I am getting more bananas with each blog title, but hey, what can you do?
This entry will borrow 5-7 minutes of your time to discuss risk. What I hope to show you is that sometimes taking risks, in all their horrifying, terrifying, “this makes me feel like piranhas are swimming in my stomach and slowly moving out of my intestines” glory, is necessary in order to achieve personal growth. I also hope to show that you are capable of surviving and recovering from a risk gone badly. In other words, when you take a risk and it doesn’t turn out the way you wanted/hoped/expected/thought, you can pick yourself up, dust your sweet ass off and get back to standing tall.
Risks are scary to many of us because of the uncertainty inherent within them. The reality is, we don’t know how things will turn out, and not knowing is fucking frightening. Not knowing means it could turn out badly. People sometimes/often/frequently have the tendency to catastrophize in situations of uncertainty. Catastrophizing is basically what we do when we think the worst. In part, we do this as a defense. It’s our psyche’s way of attempting to prepare for, and survive, the ultimate worst-case scenario. Another part of it is insecurity. Dealing with the insecurity part is an issue I would help a psychotherapy client work on, as in, “Well Tiff, it could turn out badly, and I don’t know if I could handle that.” Short answer is, “Ya damn right you can handle that.” My job as a therapist would be to help a person see this for him or herself.
Not knowing how something will turn out also induces anxiety. How many of you like feeling anxiety? You know anxiety, that agonizing feeling of dread, wrapped in fear, wrapped in worry, wrapped in excrement. Maybe there are some anxo-masochists out there, but I’m guessing most of us ain’t. Anxiety BLOWS! Actually, somehow, it sucks and blows at the same time (there’s a whole chapter in my book about helping you with it, so don’t worry, it’s going to be fine).
So, you can see why when it comes to risk, uncertainty does the dirty with anxiety, and it can work to deter you from leaving your comfort zone and going for that “thing” you really want to do but have reservations about.
How can a person overcome this?!
(1) Identify at least 3 truthful statements that provide you with the reassurance you’d need to recover from a worst-case scenario. In other words, if you take said risk and the world takes a supreme dump on you in response, what could you remind yourself of that would comfort and console you?
I’ll give you my 3 because in light of having my book come out in August (which is taking a risk and makes me feel nervous and scared and vulnerable and all that) I have them ready:
#1 – My family loves me and accepts me.
#2 – My friends love me and will not turn their backs on me.
#3 – I’m a pretty good person (~ 88% good / 12% ass-holey sometimes) with good intentions and I genuinely want to help people.
For me these 3 statements resonate loudly and this helps give me the reassurance (and courage) I need to expose myself, take a risk, and do “it.” So, if you want to have more courage to take risks, prepare some of your own statements, which will reassure you that you’ll be okay if you put yourself out there and things don’t turn out the way you wanted.
(2) Don’t frame things not going your way as a failure.
You ask a girl out who you think is pretty and she rejects you. You tryout for a band, or a play, or a commercial and don’t get it. You write a blog and only 10 people read it. If you frame these events as a failure you are reinforcing a negative belief that it’s not good to try, not good to leave your comfort zone, or not good to put yourself out there. This is false. Just because you don’t get the reaction you want does not mean you failed. REPEAT: Just because I didn’t get the reaction I wanted does not mean I failed. This is a reality. You succeeded at taking a risk and that is very important to acknowledge. Yes it burns when you get rejected. It stinks butt, but if you frame it positively you can cope with the disappointment better, recover faster and be more inclined to not give up. This means you’ll be more inclined to keep on keepin’ on. If you frame it as growth, as in, “Sucks nard it didn’t turn out the way I wanted, but HELL yeah, I did something that was out of my comfort zone and I survived,” then you did not fail. If you let yourself feel defeated, then failure wins.
(3) Take calculated risks.
“Calculated” in the sense that you really should put some thought into the risk you want to take. The tricky thing here is not to over think it. You have to find the right amount of thought to vest into something, but too much can leave you feeling flooded and overwhelmed. Think in terms of a recipe as you try to determine how much thought you should put into a risk. If the risk you’re contemplating will effect a very large portion of your life (you, your family, your kids, your friends, etc.) then you might need a few hefty cups of thought. If, on the other hand, you’re trying to decide, “Hmmm… do I want Sriracha on my vegetables or not?” Just a pinch of thought is needed. So, the bigger the chunk of life that will be affected, the bigger the amount of thought needed.
*People sometimes struggle with the level of thought they put into things (i.e. 5 cups when only 1 teaspoon is really required) and this is yet another topic that comes up in therapy.
(4) Have realistic expectations.
This means you’re in touch with reality and aware that things could go this way, OR that way. Things could go the way you want, hope and expect, but they may not. It’s not guaranteed. I want you to stay hopeful with beautiful bright eyes, but you also have to keep your feet on the ground and remember that the universe grants you no certainty when it comes to risk taking. This will minimize the devastation you feel if things don’t turn out the way you wanted and help you recover from the disappointment of a risk that turns out shitski. Hope for the best indeed, but be prepared for things not exactly working out the way you envisioned.
That’s all she wrote this time! Thanks so much for reading this and as always, I truly, deeply, sincerely hope you found something useful from it. I love people and my goal is to give you something meaningful that you can apply to improve the quality of your life. You matter. You are precious and beautiful to behold.
And… A BOOK UPDATE! Oh man, it’s really happening. My book, “Being and Awesomeness: Get Rad, Stay Rad,” is finished, printed and ready for the public… kind of. I will be having a book release/rock show/party at the Loving Touch, in Ferndale, Michigan on Friday August 29th. It will also mark the very first show of my husband’s new band Malo Konjche (the spazzy excitement I feel to see this performance keeps me smiling at all hours. I think I even sleep with a smile knowing I get to see it soon). Also appearing will be The Thornbills (swoon, swoon, SWOON) and our hometown hero’s, Touch the Clouds (who’ll probably be on SNL in 2015). Everyone is welcome. It’s the Friday before Labor Day and I hope you can come.
In the meantime, I will be in San Francisco (July 19 + 20) and Los Angeles (July 26 + 27) to participate in the Renegade Craft Fair, where I’ll be selling my metal designs (search “Spazz Happy Line Design” if you’re curious to see what I make). Since I’ll be there, I decided to try selling some books too. Please don’t be mad East Coast. I’m forever your girl, but wanted to make it available to the West Coast buddies too. So, West Coast can pick it up in person at the fairs, East Coast at the party on August 29th and the rest of the world can get it on August 30th.
You’ll be able to purchase and download it right off this site. It’s going to be $5 for the actual book, but also available as a totally free PDF download. It’s a little different than my original plan but still pretty A-ok I think. Many sincere thanks to those of you who have encouraged, supported and expressed genuine excitement for me. I hope you like LOVE the book! Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!! THANK YOU!!!