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What Will You Risk for Joy?

Courtney Lynch, January 6, 2020


I love this picture. To me it represents two people embracing the moment fully and having a great time.  As we enter a new year, and a new decade, it’s important for leaders to focus on intentional action. The more we have clarity around our vision of a life well led, the more likely we are to have spontaneous, authentic moments of joy.

This is the time of year where we often ask ourselves: Is our life going according to plan? Are we heading in directions that matter to us? Joy isn’t just about having fun. It comes from feeling good about the commitments we’ve made to our families, careers, communities and interests. To find joy in the day-to-day routines of our lives, we must be willing to take risks to design a life that’s meaningful to us. Much has been written on the topic of courage. Before we can muster courage to move forward in the face of our fears, we must embrace risk.

Risk is equal parts exposure to the chance of injury or loss and the opportunity of positive possibility in the unknown. Embracing risk means understanding how to evaluate risk so you can choose to take the ones that have the greatest likelihood of reward and learning. We need to “risk pick” to succeed as leaders and, most importantly, to lead fulfilling lives. Risks well taken lead to amazing joy, impact and contribution.

Risk isn’t worth it if you can’t find peace through it. So how do we select the “right” risks to take during this season of our lives? Consider these reflection questions:

  • Imagine it’s the end of 2020 and you are looking back on the year. What do you want to be celebrating? What chances do you need to take to make that vision a reality? How do you need to focus your efforts?
  • How about the end of the decade? Ten years lived intentionally can be quite powerful.
  • What part of your life are you currently least satisfied with? How have you played it too safe in this lane? What risk, change, or new direction in this aspect of life is worth attempting?
  • What’s going great for you right now? Can you see how risk and taking chances have contributed to your satisfaction?

Nothing in my message is about taking big, heart stopping risks. My hope is that you’ll recognize that consistent, small risks, taken intentionally over time, add up to a life of meaning and positive impact.  And, when you do fail (because we all will) you’ll be reminded that there is so much value in our missteps. We typically learn more with our missteps than we do with our successes. Here’s to a great 2020! May you risk a little and learn a lot… two important steps on the path to joy.

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