During my 11th grade English class, I remember spending over a month learning about different personality and psychology tests. We were even assigned to present on a psychologist and his or her associated testing!
Every presentation went the same – talk about the psychologist, his or her big accomplishments, and take the personality or psychology test her or she created.
I looked forward to the test in every presentation.
Maybe it’s because I was a competitive nerd who loved showing what I had learned on a test?
Maybe it’s because I was a teenage girl trying to figure out who she was and what she wanted in life and this test gave me a little insider information?
Through my Psychology minor these tests came up again in college, so I retook them.
Then, I went through a “What am I doing with my life!?” stage and took most of them a third time (maybe a desperate 4th too…).
Three very different stages of my life, and I matured and grew a lot between each one so the answers were VERY different.
I went from an introvert in high school, to an in-betweener in college, to an extrovert now.
But there were a couple of characteristics that always remained the same:
- I am a planner who likes structure
- I am NOT spontaneous or a risk taker.
My structured and organized lifestyle has taken me very far in life, but there are times where I’m envious of those who just jump at an opportunity, who are comfortable with impulsivity, and able to just make a big life change without question.
I prefer the safe side because every time I am presented a risk or decision, I create a story of the worst possible scenario in my head.
Literally, the WORST.
Then there came a point where I felt like it was holding me back because I was never trying anything new or adding new challenges to my life.
I challenged myself to take more risks and to do more things that intimidated me.
There was no way I was going to start with something like skydiving or moving to a new country, so I started with small things.
I was interested in powerlifting, so before any worst-case scenario stories were created, I set up a meeting with a coach.
I wanted to stop feeling like I was eating out of control, so I set up a call to talk with a coach about how to help that (difficulty in asking for help, also a characteristic that has stayed present in all these tests).
I wanted to grow as a coach and change more lives, so I signed up for a seminar in Seattle, left a comfortable job, and joined a network of incredible coaches.
That’s where the real risk-taking began….
My coach and this group of coaches challenges each other to breakdown that worst-case scenario story because it is just that – A STORY.
Naturally, I like the safe, happy-ending story, but now I ask myself if there’s a chance there is a HAPPIER ending to my story.
Now, I ask myself “Why not?”
Sure, I still create the worst-case scenario story in my head and that probably won’t change for a LONG time, but now I’m able to recognize it as a story.
Now I have taken some risks and made some BIG changes to my life, and while I can’t say for sure it is without a doubt better than if I had continued to live on the safe side because I didn’t choose that path, but I can say it is NOT anywhere close to the worst case scenario story.
You don’t need to quit your job or compete in a sport with hundreds of pounds on your back, but you do need to take risks so you’re challenged and out of your comfort zone.
Here are the 3 reasons I challenge you to start taking a chance on yourself:
Answer ‘What If’
It has to be one of the toughest questions to answer.
The answers are endless.
It’s also the question without a right answer.
It’s ‘What if?’
What if you signed up at this new gym?
What if you started to work with a coach?
What if you quit your job?
What if you tried stand up comedy or read a new book?
‘What if?’ has become a spark for fear because it uses the words to follow to start the story writing within our head.
But when you commit to taking a chance on yourself and challenge yourself to taking a few more risks here and there, you empower yourself to write the answer to ‘What if?’
We all have the power to answer the question, but too often we only allow our imagination to answer.
From my own experience, the question never goes away, but instead of inducing fear like it once did, ‘What if’ now sparks creativity and problem solving. It encourages me to write my own answer, and to know exactly what will happen if I take the next step.
I like structure, plans, and guarantees and in a unique way, choosing to take risks has provided more of that for me. There is no unanswered question or uncertainty because
I write the answer myself.
Find Your Purpose
In high school, I was set on becoming a doctor.
In college, I was set on becoming a physical therapist.
At my college graduation, I was “all grown up” with no idea who or what I was going to become.
I went to grad school and coached softball because I assumed I would find my calling there.
During that time I applied to work at a gym as a group fitness instructor.
That was quite a risk for me.
The only group fitness I knew was Zumba or Step, and I SWORE I would never be a personal trainer.
But I chose to take a risk.
The director spoke so passionately about the mission of this group fitness gym and his purpose as a coach and it sold me.
To inspire and change lives through health.
I wanted to do that.
I wanted to be a part of that!
I took a chance on myself, challenged myself to get out of my comfort zone, and in the
process discovered my purpose.
I found what I am most passionate about – helping others create a healthy lifestyle fit for each individual, and that was worth all the risk and initial resistance.
Life of Greatness
If you answer ‘What if’ and find your purpose by taking a few extra risks or facing a few more challenges in life, then you are setting yourself up for a life of greatness.
That greatness doesn’t mean a life free of trials, nor does it guarantee a life of prosperity.
But you are in complete control of your life as you live out your purpose and write your own story.
Every so often, I listen to a podcast by a guy named Lewis Howes.
He has lived quite the life – family hardship, near professional athlete with a career ending injury, and now a best-selling author and professional speaker.
When I first read about him, he talked about the lifelong battle he has faced mentally and emotionally.
He hated that his mind created stories and ‘played tricks’ on him.
He began to really believe he wasn’t worth anything more.
One day he realized he needed to start writing his own story and traveling down a path he chose.
He went from a man who believed he had no future to a guy living out his purpose and creating a life of purpose for himself and thousands of others.
You don’t need to be a New York Best-Selling author to be regarded as having a life of greatness, but you need to write the answer yourself to all the ‘What if’ questions and find a purpose for yourself that resonates deep within you.
Take a chance on yourself, and take a chance at a life of greatness.