How Daring Have You Been?
At the end of June of this year, during my 2014 mid-year self-review, I uncovered something interesting. I had listed every activity, decision, or notable occurrence that had happened in the last six months. I listed people I met with, mentors I talked to, trips I took, and activities at work, among others. There were a little over a 100 items on my list. I rated each one on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being something awesome, and 1 being something awful). Then I went to the “awesome list” and thought on what personal traits I had applied in these circumstances. I wanted to see how it was that I had acted in each of these areas that had given me the most rewarding results.
It was guts.
I am not saying I was brave in everything I did. I was not. But in the few areas that I considered awesome, I found that I had operated with boldness and courage. I had guts! What do I mean by guts? There is a nice Yiddish word that I like which means just that: Chutzpah. In short, unabashed audacity. By far, what propelled me forward was not giving in to timidity or fear. It was being willing to act, even when I was a little scared. Even though I knew I could fail.
One my favorite quotes, which I’ve been meditating on recently, is this one from Oprah Winfrey.
Devote today to something so daring, even you can’t believe you’re doing it. - Oprah Winfrey
And so the question that resulted from my reflection, a question that I aim to meditate on often for a few months is simply this: Am I acting with guts?
Whatever it is you are doing or facing, join me today to have more boldness, more courage, and more faith. To help us do that, I have composed a few questions to guide us to a more fiery and fearless journey:
- Am I taking time to think and dream? Being gutsy—really gutsy—comes from attacking big dreams. Big dreams come from thinking, reflecting, slowing down, and listening. It means listening to your heart, listening to God, listening to those who are close to you and to those who are not. If you feel you are acting boldly, but not in areas that directly support your big visions, then you are likely reacting to whatever randomly comes up. Make time to think and dream, then strike! I love the way John Maxwell puts it, “When the thrill of action replaces the discipline of thinking, you are in trouble.”
- Am I surrounding myself with the right people? What I love even more is thinking with others and then striking together. Being daring together will solidify your team like nothing else. If the key people in your life are always pulling back, telling you to not risk anything, to not do anything bold, to just stay behind with them, in a safe, cozy place, you become less likely to be gutsy. Stop today and ask yourself if the closest people to you (your spouse, siblings, coworkers, children, friends) are your fans cheering you on. Or, are they constantly talking you down and holding you back?
- Do I know what not to risk? There are certain areas we should never risk. One is our health. Another is our relationships. We must not push our health or our relationships to the brink of becoming fractured and frail. And while the line can be quite fine, being gutsy must not become being foolish. We must discover the difference as we journey on, and protect our health and relationships.
- How will I deal with failing? A part of living with boldness is the occasional missteps. When those happen, if we do not have a healthy way of thinking about them, we will gradually lose our intensity and our sense of daring. A fabulous example of a person with a healthy respect for failure is billionaire, Sara Blakely. Read more here about how her perspective on failure launched her into success.
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