|It’s pretty common for us all to reflect upon the service and sacrifice made by our Veterans on Veterans Day. I’d like to ask that you honor our Veterans by spending a few minutes taking your appreciation deeper by thinking about what you can learn from those, who at such an early stage in their lives, swore to support and defend the US Constitution … even at the cost of their lives.
Think about that for a second. These young men and women were willing to give up everything in order for us all to experience our freedoms. Naturally, you’ve got to wonder “why?”
My experience in the Marines showed me that my colleagues, who came from all walks of life, either enlisted or sought commissions due to a higher calling. They saw the military as an opportunity for them to better their lives, join a high-performing team, serve their country, and be a part of something so significant that they were willing to risk it all for it.
Sure, it says something about the organizations they were joining. But I think it says more about these individuals and their tolerance for risk. They knew their risk-taking would lead to better – however they defined “better.”
The same is true for us. Our ability to accept risk is the bridge that gets us from where we are to where we want to be.
Whether early career, mid-career or in a legacy season, our ability to take some measure of risk is an often overlooked, yet quite significant, success factor. Not accepting risk leads to discontentment, un-fulfillment, disappointment. It can culminate into a life chock-full of regret, where you look back on all pivotal moments of your life wishing you would have taken bolder action so that you would’ve reaped rewards you missed out on. In fact, studies show that people regret more what they didn’t do, versus what they’ve chosen to do, even if it didn’t work out like they thought it would.
Ultimately, risk taking shouldn’t be about epic moments, it should be an everyday habit. If we seek out challenge consistently, we pave the path for not only growing ourselves, but also for expanding our opportunity to contribute, support and inspire others.
Thinking back all those years ago to the day I signed up to serve in Marine Corps, I knew I was making an important choice. I was nervous, excited, and ready to see if I could make the cut. The Corps offered no guarantees of a spot on the roster, just the opportunity to embark on the ten week job interview – aka Officer Candidate School. During those ten weeks I was pushed, tested and stretched mentally, physically and emotionally. While I thought I had to score well on every exam and exercise demanded of me, I soon figured out the expectation was not mastery, it was courage and accountability in the face of defeat.
By the time I raised my right hand to take the Oath of Office, I had begun to realize the reward of taking a chance: betterment happens when you are willing to step forward into the unknown. Every thoughtful chance we take makes us stronger, wiser and more capable.
Thank you for reading this and taking time today to honor Veterans Day by reflecting on how you can take small chances each day. Those choices will allow you to capitalize on the rewards risk brings.
My best, Courtney.
PS What risk are you considering taking? I’d love to hear from you – email me at email@example.com.