what if we stopped playing it safe?

12/01/2018

by renita kalhorn

How do I know if it will work out? In working with 1,000+ clients over the past 10 years, I’ve heard countless variations on this question.

How do I know …

… if I should start my own company.
… if I should take the new role.
… if I should reach out to that person I admire.
… if the guy/girl will stick around.
… if people will read what I write.

As a coach, my job isn’t to answer your questions, it’s to help you upgrade their quality. And any question that starts with some version of “How do I know if…” is not a high quality question.

Because that’s your primitive brain talking, and its job is not to look for opportunities for you to have an exciting, fulfilling life. It wants you to be SAFE, and it’s looking for guarantees: “Show me evidence this is going to work out and then I’ll do it.”

When we let our primitive brain run our lives, we get so fixated on SURVIVAL that we don’t give ourselves a chance to truly LIVE.

And most of the opportunities that make life interesting come out of the unknown and unexpected:

The musician who founded a tech startup when his iPhone died and he lost hundreds of valuable contacts (the Amos Winbush story).
The Japanese salaryman who invited the daughter of his American colleague to live with his family (my story).
The tongue-in-cheek article meant to be an inside joke for other chefs that gets published in The New Yorker (the Anthony Bourdain story).

The world is only going to get more uncertain and unpredictable. Instead of trying to control what happens, you would be better off deciding what you want to experience — and then developing capabilities that would support your evolution towards it.

So, instead of trying to figure out what to do to avoid disappointment and mistakes, what if you learned to bounce back quicker.

Instead of being afraid to make the wrong decision and getting caught up in analysis paralysis, what if you learned to make the best decision you can with the information you have —  and then commit to making it the right one.

Instead of trying to control external circumstances, what if you became more mentally agile and resourceful.

Because these skills — resilience, conviction, adaptability — are the ultimate survival kit. With them, you’ll create a sense of safety and confidence no matter what happens. And that will fuel your ability to spot and take advantage of the next opportunity.

With this, as we are coming to an end of 2018, we hope to have inspired you to make 2019 count, to get closer to living the life you want to be living.

Check out some of our previous posts on how to develop resilience and make better decisions:

Resilience as the new happiness

Bouncing back after Sandy – a matter of resilience

The body scan may build your resilience for change

Slow down and speed up your resilience to stress

Are you agile enough to lead the cahnge you want to see?

How to make good decisions

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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