He sat across from me and he looked miserable. He hated his job and he was going through the motions automatically, with no heart.
He felt that the large corporation where he worked was not interested in change or growth. Everything was about checking off the box, just following a process without meaning.
When he first arrived there, over 12 years ago, he was ambitious and enthusiastic. He thought he could change and inspire his organization.
But now the company had taken away part of his inner drive.
“Why don’t you leave?” I asked.
“For many reasons,” he replied. “It’s about safety and security. I have a nice salary, great bonuses, fantastic stock options. I have a family a wife and children I must support.”
“So how does it feel to come to work every morning?”
“And how does it feel when you go home?”
“I just go into my study and check out.”
“So your home life is suffering and you are miserable at work. Why not make a change?”
“I’m scared.” He said almost in a whisper.
When struggle is present, life is asking us to open the door to risk and face our fears and answer it with courage.
When we don’t allow risk in we allow fear to reside within us. But if we live with the knowledge that risk can be our constant companion, then when it comes knocking we can welcome it as a friend in spite of our fears.
When we close the door to risk we spend our life narrowing our perspective and we are diminishing our possibilities.
When we don’t allow ourselves to risk, we settle.
We settle for mediocrity: we allow ourselves to believe that sameness will give us what we want, when what we are really doing is closing ourselves off to possibility and significance. Mediocrity keeps us simple and small.
We settle for fear: To risk is to take ourselves into unfamiliar territory, and it is frightening for many. We need to look fear in the eye and face it with courage. People who live life in fear of taking risks settle without living.
We settle for safety: Being safe and feeling comfortable doesn’t mean you won’t be sorry, but it does mean that you’ve decided that you don’t want to grow and learn anymore.
We settle for discomfort: Many of us are struggling and are feeling the discomfort of our lives. We tell ourselves we can live with the pain and the struggle, but can we really? Or are we so afraid to take the steps out of our comfort zone that we make ourselves numb to our reality, pretending we are OK?
We settle for mistrust: When it comes to trust, trust starts with self. When we settle for mistrust, we are mistrusting ourselves. By settling we are disempowering ourselves, disappointing ourselves, and creating our own discouragement. If we think we wont suffer if we stay, our lack of self-trust leads to injustice against ourselves.
Life is about attempting to find simple answers to hard questions, and the only way to find our meaning is to risk and to completely stay open.
Being open means we might fail.
Being open means we might get hurt.
Being open means we might make mistakes.
But the simple act of opening the door puts us on the other side of courage.
The investment you make in yourself is huge and priceless.
When risk comes, will you open the door wide and make it your ally, or will you stand there in fear not answering?
Lead From Within: Avoidable risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing. To help with risk management, Make a plan and follow through with passion, persistence, and perseverance. Each of us must learn to open the door to risk until there is nothing between ourselves and our purpose.