Cam Taylor

Be inspired. Be focused. Be tenacious.

Worth the Risk

To laugh is to risk appearing a fool,
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement,
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss
To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow,
But he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live.
Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.

Attributed to Poet William Arthur Ward


What exactly is risk?


  • to expose to danger or loss
  • to act in spite of the possibility of injury or loss

To live is to risk. If you walk outside, something terrible could happen to you. You could slip on the sidewalk, be attacked by a passing dog, be hit by a distracted driver, drop dead from a heart attack.  If you stay home, you’re at risk of loss and injury. If you want a new friend, to start a business, to change your life, to dream a dream, it could hurt.

If you’re a risk avoider, you do what you can to play it safe so exposure doesn’t hurt you. You evaluate every decision based on the possible dangers associated with that decision. If you are a risk avoider, you most likely find yourself trying to dance without moving your feet and trying to live without feeling alive.

There is risk in doing physical things (like riding motorcycles and jumping out of airplanes) but there are also risks when we love, laugh, weep, reach out, expose feelings, try, hope, and place our ideas before others.

I don’t know about you but I’m choosing to risk. I choose to risk because I am realizing life is too short to play it safe and make it my goal to avoid suffering and pain.

Some key lessons I’m learning about risk?

  • Risk is essential for growth.

If you want to learn a new skill, to make a new friend, launch out in a new direction, there is a chance it won’t go well. Failure is always a possibility. But if you see risk as negative and undesirable, then you’ll not grow due to the discomfort of the new venture.

  • Risk is unavoidable if you want to feel alive.

I was out for a mountain bike ride the other day and there were hills involved – long slow-to-climb hills. I had the thought, “Am I ready for this?” It was a risk to put myself out there in my condition but I took the risk (after some risk assessment) and dove in. It was well worth it!

  • Risk includes nervous and awkward moments

To risk means to “expose yourself to danger or loss.” It doesn’t mean the danger will strike or the loss will be experienced but it might. The key is to push through the nervous and awkward moments of hesitation. When you push through, there is a list of possibilities waiting on the other side:

  • new discoveries
  • new relationships
  • new opportunities
  • new growth
  • new experiences

Five questions to help you locate where you need to risk

To be a risk taker, it starts by evaluating your life to see where you are in danger of playing it too safe and avoiding growth opportunities disguised as risks.

When looking for areas in your life to risk more, these five questions might help.

  • What do I want to learn?
  • How do I need to act in order to feel more alive?
  • What do I want to change?
  • Where do I want to grow?
  • How do I want to live?

You might want to read over the risk poem every day over the next week to remind you why living life fully is well worth the risk!

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About Cam Taylor

Life and leadership coach, transition & change specialist, husband, dad, leader, writer, life long learner.

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