In my early years, I would never have described myself as a “Risk Taker” but in my 40s through now, I realize that I am, and likely always have been, a “Risk Taker.” Now I’m not the kind of risk taker who jumps out of perfectly fine airplanes, or deep dives in the ocean. I’m not even the kinds that gambles big money at the casino (although I have been known to place a $2. bet on the ponies when I can). I’m a different type of risk taker. One who is always evaluating where she is, if she is comfortable, happy, satisfied. Is she living her one gift of life to its fullest potential? If the answer is NO, she strategizes and takes the calculated leap. The risk.
The road I take is not always the easiest and it has not always been one filled with success (as traditionally defined) but it sure has made for an interesting journey. This journey has provided me with lots of life lessons, finely tuned creative problem-solving skills, and insightful perspectives on a variety of topics.
When I take my leaps, much of it is on faith. This faith was not always so clearly defined before but as I look back at my younger self, I see one common thread:the internal knowledge, deep within my soul, that I can do anything I choose to do and have the tools to find my way out of any mess I find myself in.
I remember a moment which planted this seed so securely. I was in my early teens and I loved to sing. Madonna, Def Leppard, Rush, the Beatles, Tony Orlando and Dawn, ABBA, INXS, you name it, I liked to sing it. Mind you, to enjoy singing and to be good at singing are two totally different things. If the music was loud, you’d likely hear my sing-a-longs. However for Christmas one year, Santa brought me a brand-new stereo. It was the kind with 2 cassette players so you could record from one to the other to create mix tapes so I could listen on the go in my Walkman. It had a turntable for all of my lp’s and 45’s, a radio so I could listen to Casey Kasem every Saturday morning, and giant speakers that took up the entire corners of my room. My favorite part was the huge head phones that plugged in and allowed me to feel like the Brady Bunch recording their one hit album. I would turn my stereo up, have my headphones on and sing my heart out, loud and proud…. good thing we lived on 3 acres so I wasn’t bothering the neighbors. They would surely have come over to find out what animal we were torturing.
Of course, at 14, I was oblivious to what I sounded like outside of my headphones. I could hear the music only so my world was good.
Here comes the seed… I was having a regular conversation with my mother about what I might want to be when I grew up, what professions interested me and what aligned with my skills. I remember so clearly, unprompted by me, she said, “Why don’t you become a singer?” When I challenged her idea she promptly replied, “Well, they have technology that can fix your voice to sound like anything they want. You should just try it. You can do anything you put your mind to.”
Wisdom is not a trait I got from my mother, but she was onto something for sure. At this point, I have proven that no matter the situation I find myself, I can find a shovel (even if it looks more like a cup) and I can dig myself out.
The Sunny Side: There is something freeing about taking ownership of your life and changing the things that make you unhappy. Obviously, we can try to make wiser decisions whenever possible, but I don’t actually believe any of my Plan A’s were poor decisions when I made them. They were just steps in the path that took me the scenic route.
As I note on my About page, risk taking does not always mean you have to freefall. Small leaps can be equally life satisfying.
Do you remember a time that you took a risk? What empowered you to take it?