First Steps Are More About Your Stomach Than Your Feet | About Risk Taking (For Writers)
Sticking your neck out is scary. It’s a different kind of scary than maybe getting H1N1 or watching zombie movies or walking down an unlit city street at 1 AM. Taking risks that expose us to potential failure, criticism, embarrassment, or loss is personal.
Truth is: First steps take guts. They represent our willingness to acknowledge trail and error as our friend. But they can scare the pants off us, particularly when we really want things to work out.
What your belly knows that you don’t.
Take blogging as an example. It was big first step for me. I’ve been writing my whole life. As an English major, I scratched out a ton of papers. I taught writing for ten years. As a corporate manager, I penned hundreds of memos, proposals, and strategic plans. As a consultant and coach, I’ve written magazine and newspaper articles, and had my book published.
So why did my stomach start to churn when I decided to become a blogger? Because it was a new format, a new audience, and a new kind of exposure, that frankly, I find scary.
My head’s answer to that was, “Don’t be ridiculous, you know how to write.”
My heart said, “Listen, my dear, it’s important for you to be courageous and offer useful insights to people building careers and small businesses.”
But my stomach said, I’m not feeling too good. What if your big blog idea falls flat and you make a jerk out of yourself in front of a lot of people (most of whom you don’t and will never know) who, before this blog, might have thought better of you.
The stomach can have a lot to say when you least expect it. And it can start to convince the head and the heart that the risk is too great and the potential discomfort not worth it.
5 ways to sass back!
To build a successful life, we need to get out of our own way. Calculated risk-taking is necessary to build the career we want or the business success that we need. Risks are about adventure and promise.
Each time we stick our necks out, we control how far. The more success we have, the bolder and more confident we become. Overcoming the obstacles imposed by our stomachs, in cahoots with our heads and hearts, are the challenges we face.
When you feel reluctant to take those first steps, ask yourself these questions:
What’s the worst that could happen? Unless the answer is death or financial ruin, then there’s no reason not to step out.
Have I done my homework? You don’t have to know everything about what’s ahead, but enough to have a realistic understanding of what you’ll need to do. If you have enough knowledge, skills, and experience to draw on, you’re good to go.
Am I ready? Take an inventory of your motivation, commitment, and energy level. Once you’ve got plenty in the tank, put things in gear and go.
Who’s there for me? Nothing beats a good support system, folks who are in your camp, ready with ideas, help, feedback, and healthy perspective. It doesnt have to be a crowd, one good ally will do.
What would I do if I weren’t freaked about this? When we aren’t scared, we’re just out there doing the things we love and want to do. So if you want and love to do this thing you have before you (like blogging was for me), then just do it. (Thank you, Nike.)
I hope you enjoyed this blog post and will read the many others I have written at http://dawnlennon.wordpress.com . Each one has given me more confidence through the many wonderful comments that others have posted. I invite you to share your voice. Thanks.
Do you have a first-steps experience to share? What are your tips for overcoming fears about risk-taking?
Dawn Lennon, Career Strategist & Mentor; Author: Business Fitness: The Power to Succeed–Your Way
Owner and Principal, Big Picture Consulting (http://ConsultBigPicture.com)
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Blog: Business Fitness | Smart Moves for Career & Business Success: http://dawnlennon.wordpress.com