Risky Business: Crashing Scooters & Self-Investment

Since starting our business, I’ve been constantly reminded that “growth only occurs outside of the comfort zone.” 

It wasn’t until I started taking risks that this concept began to really resonate with me.  And yet, overcoming fear is still one of my biggest struggles as an entrepreneur.  To get better at this, I’ve made a commitment to myself to be intentional about embracing the “uncomfortable” in every area of my life. I figure, the more I practice and exercise my risk-taking muscles, the stronger they will become.

Last month, my husband and I traveled to California for vacation.  When we arrived in Los Angeles, we were surprised to discover that on almost every sidewalk you could find scooters, called Birds, that were available to the public for use. After one afternoon in Santa Monica in which it took us 30 minutes to drive two miles, we started to realize the genius of these Birds.

My husband was dying to give the scooters a try, but I’ll embarrassingly admit that I was nervous about it.  My go-to habit of worrying about all the things that could go wrong kicked in. “Drivers in Los Angeles are crazy, what if they hit me while I’m on the scooter?” And, “I don’t have very good balance, what if I wipe out in front of my husband?” But it suddenly hit me that this was an opportunity to practice embracing my discomfort and move forward in spite of my worries.  I agreed to hop on the Birds and travel the two miles to the beach with him. As we turned our first corner, I accidentally hit the gas instead of the break as I was putting my foot down on the street and I heard people cackle at me as I began running next to my scooter that was still flying forward at 10 miles an hour.  I bruised my foot and took the small blow to my ego, but it didn’t take long to re-correct and learn from the mistake. When we got home, it was clear that the scooters beat fighting through the terrible traffic.

The next morning, we decided to use the scooters again, I took a deep breath and decided to embrace the feeling of nervous excitement.  When I stopped focusing on the fear and just allowed the sun to shine on my face and the wind to blow my hair back, I actually felt a peaceful joy while using the Bird.

My experience on the scooter got me thinking about how many times in my life I avoid something that’s uncomfortable because my mind wanders to the extreme of everything that could possibly go wrong. Yet so often the things we worry about either never happen or they aren’t nearly as bad as we think they’ll be.  I wasn’t hit by any cars and I didn’t wipe out.  I did fall once but that tiny setback was worth the fun we had riding on them.  It was not an incredibly significant experience, but I’m a firm believer that how you show up to do anything is how you show up to everything.  

Right before my vacation, I was presented with a few timely opportunities to grow my business, but one required obtaining my Executive Coaching Certification, which involves upfront financial risk.  And sure enough, the worries of what all could possibly go wrong immediately entered my mind.  I decided to put off the decision until I returned from California.  When I got home, I decided that I didn’t want to let my fears of what could go wrong stop me from pursuing this opportunity now, because an executive coaching certification is going to help me live more of my passions in my daily life.

Thus, my goal with this new opportunity is to choose to focus on the excitement and embrace the uncomfortable.  That doesn’t mean I’m not still a little nervous about the financial commitment, but I also know that just as companies do not grow without financial investments, people do not grow without investing in themselves. Regardless of the outcomes, the real reward is the growth we experience in the process.

Getting out of the comfort zone doesn’t equal happiness all the time.  We will fall and make mistakes when we’re taking risks, and sometimes our egos might get bruised or it may require sacrifice.  I’ve learned from experience that getting uncomfortable is the only way we make significant changes.

It is through taking risks to get out of our comfort zone, embracing what makes us nervous, and defying our own expectations, this is what leads to fulfillment. 

What small steps can you take to practice taking more risks and getting outside your comfort zone?  We want to hear from you in the comments!

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