Maybe you’re like me, and you don’t take risks all that often. Maybe when you do, you spend a lot of time processing, thinking, and counting the cost. Maybe you’ve been afraid to risk everything and jump out, and that’s kept you stuck.
In my own journey, there are questions I try to answer and process through as I think through the new adventures I want to step into into. It requires me to grow, ask deeper questions, assess what life really is all about, and then choose whether I’m going to take the plunge or not. Here’s how I do that…
1. Guard The Underlying Motives In Your Decision
Sometimes we’re not honest enough with ourselves. We don’t take the time to look at the real motives of our heart. We might want something that isn’t right, or want people to see us a certain way that is rooted in pride or attention-grabbing. We might want to do something because it is a reaction to where we are, or we think that we have to run away from our current context because of certain factors. All of these kinds of negative motivations, don’t ever lead to positive momentum in your new adventure. When you do this, you take unwanted baggage with you into your next season. A new or interesting context, won’t change an old or reactive way of thinking.
If your motives have more to do with good intentions and growing your circle of influence for the right reasons, then you just might be onto something. There’s no reason to burn bridges in your current context as you venture into your next. You are who you are, good, bad or indifferent, because of your context. Be thankful for all that you’ve learned and observed, and take those lessons with you. Don’t make the mistake of rejecting where you’re from; instead choose to learn from it.
2. Learn From The Voices Of Your Current Context
In a culture where you and what’s yours drive almost every decision, it’s easy to ignore family, friendships and relationships that are woven into the fabric of your context. Sometimes you can ignore their feelings, thoughts and perspectives to your own detriment. It’s easy to think that the people closest to you don’t understand you or what you’re about, when in reality they have most access and have observed you well. They probably know you better than you know yourself.
Be careful to listen to their advice and learn from their criticism. The people in your life might not always understand your decision, but more often than not they do love you and believe in you. It’s possible to listen to their feedback and not be offended by a difference of opinion or thought. If they reject you based on you thinking outside the box, that’s on them. But if you reject them based on them challenging your assumptions, that’s on you.
3. Minimize Risk & Work Through Fear
There’s a difference between scary and risky. Making your way up a mountain with a climbing team while harnessed in, isn’t risky but it is scary. The harness you’re tied to can hold things much heavier than you, so while it might be scary, it’s definitely not risky. Walking across a frozen lake might not be scary, but it’s definitely risky. You have no idea how thick the ice is and if it can hold you.
The difference between risk and fear is wisdom. There are steps you can take to minimize risk. You can step into what’s scary, and know that you’ve looked at all the options and minimized risk. Sometimes life deceives you into making risky decisions that don’t seem scary. We need to embrace the fear of a new decision, while thinking through and minimizing the risk involved with that decision. Risk demands that you grow in wisdom, while fear requires you to grow your faith.
4. Be Sold Out To The New Adventure Before You
Too often people sell out to what’s conventional or convenient, and fail to step into what might be life-giving and significant. It’s okay to think outside the box, but it’s another thing to actually take steps and do what you know you’re supposed to do. Doing something different won’t lend itself to encouraging pats on the back or people lauding your praises.
When you’re sold out, you have counted the cost and are ready to embrace the new adventure before you. You won’t let criticism derail you, you won’t let fear arrest you, and you won’t let laziness distract you. When you’re sold out, you’re caught up with learning and growing and adjusting as you step into what’s new.
5. Give Yourself Permission To Fail & Succeed
Sometimes we don’t step out into new adventures because we think we’ll fail. The truth is, every new season will require you to adjust. There will be a thousand opportunities to fail, and more often than not, failure will propel you forward faster than success will. Because we live in a competitive culture, we are shaped by shame more than we let on. We just need to know that not every decision will be a fruitful one, and we need to give ourselves the permission to fail.
Sometimes were too afraid to step into new adventures because we fear success. We think about what would happen if our dreams actually become a reality. What people might say about us, and how different we might look, stop us sometimes. New adventures will change you and your social circles. Sometimes the people in your life might not want you to succeed. The question then becomes, will you give yourself permission to succeed? You can’t blame your context for why you never took a step forward. It begins with you believing that you can succeed at what you’re about to attempt.
New adventures require new perspectives. Stepping into a new decision and embracing the stretching of it all, will only change you for the better.
Two roads diverged in a wood and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.Robert Frost