Each time you risk something–money, an opportunity, your time, a friendship–you have to check your risk tolerance. You can make a list of pros and cons, you can ask for help, but in the end, the decision you make to take or pass on the risk is up to you. You have to live with it and you have to live with the consequence.
Each time risk shows up in my life, I go through three phases. These steps might sound familiar, or maybe you never thought about what happens when you face risk.
1. First comes fear and the absolute certainty that I can’t do whatever I am facing. A clown car of inner critics shows up and brings their relatives, each with a list of my shortcomings and failings to review.
2. Then comes the immense yearning of what could be accomplished, what I might have to contribute, if only I were good enough, smart enough, prepared enough, rich enough.
3. Finally, I decide that I’m the only one who can make myself stand up for what needs to be done. I balance what I want to achieve with what I fear–what could happen if I am wrong about the outcome.
The quote from the Talmud I love in these situations is, “You do not need to complete the work, neither can you put it down.” Starting will have to do. More often than not, I am enough. Have enough. Can give enough. There are others who surround me. Their opinion is theirs to own. I must stand in my own.
—Quinn McDonald is a life coach and creativity coach. She is not immune to having to face tough decisions and not knowing what to do.