Are you scared of taking risks?
Me too. Everyone is, if we're honest. Risks can potentially bring danger, or at the least, discomfort. Failure.
So how do we learn to take risks, without that fear?
Do something that matters.
I think we are all built with a longing for purpose. Which leads us to ask ourselves, what is my purpose? Why am I on this planet?
That question takes people a lot of different directions. Some decide they can’t pursue that question right now, for a multitude of reasons. But for the others who decide to do something about it, maybe they decide they need to learn more about themselves, and seek out personality tests, classes, online courses, and more to see what interests them, and learn what they’re good at. Maybe others ask friends and family what they should be doing with their lives. Some jump into organizations, non-profits, or even change jobs, looking for their purpose. And others work toward dreams of starting or owning their own business, or accomplishing a particular goal. But what is really the first step?
Doing something that matters.
It doesn’t matter if that something is your perfect fit. It doesn’t matter if you were born to do that thing, or another thing. What matters is doing something that makes a difference. Let me tell you why.
Here’s my story. It took me a long time to start something. I knew I wanted to do something for others, rather than work a stressful 9-5 job that brings in a decent paycheck until I retire at 65 and live out my days on a beach somewhere. That sounded boring and self-serving. So I did a lot of soul searching, which
is a glamorous way of saying I tried to learn my likes and dislikes, learn what I liked to do and how I liked to work, what motivates me and so forth. I took a few solo trips to learn about myself. I took some big risks at work, asking for a job change and a sabbatical in between. I also learned a lot about how to get
in my “peak state” – cue Tony Robbins. But I wouldn’t have necessarily had to do all those things if I had just learned this one thing – do something that matters. At some point I decided, I’m going to use my free time (nights and weekends) to start a company that gives back to orphans. I thought to myself, orphans have been on my heart for a long time, and I’d love to help them myself, but I know there are others out there already loving on and caring for orphans and have way more experience than I do, so why don’t I support their work somehow? I have business skills and enjoy business, and the always need funding, so why not start a business that supports orphan-care with its profits?
And that’s how my work got its start.
The cool thing is, when you do something that helps people, there’s a lot less at stake. Even if you try something and fail, you still tried to help people. You still gave your time, heart, energy, and other resources to do something good for others. No one can ever look down on you for that, criticize your work, or tell you you can’t do it. I think we’d all agree, none of us will ridicule someone for helping others.
Not only that, you’ll find that many people will come alongside you,
applaud you, and encourage you in your venture when you’re focusing on making this world a better place.
Determine how you define success.
You might feel nervous starting your own business in the case that it fails (tres embarrassing, people might know I failed at something!), but when you start something with the intention of helping others, there's no failure. We just keep trying! Because there's always another person who could use some help (including your neighbor, or even me!).
Consider defining success by who you impact, not how much money you make.
It doesn't matter if you try to start a business to help orphans and only make $5, or you start a business or create a system to bring food or clean water to those that need it and it takes years to show any fruit - there is no failure when it comes to helping. Your effort alone will inspire others, and people will encourage and help you along the way.
There’s freedom in helping others. So go out there, take risks, and do something that matters. You won’t regret it.