“Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.”
~Ray Bradbury

The very thought of this scares me…and exhilarates me. Somehow the visual clearly comes to mind of running towards a cliff and leaping, without having stopped to build my wings or prepare my flight. It seems crazy, and yet…

There are times when jumping first and planning later is a great idea. When too much time spent on wing building risks us losing our opportunity, and when spending so much time in preparing causes us to lose the impetus to jump at all.

A colleague recently shared with me her desire to jump into a project at work, although she didn’t feel completely prepared. She didn’t necessarily have her wings built yet, but she was excited by the idea of the project, the challenge, and the potential amazing results. She didn’t want to lose her chance to be involved in something that seemed so great to her – and so she approached her boss, laid out her plan, and offered to jump. Her boss, at first, hesitated, but then he recognized her enthusiasm and offered her the opportunity to figure it out – to build her wings – midflight. He also scheduled extra time with her over the ensuing weeks to make sure that he could help her build her wings, and that he could help catch her if she started to nosedive.

I know this colleague well and I’m certain that she will succeed, or at least find a way to make a success out of whatever happens. I’m certain the project will go through, and even more certain that she will learn a great deal and continue to move her career forward. She took a risk, jumped off the cliff, and had the support and partnership of her boss to do it. Like the lessons in our blog post from last year, Grit is a leadership competency, she reminds me that grit and “stick-to-it-ness” can help me put forth extra effort. She reminds me that I can try some things with a bit less planning. She reminds me that there are times when I, when we all, need to take a risk. So I intend to (safely) do so. How about you?

Be smart…but jump. Take the risk.

Where do you need to live more at risk? How can you support yourself to build your wings on your way down?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For a free consultation on effectively bringing risk into your life, career, and business, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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