What would you do if there were no obstacles? What is it you could do in order to level up but, you feel resistant to it? Where are you hesitating and playing it safe?

Level Up

In order to reach our true potential, we ought to ask ourselves these questions from time to time. You see, too many people squash their dreams. They lower their expectations, or settle for managing their current circumstances. They choose to avoid discomfort and play it safe. So, instead of stepping into action, asking for a raise or the sale, putting themselves out there for a new job, new connection, or expressing themselves and their ideas, they retreat. And then justify inaction with some legitimate excuse. This can be a dangerous way to live. Inaction causes stagnation, resentment, anger or depression (just to name a few). On the other hand, taking bold action can accelerate confidence and success, even when the action is not perfectly executed.

Making Your Risk List

If you want more out of life, put your inner critic on hold and make a list of the risks that you are not taking. As humans, we are very good at making lists. We make lists for tasks, groceries, ‘bucket’ items, holiday gifts, etc. Now it is time to make your Risk List. Write down what you would do if you had more confidence, more faith, a tad more courage, or more certainty. Don’t edit as you think of these things. Instead, simply brainstorm so you can see it in writing. These are the things that could serve you but, they might scare you or cause a feeling of resistance. For some people, that could include saying “no” more often, or saying “yes” more often. It might mean having a difficult conversation or creating healthy boundaries. It might be letting go of the need to control, people please, or perfectionism.

Why We Play It Safe

It’s normal to feel a sense of discomfort when we choose to take a new course of action or new ways of thinking. This is especially true when thoughts of uncertainty, fear or rejection are involved. The good news is that discomfort can be temporary. It’s helpful to know that inaction is usually NOT a reflection of your willpower or discipline. Instead, it’s more likely your brain sending you misleading signals. You see, your brain is designed to keep you safe. And your brain interprets discomfort and uncertainty as a threat, the same way a burning building or car screeching towards us can be interpreted. Thinking logically, we can detect the differences in these hazards. There is an obvious difference between jumping out of an airplane without a parachute and giving a speech in front of an audience. But either way, the message is to stay away from the threat. That’s why, just as quickly as we come up with great ideas, we talk ourselves out of them.

#1 reason why people fail is that they sacrifice their long-term goals and happiness for short-term comfort.

Breaking Out of The Comfort Zone

Identify 1) where you are playing it safe and 2) where there is opportunity to expand yourself. Choose the simplest, first step you could take to level up. Look over your Risk List and start with the item that feels the least daunting. Consistency is most important here. So take action on a regular basis.  Expect some discomfort in the beginning. But it’s just a vibration and doesn’t have to consume you. The more you step outside of your comfort zone, the easier it becomes. An accountability partner can accelerate your success, so seek help from friends, peers or a professional coach.

The Power of Becoming Risk Adverse

Confidence comes from actually taking action.  Overcoming a pattern of playing it safe builds strength, courage, and resilience.  And reaching a goal often produces the motivation to more easily attain another one.

Statistically, only 20% of people reach their true potential. They have better careers, better relationships and better health outcomes. They experience their highest level of success AND happiness. How do they do it? They simply do the things that others don’t want to. And while their specific methods and tasks vary, the commonality is a choice to explore what’s possible, even when it involves a bit of discomfort, uncertainty or risk.

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