You're going to read this, and certain folks in your life will come to mind. Some who need to hear it. Some who can help you be accountable for taking yoru own risk. Some...who you just need to warn that you...are stepping out. Take a risk. Copy the URL in your address bar, and send it to them.
In spurring people to escape employeedom and pursue working at what they care about, and owning it...I began to realize that the 'Grand Avoidance of Risk' is a primary obstacle.
I've been watching Gary Vaynerchuk for three months or so. He is the 'Wine Library' guy, but his real shtick is that you should be fully engaged in what you are passionate about. That's my main shtick as well, and why I've been following Gary. I just add on that you should own the passion you are engaged in. It doesn't work when you try to do it under someone else's (an employer's) reign. You can check out this video on CNN from Gary yesterday, it's excellent.
He's a great inspiration for self-employment. Then you have other guys like Chris Brogan and Seth Godin espousing principals for business in today's marketplace.
Again, incredible content from really smart and successful guys who really practice what they preach. You should follow them.
So...the inspiration and message is there, and the tools for making it happen are numerous.
Then why aren't people discovering their passions, leaving traditional jobs and starting successful business endeavors in droves?
Because our society is hell-bent on avoiding:
And those are in order. Discovering and pursuing your passions, aka Your Calling, will include risk.
But really, step back and notice that our entire existence is focused on cushioning ourselves from every possible discomfort.
- Most of our purchases are to make life 'easier' and more 'convenient.'
- We work for more money so we can be worry free regarding our provision.
- We live, drive and work inside secure walls that keep the weather out, the temperature consistent and our amenities close at hand.
- Even when we do venture outside, every year brings us another safety device to keep us from injury and pain.
- Anyone who speaks their opinion or belief gets chastised (try speaking about your faith amongst your business and you can count the minutes till someone criticizes your spiritual status!)
Then we sit back and watch TV shows and movies and are mesmerized by risk takers. We watch sports and yell and scream for our favorite players to go harder and risk more. We say "Yeah!" to the radio personality who is overtly opinionated and takes a stand.
WHY DO WE SEEK THAT?
Because those folks (or the pretend depictions) get to be heros. Legends. They get the rapture of the "thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat." They get to 'matter.'
Even as we seek and stay insulated and protected from risk, we subconsciously miss this vital calling of our psyche, humanity and spirituality.
Notice the disconnect?
TRIALS & RISKS
Even if you shelter yourself from risk, it will still find you from time to time. Maybe you were merely a victim of an illness, an injury, a bad circumstance, a conflict, a dramatic change, an 'act of God'...
And you realize afterward that you gained much from the trial. You grew stronger and wiser. It may even be something that defines who you are from that point on. And when contemplating the benefits received, you joked about whether you should actually seek trials! We laugh and say...of course not.
But...that's the wrong focus.
We are to take risks. That we ARE called to. That's where we are missing it.
For those of you who give credence to the Bible, notice how the folks who make themselves available to the Lord, end up getting asked to do things out of their comfort zone? Jonah? Moses? The disciples? Following Jesus was never a safe thing to do.
IF YOU WANT TO MATTER, YOU CAN'T STAY SAFE
And I don't mean 'matter' in an egotistical sense. I mean mattering to yourself, your spouse, your kids, your friends, your customers...anyone. Humanity. Really. Look around. Those who are the most safe in this world, matter the least to anyone. Cause truly serving anyone, is a risk:
- Open a door for a lady, and a guy can get labeled "sexist"
- Discipline a child and you are "stifling their creativity"
- Address a wrong and you are "intolerant"
- State your beliefs and you're "narrow minded"
- Point out a fault to a friend who is hurting themselves, and you may lose a friend
- Help a homeless person, you could get mugged
- Give your money away, and you'll get taken advantage of
- Saving a drowning child, and you'll get wet. Or worse, you could drown yourself.
Finding something you can merely do and fulfill, and someone to pay you for it, is considered safe. It's not anymore, as then you are putting all your eggs in one basket that can be taken away without a moment's notice. But it's still what we are expected do do, and respected for doing. It's thought of as 'responsible.'
Discovering what you were created to do and pursuing it is often thought of as irresponsible and folly, maybe even a luxury. Yet foundationally, if you believe you were divinely created, then you must also believe you were created for a specific purpose, THEN...you must agree it's your RESPONSIBILITY to discover and become fully engaged in that purpose. That calling. Your destiny if you will. Anything else would be hiding and selfish.
It's then not a choice, but a requirement.
And it involves risk. And you will endure trial. It will be uncomfortable. You will experience pain. And out of it all, you will grow wiser and stronger and you will matter. You'll matter to us all. But regardless, you just...must.
To jump off my roof, onto a nearby tree, then shimmy down to the ground, just to impress my friends or give myself a thrill would be a big risk. I'd get hurt. No thanks.
If my kid is on the ground with a bear approaching, the risk and pain is moot. I just have to do the right thing, and nobody would fault me for it. It's not about me.
That paradigm shift is profound. I'll dare say...it's everything.
We don't desire trials in and of themselves. And just being risky for risk's sake alone is unwise.
To reveal and pursue one's calling should be an expectation. The risks, trials, pain, growth, triumphs and successes are then just part of the glorious process.
So. Go forth. With faith and fortitude. Just don't do it alone. Let's get bloody together.