Deb Sofield

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If you don’t risk anything, you risk everything

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In reading over the questions that some of you sent me to answer on the show, one theme seemed to come to the top (over and over) and it mirrors a quote that I have been thinking about sharing on the show; it seems the stars aligned with the questions that were sent in, and I came upon this idea,

In life, if you don’t risk anything, you risk everything.

Some people seem to be so unwilling to risk anything, which makes me think that they are missing out on some real opportunities in life. And you know I’m not advising you to do something that is crazy or something that would cause you or your family harm, but what I am wondering about is why it is that so many always feel the need to play it safely on the shore and never venture out into the water of life. Why are so many afraid of stepping out and testing the waters? What I find interesting is that it is usually not a financial issue that has so many people living and dying from boredom, so don’t get caught up in the money excuse, because it appears to be more a matter of self-doubt–not believing in your ability; not trusting your instincts–and generally questioning your self-worth.

You’re probably familiar with the saying, A ship in a harbor is safe, but this is not what a ship is built for. I understand that there are times in life when you need to stay in the harbor and heal a broken heart or broken life and, once healed, then you’ll be well enough to choose your next destination, or you’ll decide that you want to stay safely where you are. For some, that’s fine–it is what it is as they say–and there is nothing I can say that will ever convince you to leave the safety of the harbor to discover that there are bright lights and big cities waiting to be revealed on the other side.

If you’re happy in the harbor of life, let’s not risk leaving the shore–it’s not for everyone. But if you yearn for the salt life of new adventure and opportunity, then get ready to pull up anchor and set your sail to unknown waters that are beyond the safety of the harbor.

I love the ocean and I am a student of the sea and one thing I know is that in life, for most of us, the waves are so considerably larger than any boat you’ll have and only with the weathered, time-worn, adaptable skills of a sailor will you be able to ride the wave to the safety of the next harbor.

I fully understand that it seems easier not to risk anything, but I have to wonder if skirting some of the issues that need to be addressed in your life will play havoc in a way that could risk everything for you.

Yes, sidestepping your responsibilities is easier in the short run, but life isn’t a short run for many of us–it’s a long, slow jog to the finish line.

The New Year is just around the corner, so, in thinking about my theme today, I want to touch on a few ideas for your amazing life that might be a little risky but where I think the risk is worth the reward. When we think about risk, many people take it to the extremes of tightrope walking or sky diving, but let’s not go that far out on the ledge.

I want to focus on three ideas of risk that could be life changing:

1. Take a risk on the words you need to say to yourself or to someone else (you have the ability to do it–it’s a matter of willingness).
2. Take a risk on your intuition (your gut instincts will many times drive you to success).
3. Take a risk on making a change in your life (because you are worth it)

When I talk about taking a risk on the words you need to say to yourself or to someone else, it is not an easy task because it forces you to open up your heart and be up front about your needs.

I’ll start with family. Some of you are going to endure a miserable holiday due to a mean spirited family member who will take their issues out on you and everyone at the table. Ah, but this year, consider taking a risk and shutting them out (by not inviting them) or shutting down (because you had a conversation with them in private) before they ruin it for everyone. If it’s your house, it should be your rules, and your number one rule is to be kind to each other while in your home. By the way, either you’re going to win or they’re going to win on this one–one mean spirited person vs. the rest of the table of happy enough people who are actually grateful for friends and family. Risky? Yes. Right thing to do? Well, you’ll have to decide in advance and weigh the options. Let me give you a piece of advice–write out what you want to say and practice it, so you can speak with power and you have a copy of what you said if they decide to misquote you…which they will. I’ve never understood the fairness for the rest of the family if one or two members act out. Tough love is never easy, but some people need a cold splash of reality to learn a lesson.

I also want to remind you that you should consider the idea of positive affirmations for yourself. Choose to be kind to you. Remember, your body hears what you say to yourself; if you’re always negative and unkind, what do you think that does to your body flow and your organs’ work? Study after study has been conducted on the words and thoughts you say and think and how that affects you.

There is no risk in believing that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and God knew you before you were born. In the book of Psalms 139:16 it says, Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

There is no risk in speaking positive words of love and kindness to your soul. Some today are so dry inside that it might take a river of tears to heal the parched, broken ground…but no tear will be wasted if it is used to nourish and refresh the soul. Take a risk and speak out loud the loving words you need to say to yourself or to someone else. You know the words I am asking you to consider: I’m sorry. Will you forgive me? Let’s work on this together. I love you. Together you can get to the bottom of the issue. Letting conversations slide or not bringing up important issues could be dangerous if in the end the damage of omission is greater than the hard-fought conversation to make it right.

Next I’m going to ask that you consider taking a risk on your intuition. I love to watch Shark Tank and see all the ideas that people have and are looking for funding to get off the ground. Yes, going on the show is a risk, but it is one that brave people want to take to see if they can convince one of the sharks to be a business partner. I know many of you reading have a great idea for creating or improving on a product or a new invention that simply needs your time and attention to get it done. Trust that your gut instincts will drive you to success, if you are committed to the end product. I have a saying on my desk that I read often when I find myself in a slump and don’t know how to move forward in a situation. It goes like this, Our Father (which to me is my heavenly father) does not inspire us to do that which cannot be done.

I noticed that on an upcoming Oprah program, Jack Canfield from “Chicken Soup for the Soul” is her guest, and one of his topics is the belief that you’re not given a dream without the power to fulfill it. Risky, yes. Rewarding, more than likely. I am fascinated by the power of intuition because I’ve seen it bloom into success in my own life and I am sure there are times when you’ve seen it come to life in yours. The seed I want to plant in your mind is to focus on the growth of your idea. And, as you know, for something to grow it needs your attention–your wholehearted attention to its successful outcome. Let me encourage you to make this year the year you take the risk for the reward.

And, finally, I am asking you to take a risk on making a change in your life for you. Making life changes and choices is a risky proposition; there is always the chance that it might not work out as planned, but then again there is just as much chance and opportunity that it will, and then that outcome will be a blessing and benefit for all. I am one to believe that you can do most anything you put your mind to. You have more power than you know if you’ll just learn how to use it to your advantage and for your advantage.

For the past three years I have been vocal to remind you that you have value and you have worth, and if you’ll step up into the light I believe you’ll find your path forward doing what you are called to do. I was reminded a while back when someone wrote me that they decided to believe and act on my message that week when my theme was you may be cracked but you’re not broken. He told me that he had made some mistakes in life; he had come to a crossroad and he’d decided to stay on the path because breaks can heal, and once healed they are as good as, if not better than, before. He was willing to take a risk on himself one more time because once he looked at himself from the outside in he knew he was worth the risk.

Ah, friend, you are worth the risk. As we come into the New Year, look up to see your opportunities, and then move in the direction of your dreams and make something good happen, because

In life, if you don’t risk anything, you might risk everything.

I believe you’re smarter than that…and you have much to offer others. If you’ll just take a risk on giving a bit of your heart, soul and mind to help others on their path, the rewards for all will be amazing.

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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