“The biggest risk is not taking any risk…In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” – Mark Zuckerberg
Have you ever had an idea or dream but for some reason or another didn’t pursue it?
You may have told yourself you had too many other obligations or that the timing wasn’t right. Maybe you experienced fear when you thought of making a change. Maybe you’ve known someone who took a big risk in their life, and it paid off but you thought, “They just got lucky,” or “That could never be me.”
Success is not accidental or a game of chance, like winning the lottery. The successful people I know did not get there overnight. They put in years of work not only externally but internally, working through their fears and doubts.
For over 20 years, Christy Crump was an administrative professional. She moved up quickly in her field, was promoted several times across the realm of state government, and she truly loved the secretarial profession. Despite her contentment, she began to experience a “gnawing feeling” in the pit of her stomach – a feeling that she had a calling to do more.
Tuning in when that small, quiet voice speaks to you is key to owning your future.
Take the opportunity to be quiet and still in your space so that you can hear what God is trying to tell you. You’ve got to listen to identify your calling, your commitment, and your connection.
Once Christy began to listen and accept that she was meant to do more, her mind and heart opened to the opportunities all around her. She gave herself permission to reframe her thoughts and examine her surroundings and found a gap in the marketplace: a need for secretarial training. She realized that there were no more “old-timey secretarial schools,” where administrative professionals could go for training and continuing education pertinent to their profession.
Christy began to discuss her feelings with her husband and family verbally. Her husband encouraged Christy to start a business that would provide training and professional development for administrative professionals. After all, who better than someone with 20 years’ experience to deliver the required skills enhancements?
Still, Christy pushed back. She thought that it would be selfish of her to give up her comfortable and secure government job in exchange for the unknown. She worried that she could be putting her family at risk. Her self-doubts crept in: she had a college degree but didn’t consider herself financially savvy. She didn’t have marketing, networking, public speaking or sales experience.
Don’t let insecurity be a barrier to your brilliance.
The future beckons and invites us to a moment where we reach a crossroads. Letting go of what’s comfortable and convenient is required to shift into brilliance. What you don’t know, you can and will learn as you go. Have confidence in yourself and take Facebook CFO Sheryl Sandberg’s advice: “Lean in!”
Despite Christy’s hesitation, opportunity continued to knock. She began a two-year training and development plan designed to develop employees for career advancement. Christy worked cover to cover through my book Release Your Brilliance, and when she finished, she realized that the workbook she had labored over contained nothing about her current occupation. Rather, she had literally written a blueprint of her dreams!
Christy didn’t realize it yet, but she had opened the door to opportunity by writing and speaking her truth. Out of the blue, a former colleague invited her for a lunch meeting and offered her a new job. Christy considered the offer, but that small voice nudged her to trust her colleague with her dream. Together, they made a plan for Christy to work part-time, giving her the opportunity to work steadily toward her goal of opening an administrative development training center.
Just 16 months later, Christy made the leap to working her business full time.
If you have a dream or goal, make it work, even when it looks different than what you originally pictured. Find ways to work on your dreams slowly over time. Sometimes the next step or opportunity will come in the least expected form.
The most important thing is to take action.
Because she listened, Christy the connection and was willing to take a leap of faith. She is now living her dream and doing what she loves most.
Looking back, Christy realizes that she had never before in her life taken an uncalculated risk – even as a child. She vowed that she would no longer let this hold her back. These days, she faces her fears head on and doesn’t overanalyze. Christy’s advice to budding entrepreneurs is to beat up the “fear monster” and leave it behind, rather than letting it control you.
“Every day I sit on the edge of a cliff with my wings spread waiting for someone to give a little push. When they do, I fly.”