“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” ~ T. S. Eliot
When it comes to taking risks, I have always been a master. Not that this has necessarily been a beneficial behavioral trait, it has been my way of doing things for as long as I can remember. Get an idea, take action, assess results. Fortunately, not everyone is wired like me. And, fortunately for me, I surrounded myself with trusted advisors and mentors who guided me and educated me through the clean up and learning process in the aftermath.
While it is not necessarily a noble trait to have no fear of risk, those who are risk adverse are dealing with some interesting limitations of their own. For fear of failure can easily prevent someone from venturing out far enough to realize and discover their own potential. Coming from person who has no limits, I am not really the most qualified to discuss this; however, not taking action in response to an opportunity or an idea because of a fear of the worst outcome is an unfortunate place to live.
Every one of us brings a valuable set of skills, abilities, and experiences to the world and to our community. Whether we realize it or not, these skills are truly unique. Whether we believe it or not, some of the things we do well are things that no one else can do as well or as easily as we can. What we take for granted as something simple and routine can actually be the impossible to another.
It is those who don’t see the power of these unique abilities who are most afraid of the adverse outcomes associated with doing something new or different in relationship to those gifts. In some regards, it is not the fear of failure that keeps us from doing something risky, it is the lack of understanding of the strength of our unique capabilities that holds us back.
That is why this quote is so insightful. We really don’t know how far we can push ourselves until we actually do. Every day we hear and read stories of heroes who, when faced with adversity, survival, illness, or calamity did something that even they would not have predicted possible. They were thrust into a situation where there was no time to think about risk. In that moment of incredible action, they discovered within themselves unique skills, abilities, and strengths they never thought possible.
Next time you find yourself mulling and idea or an action, remember that your idea probably is emanating from your passion to do something unique. Instead of focusing on the risk, focus on your unique set of skills and abilities that will enable you to make it happen. Take action from there and celebrate all that you learn and experience along the way. Life is not about avoiding failure, life is all about giving, sharing, and using our unique skill sets to support and inspire others.