worth the risk, I would …
Weekend Sentence Completion Exercise
If any of what I wrote this week is true, it might be helpful if I …
To me, the greatest risk is arriving at the end of our life and having regrets. There will always be data in the disappointments and research in the rejections, but there is no information in not trying.
This month, I invite you to take that one step outside your comfort zone. Remember, should you FAIL, it was simply your First Attempt in Learning.
Photo credit: Death to Stock