I tip-toed across a layer of ice and snow toward the unprotected edge while my tour mates stared in disbelief.
I’d just turned 58 and this first-time trip to the Grand Canyon was my birthday present to myself and I wanted to make the most of it.
As I neared the edge where there was no protective railing, the adrenaline rush not only heated my body against the 40-degree temps, but every step filled it excitement and adventure.
I was risking my life, but it wasn’t that thought that excited me.
My excitement came from seeing what I wanted – a selfie in front of a beautiful backdrop of the canyon without that ugly railing spoiling the shot – and doing what I had to do to get it.
Of course, the danger of getting what I wanted might’ve stopped me in my quest had I allowed my mind to think about it and looked back to search for approval in my tour mate’s stunned faces.
Perhaps then I might have recalled the funny but serious words of caution from our tour guide: “Hold on to your cell phones. The canyon is known for sudden gusts of wind and if one snatches your phone, I’m not going into the canyon to get it.”
But I was focused on getting the shot.
With relentless, focused, and total oblivion to my foolishness, I tip-toed, then crawled to within less than five feet of the edge, posed for my pic then crawled my crazy a$$ back to safety.
I got what I wanted!
But the lessons here lie NOT in my nutty and TOTALLY eccentric Aquarian personality …
… but rather in the foundations of courage, determination, and persistence for maximal growth in your life journey.
WHY GROWTH DEPENDS ON TAKING RISKS
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will not achieve anything in life.” – Muhammad Ali
Life is all about habits.
Every action you are taking today is because of what behaviors you’ve learned and made a daily habit up to this point.
You get up, make coffee, brush your teeth, then either automatically exercise or scoot out the door to grab a Star Buck’s or Dunkin Donut’s quickie breakfast.
You return home from work and have a cocktail, cook the family dinner, put your feet up and soak in the tub; or you stop at the nearest pizza joint or Subway for a quickie dinner.
And so it goes for you every day, week-to-week, month-to-month.
You see opportunities you’d like to take but they risk creating a level of stress in the life plan that you’re comfortably living, so you discard them telling yourself, “I’ll do that one day when I have more time; when I’m more settled; when I’ve got more $$$; when the stars are aligned; when the moon shines brighter …. and so on and on and on.
Do you know what the foundation concept of a “risk” is?
Exposure to some level of loss; to humiliation; to failure; to embarrassment.
For me at the Grand Canyon, it was exposure to the possibility of death – and truth be told, if I had stopped, and given some serious thought to the fact that I could die today, that would have slowed my adventurous roll. I’ve got grandchildren. I don’t want to die.
But my blind ambition to risk it all and get what I wanted can help you safely reach your goals.
To achieve emotional, physical and mental growth, you have to take some risks.
You must throw a wrench in your current program; shake things up a bit; put something on the line to achieve your dream goal.
Courage: It takes courage to do something you’ve never done before; to rise up against all the fears that want to weigh you down – and do it despite those fears.
Determination: You have to want it BAD! More than anyone else wants it; more than you want to please your parents; more than your worry about what people think of you; more than what you’ll lose by risking to get what you need.
Persistence: Think you’ll achieve your goal immediately? Maybe; maybe not. If you want it badly enough, you’ve gotta be willing to keep going after it – despite your fears; despite your embarrassment and humiliation of failure; despite what people think. You must stand your ground, toughen your mind and stick it out.
Blind risks, such as my Grand Canyon selfie ambition, are the extreme and do not represent the safest and most acceptable forms of risks.
There are emotional risks, financial risks, career risks, and fitness risks that all have the potential to get you out of your comfort zone and into a more stable foundation of growth.
So, what are you waiting for huh?
Take a risk and live your best life.