Does Playing It Safe Just Get You a Lot of Missed Opportunities?

There’s this saying, “with great risks comes even greater rewards”, and I thought about that as I was watching a news segment about Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, discussing her success and her new book that is causing much controversy.  She was discussing her thoughts on women and their role as leaders in the business world and how women, albeit ambitious enough, are always playing it too safe and that is often what holds them back in their efforts to succeed.  She has taken many risks throughout her career and her several different roles as a leader and she has had many great rewards simply because she refused to play it safe.

It made me think about the fact that I am not a huge risk taker and if that is what is holding me back it would be a terrible shame.  Is that what is slowing me down on this journey to the top?  To say I am cautious would probably (if you ask my best friend Ms. L.) be putting it mildly.  I think things through, sometimes too much, and then once I decide something I rethink it through again, a couple more times.  The funny thing is that I don’t remember being this way when I was younger.  Granted when I was younger I was limited in the things I could do because I was not yet an adult and most of my childhood I was not a working individual so I relied on my mother for monetary well being, but I don’t remember being so scared to do things.

I don’t remember over analyzing things nearly as much as I do.  I mean I did to a certain extent because I had to analyze whether or not the risk I was taking was going to get me beat by my mother or in trouble in other ways, but I never thought of myself as playing it safe.  So now in a time in my life where I should be throwing caution to the wind and just going for everything and every opportunity that could possibly come my way, I am resistant, I find that I just want to be safe.  I don’t know if it was motherhood that made me that way or not but I know that I want my daughter to take risks and go after the dreams she wants without worrying what is or what is not going to go wrong.

The author of Wild, Cheryl Strayed, wrote her memoir about the journey that she took along the mountainous Pacific Crest Trail from California, all the way through Oregon and up to WashingtonState, with practically no money to her name and little idea of what it was she was really in search of.  Somehow she managed to complete her trip as well as accomplishing a level of self discovery that she didn’t even realize she was looking for.  She didn’t let the fear of not really knowing where she was going stop her, nor did she let the fact that she had barely any money stop her and she managed to get a New York Times Bestselling book out of it that landed on Oprah’s book club lists.  She didn’t play it safe and she took a huge amount of risk and she got great rewards.

Now obviously, it is not realistic for most of us to go and try that, but the point is that we shouldn’t let things hold us back and we shouldn’t play it so safe that we miss out on the adventures that we could have in our lives.  Now being overly cautious is a hard habit to break and I am not crazy enough to think that overnight I am just going to be this “throw caution to the wind” type of person but I do know that I don’t want to play it safe anymore and I can’t afford to over-think myself out of the next opportunity.  What about you, have you been playing it safe lately?

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

https://write-2-be.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/

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What Would You Do If You Were Not Afraid?

“Whatever you fear most has no power—it is your fear that has the power.

~Oprah Winfrey 

I was watching the interview that Oprah did with facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg the other night and I managed to get some really inspirational things from it, but that’s no surprise considering it is Oprah.  I think that the most insightful thing that I got from it was when Oprah talked about the fear she had at starting her own cable network.  She said that one of the ways that she was able to move past that fear was to make a list of all of the things that she would do if she were not afraid to do them.  I immediately jotted down a few notes and started pondering what my list would look like. 

Now anyone who knows me knows that I am the queen of list making so of course I couldn’t just sit and ponder what would be on my list, I had to actually make my list.  The funny thing was that I put quite a few things on that list that I didn’t even realize that I actually had a yearning to do.  There were things that I am so afraid of doing that I had somehow convinced myself that I didn’t want to do those things simply out of fear.  In writing them down and being completely honest with myself I realized that I do want to do those things, I’m just scared to.  But what kind of existence can I possibly have always being afraid to do what it is I really want to do?  

We are all afraid of something.  Fear is just a part of life.  We are going to be afraid of something, and it is even going to trip us up for a while, but how long do you let that fear control the destination of your journey?  I know I can’t kick that habit of fear overnight, hell probably not even in a month or so, but I know it’s not helping me meet my goals.  I think that I am going to put my list up on my bulletin board in an effort to remind me of all of the things that I am missing out on by being afraid to do them, or at the very least try.  

So since I am a little bit afraid to share any part of this list with the rest of the world for fear of becoming vulnerable I am in fact going to share a part of that list:

  1. Open my own bookstore
  2. Go to culinary arts school and pursue opening my own restaurant.
  3. Write a soap opera and present it for production.
  4. Write a stage play and get it produced.
  5. Hound a national magazine or newspaper until they hire me to write for them.
  6. Start my own internet talk/radio show.
  7. Audition for the X-factor.
  8. Start doing motivational speaking to kids and teens in elementary and high schools about the dangers of bullying. 

Okay so that was only a small part of my list but I don’t want to go sharing everything.  So I think that everyone should go make their own list of what they would do if they were not afraid.  If you don’t mind sharing maybe you could leave a comment and share one of those things that you would do.  If it’s out there, then there’s no reason to be afraid anymore, right?  Even if you don’t share make the list anyway, you just might find it liberating.  Until next time…Do what it is you are most afraid of!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

https://writetobe.wordpress.com/

http://unpleasantlyplump.wordpress.com/

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