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Rethink Risk

Courtney Lynch, March 18, 2019

Risk by its very nature is supposed to be scary.  We are taught to fear it, mitigate it and avoid it.  Yet if we look at our lives, risk is often the precursor to joy, exhilaration and achievement.   Over the past two years, I’ve made some risky moves professionally.   I ran for public office.   I accepted a client project that required my family and me to move to England.  I completely reimaged the strategy for my business. 
When I look back on the leaps of faith I’ve made, I smile.  None of them went according to plan.  Not even close.  Being elected and serving on my local Board of Supervisors didn’t work out for me.  You can read about that here.  Moving to England?   There were amazing opportunities on the family front as we traveled Europe and my kids attended fabulous British schools.  And, less than best results on the professional front as my client organization dealt with layoffs and bad press.  Funny thing, though, is I have found joy, growth, and profound peace despite the challenge, change and yes, risk, of the past two years.
Taking leap, after leap to achieve my goals and realize long held dreams has been energizing and clarifying.  And, the intensity of the experiences have definitely shaped me.   While I’ve felt sadness that pathways I envisioned for my career are actually not good fits for me, I am wiser.  When I began seeking to lead in new and different ways, by serving in public office, or as an executive in a rapidly scaling British tech company, I had hoped to find a niche that would scratch a professional itch to be more.
What I realized through the journey was that I fit best, and I am in a position to have positive impact, when I am back right where I started, serving and supporting leaders in their development through my work at Lead Star.   It’s good to be home.  It’s even sweeter knowing I had the opportunity to take chances, ride awesome waves of success, experience the type of big failures that allow you to level up better, all while meeting great people and pushing the boundaries of my leadership capabilities. I’ve grown to love and appreciate risk.  Risk is an amazing teacher.  By stepping out and making choices that were outside my lane of safety and security I learned:

  • The important stuff is the important stuff.  I have an amazing family and an ecosystem of people I love and care about.  Riding a professional roller coaster made me value the stability positive relationships bring to my life.
  • The highs are never as high as the lows are low.   The pursuit of success is enticing.  Yet the more you achieve, the more you realize how fleeting it is.  Striving is fun, until it’s not.  True joy is surprising.  You can’t really plan for it.  Instead, if you work hard, follow your heart and stay open to the unexpected, it finds you.
  • Excellence is more of a driver for me than money is.  If you are committed to being better, you can develop your talent and make money doing what you value and enjoy.

What’s on the horizon that appears just a little too risky for you?   What choice do you want to make, but fear is holding you back?  I wholeheartedly encourage you to embrace risk.  Keep in mind that courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s taking action in the face of it.  The chances we take will define us in ways we can’t imagine.  That’s the sweet reward of risk. 

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