Very often “brilliance” is really just a risk that turned out well. If a situation ends badly does that mean pursuing that avenue was foolish? After coaching people for more than a decade, this is my two cents on the subject. The difference between a calculated risk and foolishness is that a risk is something that you feel you must do in order to be true to yourself. It is not always easy to determine, but this is a very different inquiry from evaluating what is objectively the best, smartest, or most sensible choice. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that robbing a bank is not something that anyone does to be true to themselves. With most life choices, however, it is a subjective, personal determination. I decided to move to Istanbul. For some people it might be foolishness. For me it was a calculated risk. Should you start a new business? Want to quit your job and pursue a writing career? Considering blowing the whistle on illegal or immoral activity in your office? Should you marry your partner (or divorce your spouse)? I talk to people all the time who are fighting with themselves over whether or not to take a risk. How do you know when you are being true to yourself versus when social pressure, fear or bad habits are running the show? You can tell the difference by listening to your body. When you think about taking that leap, do you feel energized? Do you have a sinking sensation? Sometimes we fool our brains into wanting the socially sanctioned, or “sensible” thing, but our bodies always know what is right for us. This is why major life decisions should be made at a gut level. We can rationalize the decision afterward—and check in with ourselves to make sure we are not doing something disastrously stupid. However, if your main reason for starting a business, moving to a new location, or getting married is essentially because you deeply, truly, consistently WANT it, and NEED to do this thing to feel fully alive, then it is probably in keeping with your most authentic self.
Sometimes people think that, as a coach, I tell people what to do. That is not the case. I help individuals determine what is right for themselves. Of course, this article barely scratches the surface of a complicated and subtle subject. How do you evaluate and address those objections floating around in your head (and out the mouths of your friends and family)? What degree of change is best for you? Should you quit your job and open a pottery studio or just take an art class? Once you have made your decision, how do you get your friends, family or colleagues on board? Sorting through this alone can be daunting. If you are at a crossroads and have been unable to determine which way to go, send me an email. I will help you figure out what is right for you!