After we've been burned or fail at something, we've all heard the little voice that says, “Think twice about this before you do it again.” No one can fault us for being cautious. After all, only the strongest survive, and we have to hedge our bets, right? But, how can we determine what’s worth the extra reach outside our comfort zone and what’s not?
First, let’s look at the word “risk.” It can stir up a lot of different feelings in us, depending on the context.
If we’re talking about money, we may feel excited or curious about a potential gamble that comes with a large payoff. If we’re talking about romance, we may feel queasy and want to hide under the covers and avoid that possibly epically bad date.
And if we’re talking about the board game, we might feel like there’ll be no end in sight and rethink inviting that one friend that always wants to play it to our next hangout.
But what about when we’re discussing our own personal growth?
What's risky about trying something new that could allow us to learn something about ourselves or better express our true passions? I’m not necessarily saying throwing all of your stability out the window to chase a dream on a whim, but what about spending money to invest in your craft and learn more about your options? Or going to an event to meet people who could open your eyes to new experiences?
What about getting up in front of people you don’t know and expressing what your passion is, whether by showing or telling them? What about deciding to say, “No” to someone so you can say, “Yes” to yourself?
These are all risks. It is all a balancing act.
But we can redefine what “risk” means to us. What if we saw risk as an exciting opportunity rather than a scary unknown? My business coach, Jordana Jaffe, once pointed out something interesting to me. When we think about the future, horrible bad endings have just as much of a chance happening as wonderful, amazing endings. Yet, our automatic assumption is that bad things will happen.
Why not focus on how much more amazing life could be if we took a little risk here and there? What have you not acted on yet?
What’s holding you back?
When we frame “risk” in such a negative light, it can keep us from taking the chances that can mean the difference between a hobby in music and a lifelong career.
Nothing great comes easy. Building your own business, making your own money, is full of risk. But listening to that passion inside can sometimes be all we need to drown out those voices that scream, “Yeah, but what if the worst happens?”
Whenever you start to feel held back by all of the well-meaning-but-stifling cautious reasoning, reframe it.
Respond to those voices with, “Yeah, but what if the best happens?”
I invite you to do a little exercise I like to call “Doubt Dump.” Take out a piece of paper (or turn to any "week-in-review" section of your The Rock/Star Life Planner) and draw a line down the middle of the page.
On one side dump out all of your worries and doubts — anything that feels risky to you about a situation. Next to it, write down the alternative outcome.
So, “I play to an empty room because no one has shown up to my show,” can become, “New people I don’t know walk in and fall in love with my music and I walk away with new superfans by the end of the show.”
When we frame things in a more positive light we build our confidence to show up for what we’re asking from the world around us. So many opportunities are lost simply because no one shows up to answer the call.
The only way to ensure you won’t get what you want is to not try at all.
Book that tour. Invest in that new course. Get up and perform that new song on Facebook Live.
What’s a risk you’re willing to take this week to get you closer to your goals? What’s something that scares you but you’ve resigned to do it anyway? Tell us in the comments below!
Suzanne Paulinski is a mindset coach and founder of The Rock/Star Advocate. She helps music industry professionals gain confidence and clarity in their goals with a healthy work/life balance. Her book,The Rock/Star Life Planner is now available on Amazon.