In my Artist’s Way class this week, we talked about taking small risks and how enlivening this is, how it builds courage, confidence, inner freedom, a sense of possibility and energy. I challenged one of my students to commit to taking three small risks this week, to stretch himself in some way.
The small risk you take could be physical. Small physical risks can be very helpful for building the courage to take harder emotional or creative risks. An emotional or social risk might be asking for help with something or asking a new friend out to tea. Your risk might be creative, such as reading one of your poems at an open mic or breaking out of a creative rut to try something totally new. Maybe your risk is going somewhere you have never been, signing up for a class you have wanted to try but that feels edgy for you, or showing your art to a friend.
Although the risk might seem small to someone else, to you it may feel pretty scary. The key is: Do not believe the lies that the fear is telling you. Fear will try to make the risk seem larger than it really is and the consequences of it more dire than they are. One way you’ll know it’s a small risk is that it scares you (maybe even a lot) but doesn’t terrify or paralyze you, and it’s something where the outcome has a high likelihood of being positive or neutral, or one which you are prepared to deal with the level of disappointment if it does not go as planned.
One way you can encourage yourself to take the risk is to ask, what do I really have to lose if I do this? For instance, if the risk I am taking is to send my poems to a magazine to see if they will publish them, the worst that can happen is that they say no, in which case I am no worse off than before I sent the poems out. Yes, I may feel disappointment, even self-doubt, but I will also have taken a step toward my dreams, and that feels good and empowering. However, if I am truly not ready yet in my creative development for any rejection, then now is not the right time for this particular risk. I can start with something safer.
Taking small risks is essential in the creative life and in being able to achieve our life dreams. That is why I challenge my students to take little risks that build toward those dreams that their heart longs to see come true. Taking little risks that scare us but do not terrify us builds up the power within to take larger and larger ones, to keep extending our boundaries, our field of action, our capacities, to step out of our comfort zone. Without the ability to take risks and endure the fear that arises as we do, we will never be able to face the challenges that our creativity and our dreams demand of us.
Creativity asks us to grow, to discover who we are and what we love, to share our real selves with the world, to learn and stretch ourselves continually into new terrain. Our heart’s deepest dreams and desires beckon us to larger life, to be all of who we are, to share our gifts, to be vulnerable.
Little risks are our stepping stones on the path to a life of creativity, fulfillment, passion, joy, a life of heart.
What small risk will you take this week to bring greater aliveness, courage and possibility to your life?
What risk, or small but important step, can you take that will further a heart dream of yours in some way?
To your beautiful courageous heart,
P.S. If you want support and structure in taking meaningful risks that lead to the fulfillment of your life’s dreams and goals, then consider Mentoring with me. This program can create dramatic change and momentum towards that which matters most to you.
P.P.S. For more inspiration and ideas on taking small risks, you can check out: