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Take A Chance

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I’ve seen this poster a hundred times on school bulletin boards or coffee shop info boards and at Whole Foods on the community board. It was just recently though, for some unknown reason, it finally caught my attention. It’s an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper and the bottom of the sheet is clipped so you can “pull a ticket.”

The poster headline is “Take A Chance” and each ticket says: “Chance.”

Interesting to see how many little slips of paper just hang on the sheet waiting to be taken. I guess some folks don’t see it as anything they’d be willing to do-you know, take a chance. So they leave the free, life-changing ticket alone. Others probably think it is just for fun and not an real idea or opportunity. After all, who can really afford to Take A Chance nowadays. But there are a few brave folks who will tear off the ticket and stare at it a while then stuff it in their pocket or purse.

I don’t know about you, but I am one of those souls who will tear off a ticket every chance I get. I put it in my pocket to remind me to step out of comfort zone and to take a chance. I do this because that there is no harm in hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. Or maybe I hope for the best and it doesn’t come to pass. Eventually, just maybe, in some strange way I’ll come out ahead. At least that is what I hope for.

If I believe that good will come when I do my part, then a little slip of paper is just what the doctor ordered. For me it is a reminder to move in the direction of my dreams. I’ll take every ticket I can and stuff them into my pockets.

In my lifetime I’ve taken a few big chances in business and so far so good. What I’ve learned years ago is you never know the true state of your current situation until you walk into a new place and see what could be. The old saying is true, you don’t know what you don’t know. I believe you and I need to keep looking, keep moving, and keep pushing in the directions of our dreams.

Take a chance. Why does that phrase strike terror in the hearts of so many people when what they say to themselves in word or thought is I wish someone would take a chance on me for work, for love or in life?

We all know that fear has killed more dreams than failure every has or will. Yet we stand on the sidelines hoping, praying, wishing that someone, somewhere, some how would take a chance and choose us. Yet for so many, they fight the urge to take a chance on themselves or others – odd isn’t it?

I like the Zig Ziglar quote – FEAR has two meanings; forget everything and run OR face everything and rise…the choice is yours.

Friends, if you want others to take a chance on you, you might have to let your guard down just a little bit and take a chance on them.

Let me touch on three areas that I believe you and I need to re-examine in order to live up to our aspiration to take a chance.

Let’s start with your job. If you are sitting around hoping for another opportunity, you might have to step out of your comfort zone. You may have to take a chance to seek a new position, a new location or a new title. I doubt anyone is going to give you something unless you ask and make movement in the direction of your desire.

I work as an interview coach to help people put into words the type of job, opportunities and salary they would like to have. That seems simple enough but in reality it’s hard to craft a message about your worth, especially when we were brought up to not speak boastful about ourselves. I have to tell my clients, if you don’t toot your own horn – there is no music.

Friend, if you dream of a different job in a different place with different people, here is the truth: you’ve got to step up and start the change. Being realistic about what you can afford to do (within the bounds of taking care of you and your family), you need to take a chance.

If you’re a great employee, they don’t want to lose you but until you ask for something different, nothing will change. No one can read your mind to offer you another position, opportunity or chance. It’s your job to be bold and ask. Really, what is the worst thing that can happen? Answer: be relieved from a job you hate. Well, I hope you don’t hate your job. More importantly I hope you find the courage to take a chance on a job, position, or opportunity you desire.

Let’s talk about family. Together are you having fun? As a family do you enjoy life? Do you enjoy the company of friends and family, in-laws and outlaws? If not, you are the only one who can change that. You might need to fall back in love again-even with the teenagers. When it comes to family the most important chances you took is when she said yes and you said I do and you two committed till death do you part.

If you’re saying this is impossible, are you really telling me there is not a baseball stadium or fishing lake or zoo or museum or concert that you can’t find your way to and just enjoy the day and be in the moment together as a family. Heed the advice of a new viral video. Set a tech Sabbath where everyone logs out of “social” media and ejects the video game disc. You can unplug and re-engage with those you claim to love and care for.

So I ask? Are you happy with your family life? When I ask that question to many of my clients it seems to cause a far away look. It seems like they are having to think about it and then they come back into the present. Most say, “yes.” Sure there are a few things they would like to change but overall they feel blessed, lucky, happy and loved and that makes all the difference. For many they took a chance and had a family, they took a chance and adopted a child, they took a chance and invited an elderly parent to live with them. They took chances that in the moment seemed hard but now it seems like life and that is the chance for which they are grateful.

Let me talk to you. First the tough love: I would be remiss if I didn’t say that when it comes to you, be careful about the chances you take. You have responsibilities that require you to be cautious so you don’t make mistakes today that you’ll pay for tomorrow.

Take care of your health – mentally, emotionally, physically and, I’ll add, spiritually. Take care of your body, your home, and your possessions; these are things we don’t take chances on.

When I encourage you to take a chance, take a calculated chance on your success, on your growth or personal development, on wise opportunities presented to you. I know it’s hard to find quiet time to think, to think about the direction of your life, your job, your future. You must, at some point, just sit down and map out where you’re going because if you don’t know where you’re going any road will take you there. The problem is that might not be where you want to go and you can’t afford to take a chance on that my friend.

What I believe you can take a chance on is your ability to be whatever you want to be. Take a chance that you are stronger than you feel, wiser than you think, more powerful than you know and braver than you believe.

Only you can pull a ticket. Take a chance and step into the light. I am a fan of the British version of Who’s Got Talent. Night after night people of all ages step out on stage into the spotlight and sing. The reaction of the audience is priceless as they mentally size up the person as they walk on stage. Then they have their perceptions dashed when a child sings like an angel or an adult sings opera like they’ve never heard before and then within 90 seconds lives are changed – dreams are either realized or dashed. They all have one thing in common-they took a chance. Think about it, they took a chance on national (or international) TV to make their debut, they took a chance to be heard, seen, and respected. It doesn’t matter if they win. In taking the stage, they took a chance that changed their lives forever. Why? Because at some point in their mundane life they read the sign that said, Take A Chance and in an instant they pulled the ticket.

Friend, is today the day you set aside your fear (false expectations appearing to be real) and take a chance on love on life on you and the gifts and talents that you have been given? Pull the ticket, pin it to your vision board or put it in your wallet or leave it on your desk and be reminded to be brave, to be bold, to be who you were born to be.

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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