A really great thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I removed the word "risk" from my vocabulary, and it felt fairly amazing.
It was easier than I thought it would be. Especially since I have allowed the word "risk" to dictate a lot of the decisions I've made in my life.
You see, two weeks ago, I was heading out to Nelson, BC to shoot my upcoming promotional video. I am beyond awkward on camera and there are still moments when I cringe when I see myself in photos or on video - maybe you feel the same way and if you don't, consider yourself very fortunate. However, my desire to help people outweighs the fear I have around being seen, so I launched a business with my own name, hired a professional photographer to do some photos and put myself out there very visually and publicly - because, let's face it, I can't do what I feel (at my core) I was put on this earth to do unless I put myself out there and allow myself to be seen.
So, I was heading out to Nelson to shoot this promotional video in the most uncomfortable and out-there way because I am ALL about pushing your limits, doing the things that make you feel uncomfortable and stepping outside of your comfort zone. So, while I was putting my plans in place I thought to myself: "Hey, maybe there are people in Nelson who, similar to me have felt lost, paralyzed and stuck with moving forward in their lives. Maybe, they too, (similar to where I once found myself) feel so disconnected with not only who they are, but also who they are meant to be. Maybe there are others who want to learn how to discover, embrace and implement practical strategies to feel and be their most authentic selves. People that desire to remove the incredibly overbearing weight on their shoulders of feeling like there is something missing from their lives. Or that their not enough. Or worthy. Or ready.
So it was a simple decision. I had 48 hours in a new town. Why not reach out, connect with some new people, and see if there was any interest in the community for my kickass yogi bestie and I to host one of our Reconnect events.
Want to hear the kicker?
- It was 5 days out
- We had no connections/relationships in the yoga/personal development world in Nelson, no foundation of existing relationship to help spread the word
- I had only been to the beautiful city once, with no idea where we could host this event or who would be interested in having us and helping us spread the message with such little notice
- The only time that worked with our schedules was on a Wednesday afternoon (which would conflict with most employed individuals)
- If (and only if) we sold out, would we be able to barely cover the cost of the space to host the event.
- The city was a 7 hour drive away, (and in the next 5 days) there was no time for me to make my way out to see spaces, meet and connect with new people and communicate what I wanted to do, in person
Now, most people might say that's silly Sarah. There's no way you can pull this off, 5 days out, with zero contacts/relationships in the yoga/personal development world, no opportunity to even break even, on a day and time of the week when people are working. (In fact, several people DID say that.)
Unfortunately, I heard what those people were saying. My own fears, insecurities and self-doubts start to surface. So I did what I always do when the volume of my inner-critic starts to turn itself up. I used a lifeline. I encourage all of you to find someone that uplifts and inspires you and suggest you CALL THEM whenever you begin to start doubting yourself or your capabilities. Have that person on speed dial and ask for their feedback. I have three of those people in my life. One is my coach (who I also called) and another is a very dear friend of mine. So I reached out, as I always do and asked, "Do you think there's a risk here? What if no one shows up?"
I thought the response I would get back would be something along the lines of, "No Sarah, you'll do great, people will come, just do your best, that's all anyone can ever ask of you" and a bunch of other kind, compassionate, loving (and completely useless) feedback that wouldn't do me any good or make me feel any better.
What he said surprised me, but then it didn't, because that's exactly the type of person he is, the exact reason why he's part of inner circle, and exactly why I called him. He reiterated exactly what I needed to hear and exactly what I already knew, at my core.
He said, "Sarah, that is the stupidest thing that has ever come out of your mouth. There is no such thing as risk. Risk is the stupidest word I have ever heard in my life. It doesn't exist. It's not even in my vocabulary and it shouldn't be in yours either. (This friend likes to use the "tough love" approach if you hadn't noticed)
He continued, "It doesn't matter if no one shows up, if one person shows up, if two people show up, if its sold out, you show up as your best, fullest and most present self every single time. And if it's not the outcome you hoped for, you learn, you grow, you evolve, you do things differently next time. But there is no "risk" here. There is only an opportunity for you to help more people, give new people in a new setting the gift of learning something new about themselves, become more self-aware, and potentially set in motion a new mindset shift where they demand, expect and hold themselves to a higher standard then ever before. If you help even one person realize something new about themselves, inspire even one person to make positive change in their life, well that's a f*cking win/win if you ask me."
That's why I call him.
So what did I do? I ignored all of those voices, other people's feedback, my inner-critic telling me it was a stupid idea, full of risk, an investment in terms of time, money, energy and effort. Why? Because my desire to help those who feel lost, stuck, overwhelmed, unmotivated and paralyzed with how to move forward in their lives is SO MUCH greater than any risk or fear associated with no one showing up, it's greater than my own confidence, greater than my ego.
I then called every yoga studio, I introduced myself, shared with them what it is that I wanted to do, why I am passionate about my work and what I feel to be is a very important message that I would be not only grateful but honoured to be able to share that in their space.
And when you come from a pure place, a place of truly wanting to make an impact, of wanting to be of service to others, the Universe works in beautiful ways and everything works itself out as it should. I got in touch with an incredible women and studio owner at Bambu Hot Yoga - check it out if you are ever in Nelson - this girl is full of love, kindness and pure awesomeness. She offered to help spread the word, she found an available time slot in our 48 hours we had in the city, and most importantly, she was aligned with our message, so I knew it was a perfect space to hold it in.
So fast forward to 24 hours out from departing on our road trip. While packing my belongings, I decided to check the status of ticket sales and... *drumroll please*.......
You read that right.
Not a single one.
So what did we do?
We got in the car and we drove to Nelson, we created and printed out worksheets, we had our materials, we created the playlist, we confirmed the time, we continued to spread the word, and most importantly, WE SHOWED UP. And if it was just myself, my dear friend and the studio owner of that incredible space, I would have showed up as my best, fullest and most present self.
Because that's what you have to do when you feel so passionately about the work that you do. What inspired this blog post today was a conversation I shared with my own incredible and life-altering coach and mentor who reiterated it again by reminding me: That's what you do when your desire to help another human being is stronger than your fear of rejection. You toss the word risk out of your vocab and you show up. Every single day.
And guess what? We had 8 people show up. 5 days in advance, on a Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 in the afternoon when people work, in a community where we had no prior relationships or connections already in place. And it was amazing. And we had women (and men!) share how much they appreciated our message, how the road to self-awareness, self-discovery and personal development is never ending, and how much that message was deeply needed that day during a difficult time or period in their lives.
So move forward in your lives with the idea that the word "risk" doesn't exist. Whether you start a business and it doesn't work out the way you want it to, whether you end a toxic relationship but a raging fear of dying alone comes up for you, whether you put countless hours, energy and emotion into writing a book and no one reads it, just know that you will learn something so incredibly valuable and important from that experience, it will get you one step closer to the place you are meant to be, it will inspire the people around you to do the things they've always wanted to do but have allowed the idea of "risk" or "failure" from holding them back, and even more importantly it will allow you to learn, grow and evolve in ways you can't even comprehend in this particular moment.
DId you like this post? If so, comment in the comments box below! I absolutely LOVE hearing from my readers about their own experiences. And if you know of anyone else in your life who allows the idea of "risk" to hold them back from doing the things that excite them most, then please share the post!