Going Out on a Limb is Exhilarating

“Anything is possible if you have enough nerve” JK Rowling

 Last week

  • A colleague told me he wanted to write a book
  • A friend expressed an interest in visiting a far-away country
  • An executive decided to explore a new business strategy

In each case I encouraged the folks to “go for it.” I knew that the path ahead would be rewarding as well as challenging.

What type of person goes out on a limb with major life decisions and subsequently enjoys the fruit of that adventure?

Certainly not people who habitually play it safe and are preoccupied with questions like “What if?” As a result they live in a constant state of fear of venturing outside their comfort zone.

The flip side of being overly cautious in one’s decisions is found in an advertisement for the Mt Sinai Medical Center. Their philosophy states,

“But rather than going step by step, the goal is to make bold, conceptual leaps. Impatience is a virtue. Failure is an integral part of success, and no journey is as exhilarating as going out on a limb.”

So who are these risk-takers? They are

  1. Not afraid of experimenting.

Risk takers are the dabblers in life.

These innovators are the designers who will try out different styles knowing that some will not work, actors who experiment with scenes that “bomb”, or scientists who repeatedly try experiments that fail. Their philosophy is “Better to try and fail that not to try at all”. As a result they keep going with the knowledge that their efforts will eventually be successful.

When one looks at the disposition of the innovator one finds a person with a

  1. Fierce resolve in the face of obstacles

A study of the biographies of great leaders reveals that many doggedly zigzag their way to success. The one thing that keeps them going is an underlying confidence in the face of naysayers and uncertainties. They believe that they have the ability to come out on top.

Such confidence is based on the memory of past accomplishments, inspired by the vision of realizing an idea, and is combined with the ability to suspend self-doubt. Such fierce resolve does not have to manifest in cockiness (think Donald Trump). It can be the quiet determination of people with gentler and less bombastic dispositions.

It takes courage to try new things and to boldly adventure into new territory. The key is to face our inner fears and take the needed actions anyway.

Questions

What new ideas do you want to explore?

What rewards would you miss if you held yourself back?

Where can you get the needed support and/or resources?

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About cedricj

I am a licensed psychologist and management consultant and have always been intrigued by how leaders can inspire people in their organizations. The bottom line is that people are not always motivated by material rewards, the use of the carrot or the stick, fear and intimidation,and command and control, Five human needs inspire and drive us. Kristine S MacKain, Ph.D and myself describe these inspirational forces in our book "What Inspirational Leaders Do" (Kindle 2008)
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2 Responses to Going Out on a Limb is Exhilarating

  1. Jeff West says:

    I love this philosophy. Maybe because I have been a an adventurer and risk taker in life and my career choices. It is not always successful, never easy, lots of fun though and stretches you way beyond your comfort zone which makes the next adventure even easier to jump into.

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