To many, risk is a dirty word. This four-letter word can strike fear in the heart and paralyze you to your very core. Yet, I would argue few major accomplishments have been achieved without at least a small portion of risk.
How many people put off significant, life-changing goals due to fear of failure? Dreams get placed on the back burner due to anticipation of poor outcomes. The risk simply seems too great.
Recently, I’ve been energized by risk-takers. I sit back and watch their dreams slowly become reality. They don’t accomplish them overnight. Small, incremental steps and successes draw them closer to their goals.
I long to be that kind of person. For 2014, I have a lot of goals. I won’t list them all here, because I’m more concerned about your goals in this space. But I will tell you this. My one word I’ve chosen for this year is….wait for it….you guessed it…RISK!
I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before, but my husband has helped me battle my tendency toward perfectionism by having me ask myself the question, “What’s the worst that could happen?” That one question is a great tool for your back pocket to help you make forward movement when you feel stuck. Typically, my answer to that question helps me realize reality isn’t nearly as bad as the irrational fear lurking inside of me.
Jason gave me the gift of a promise this Christmas. My dream for many years has been to visit Prince Edward Island, Canada. If you are an Anne of Green Gables fan, then you know where that is. Since my teenage years I have longed to walk the beautiful landscape L.M. Montgomery described in her Anne books. Twice I’ve camped on the cusp of the opportunity to visit the island of my dreams, and twice that chance eluded me. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, we financially are in a position at the moment to make this dream bloom to fruition, so Jason has promised to take me there this summer.
You may be familiar with the Disney film Up. The movie follows the story of a boy named Carl who longs to visit a place called Paradise Falls. Carl meets a friend, Ellie, who shares the same dream. Eventually, they marry. For years they save to achieve their dream, but the time is never right. Ellie becomes ill and passes away, the dream they shared never to be realized. I don’t cry easily during movies, but this one made me sob, and still brings tears whenever it comes to mind.
On Christmas, inside the wrapped package pictured above (the tag indicating airport codes), I found a travel guide to PEI. Attached to the travel guide was this piece of paper:
Life is so uncertain. My family knows that fact well. I can’t really describe in words how much Jason’s leukemia diagnosis stinks, but one of the advantages is cherishing each moment we have a little bit more. We could come up with a hundred other things, including future medical expenses, we could/should spend the money on, but frankly, I don’t want to be Carl and Ellie. And, I’m pretty sure balloons wouldn’t get this house to PEI.
Think about what may be holding you back from achieving or experiencing something you long to do. What is one step you could take toward making fiction your personal happily ever after? What’s the worst that could happen? Failure? We all fail. Dreams may slip away for a time. Those individuals that succeed are simply the ones who get back up and try again.
Wishing you perseverance for 2014! I would love to hear about any goals you have. Writing them down for others to see adds a little bit of accountability. Make this the year of no regrets!
And, as a final note, cross your fingers that this third time is a charm for me. In the scheme of life, I know this trip is superfluous, but it represents something so much larger than just a trip.