Friday, June 03, 2011

How to Take a Chance on Yourself

Gambling is for fools.

It wastes your time.
It burns your money.
It corrupts your thinking.

As Robert DeNiro said in Casino, “The more they play, the more they lose. In the end, the casino gets it all.”

HOWEVER: Some things are worth taking a chance on.

Namely, you.

Here are a few things you might keep in mind:
1. Desire is not an occupation. The first word to delete from your success vocabulary is “aspiring.” Never aspire to anything. Aspiring is for amateurs. Aspiring is the hallmark of working small. Whatever you want to become, start by being that thing already.

Like George Carlin used to say, “There are only two states an oven can possibly exist in: Heated or unheated. Preheated is a meaningless term.”

Where are you still preheating yourself? You either are, or you aren’t. Instead of waiting to be who you are, make the decision to raise your own bar. Go pro. Go full time. Go all in. Start playing for keeps.

Once you know what you believe, everything becomes a lot easier. Once you take a chance on yourself, people will start showing up ready to match your bet. And once you submit your resignation to the purgatory of wannabe, providence will move to orchestrate the ideal conditions to win. Which of your fears are diminishing your commitment?

2. Never underestimate the weight of victory. The scariest part about taking a chance on yourself is not the prospect of failure, but the possibility of success. I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine anything more terrifying than getting exactly what you want.

Think about it: You might realize it’s not enough. You might become a victim of your own success. You might discover it’s not actually what you thought you wanted. You might mishandle the changes success brings into your life. You might stop taking the creative risks that made you successful in the first place. Or you might fail to live up to the expectations and reputation attached to your success.

At least failure is predictable. At least failure you can read books on. Success is the great unknown. Success is what we’re really afraid of. And that’s why part of us thinks that sometimes; it’s safer to just want things.

Which it is. But safe is a very dangerous place to be. And if you truly want to take a chance on yourself, you have to be prepared for the possibility of victory. Otherwise you’ll never take the time to enjoy it when it comes. Are you emotionally ready for success?

3. Accept the existence of your shadow. Sometimes we’re too close to ourselves to see the truth about ourselves. And if we don’t customize a system for exposing our blind spots, the chance we take on ourselves becomes too risky. As Rob Bell explained in Love Wins:

“When sameness takes over, when everyone shares the same story and when there is no listening to other perspectives – there is no stretching and expanding and opening up.”

That’s why I’m eternally thankful for my girlfriend: Her thinking is often perpendicular to my own. And as my partner, she’s in a unique position to give me an invitation into myself, lead me into my blind spots and remind me of just how moronic I can truly be.

Who’s your partner? Who could you admit into your life as a teacher? Whether it’s your spouse, significant other or business partner, ask them to reveal to you what you’re too in love, too proud or too close to yourself to see. It might hurt your ego, but it definitely helps your chances.

Anytime you can invite intellectual diversity into your life, it makes it easier to expose your unperceivables. What are you afraid to know about yourself?

4. Respect the paradox of the journey. On one hand, your inner dreamer believes you should be more successful by now. On the other, your inner realist knows you have to pay your dues for longer than you’d like to.

But like a good yoga student, you have to achieve balance between total relaxation and complete exertion. And a helpful way of doing so is to ask two questions. First: Where can you afford to be patient? Not idle, not passive, but patient. Because as long as you don’t wait so long that it becomes too late to take action, and as long as you’re not investing valuable time waiting for something that’s never going to happen, it usually pays to wait it out.

Second: Where can you allow yourself to be impatient? Not reckless, not irresponsible, but impatient. Because while patience is a virtue – impatience pays the mortgage. And sometimes you just have to trust yourself, trust the process and gather whatever momentum you can to start moving in the right direction. Otherwise you may never execute anything that matters. How can you be patient and impatient simultaneously?

5. No labels, no limits. Putting things in the right category doesn’t mean you control them – it just means you have more boxes. The reality is: If you have a plan for everything, unexpected turns will never take initiative toward you. If you have a plan for everything, you lose the psychological freedom to pivot into new directions. And if you have a plan for everything, you’ll never be able to live larger than your labels.

Don’t close the door of opportunity on yourself. Instead of creating a false ceiling on what you can accomplish, keep your eye on the things you can’t see. Always ask the question, “What am I afraid to see because it doesn’t fit my nice little plan?” Then, just listen. Because opportunity doesn’t knock – it whispers. And if you’re not paying attention, it will sail right past you.

There’s no shame is having no sense of direction. Try getting lost. Try not knowing. Try flying blind. Because if you don’t know where you’re going, nobody can stop you. Are you leaving enough room for the unexpected?

REMEMBER: You are a risk worth taking.

If you are going to take a chance on something, it may as well be on yourself.

Sure beats playing video poker.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Who are you taking a chance on?

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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