Recently, I put myself out on a limb professionally to help someone else. I’m in a good position to be able to do it, and if it works out, we’ll both benefit. But if it doesn’t work out — and there’s a chance that it won’t — I might lose some of the credibility that I’ve worked hard to build. One of my good friends, someone I trust and who definitely cares about me, let me know they thought my decision was a mistake. It was that criticism, more than taking the chance in the first place, that really scared me. I knew what I did was a risk, but I’d thought it was a risk worth taking. Their constructive criticism left me scared — what if I made a choice that hurts me and, by extension, other people?
All day, I’ve felt exposed and worried. And then, a few minutes ago, I read this on Simon Sinek’s Twitter:
I’d rather feel uncomfortable pushing for better than feel uncomfortable settling for less. #chooseyourdiscomfort
I wish I could say that now I know that I did the right thing. I wish I knew things are going to work out, and that my decision will have no negative repercussions. I still can’t say that, but I feel stronger anyway — because, while I don’t know if I did the “right” thing, I tried to do something bigger and better for myself and for someone else, and I do think that was the right thing for me.
This doesn’t mean I won’t fall on my face — that’s happened to me before. It doesn’t mean that the person I tried to help won’t screw me over — that’s happened to me before, too. It doesn’t even mean other people won’t be affected, because that’s part of what it means to work collaboratively. But I’d rather be a person who takes chances anyway. Too often, we refuse to risk or change because we want to be safe. We want to be comfortable. But Simon Sinek is right: When life presents us with opportunity and we don’t take it, that’s uncomfortable, too. Not taking chances is its own kind of risk — and that’s not a risk I’m willing to take.