Take that Leap: 3 Lessons about Taking Chances

  • Published on:
    December 1, 2021
  • Reading time by:
    4 minutes

We all have dreams and goals and things we want to achieve in this life. Sadly, too many people are paralyzed by fear or procrastinate their way into a life of mediocrity, never fully living up to their true potential.  

Fortunately though, more and more people are realizing that when we live for other people or we focus too much on the expectations that others have set for us, we become completely miserable and we lose our sparkle bit by bit, every day.  

I personally, fall into the latter category and although I am no stranger to negative self talk and to crippling fear of failure (and success, actually!), I have learned 3 major lessons about taking chances and putting myself and my ideas, out there. If you have been waiting for a sign from the universe, then this is it, girl! 

Your Fear is a Liar 

In the context of reaching for your dreams and smashing your goals, the fears that you have are generally completely irrational. Chances are you’re either afraid of what others will think, or you’re afraid of failure. 

But here’s the thing: if you start out with nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose. Every step you take towards putting yourself out there and working towards achieving your goals in life, is a step in the right direction. 

Even if you don’t achieve what you set out to do, it was never an exercise in futility. You’re either going to gain valuable lessons and experience that you can apply throughout your entire life and share with others or you’re going to make new friends and contacts. So what do you have to lose? Why listen to your fear and allow that voice to keep you playing small and living in a little box that others have created for you? 

Your fear is a liar and it’s time go and find the truth and live up to your potential. 

You will never face criticism from people who are already doing more than you

I’ve written and spoken many times before about the importance of finding your tribe and surrounding yourself with people who inspire and encourage you to be the best version of ‘you’. It’s really an integral part of the journey and completely indispensable if you want to level up and achieve the goals you have set for yourself. 

Far too often though, that little voice inside our heads starts with her negativity and she starts planting thoughts about ‘what will other people think’.  She reminds us about all the people who knew us back in middle school or high school or at our first job and then she allows the imposter syndrome to take over, by convincing us that we are still that same girl. That mean inner voice tells you that you’re not as smart or special as you think and people are going to find out just how insecure or scared or clueless you are. 

For tips on dealing with imposter syndrome, you can read a previous article of mine here.

For the purposes of this specific lesson though, I speak from personal experience when I tell you that you will never face criticism from people who are already doing more than you – quite the opposite actually. In my experience, people who are already where you want to be, will encourage you and help you to reach your goals because they know a little something about hard work and they recognize grit and determination in others. Generally, people who have achieved the things that we aspire to, can be valuable coaches and mentors and truly inspire and guide us on our way. They know the value of hard work and dedication and they have no time for hating on others who are trying to achieve their own goals. 

Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor 

I know that putting yourself out there is by no means easy. We all have our insecurities and there are things we don’t feel confident (or competent) doing. 

Opportunity, however, waits for no woman and opportunity doesn’t come crashing through the front door or drop down from your ceiling while you’re binge watching a show on Netflix on your bed. You need to do the work and you need to step outside your comfort zone. Make new connections. Network. Take those coffee meetings or reply to the DMs because you never know where those might lead or what opportunities those encounters hold. 

You can’t be watching from the sidelines and sitting idly by, hoping your goals are going to smash themselves, sister! 

You need to silence your inner critic and your fear. Surround yourself with people who encourage and inspire you and make sure you get out there onto that dance floor and give it all you’ve got. Afterall, you’ve got nothing to lose and absolutely everything to gain from taking that first small step towards living the life you dream of. 

Deborah Hartung

She has spent almost 20 years advising corporates on matters relating to employee relations, corporate culture and leadership development. Deborah is passionate about people and technology, the human experience in the workplace and the opportunities for the advancement of humanity in the digital age.  

Especially popular with young or first-time leaders, entrepreneurs and women in leadership, Deborah encourages all those she meets to align with their purpose and to be brave enough to be authentic in all their interactions.  She writes about life, love, leadership, workplace culture, the future of work and the importance of making the world a kinder, more tolerant place. 

Deborah lives in Johannesburg, South Africa and is committed to ensuring that her children – daughter, Reagan and son, Owen – have as many adventures and experiences as possible. Amongst her friends she is known as the woman who always needs at least SPF50 sunscreen and someone who can trip and fall whilst barefoot and stone cold sober. A big fan of tequila, craft beer and MCC, Deborah loves entertaining friends and is secretly a rather big fan of baking. 

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