Take Risks. Make Mistakes.

By Diane

Thank you for joining me on this journey as I share with you in 2017 the 12 Chapters of my soon to be book, A Woman Alive. The 12 Principles for Living Alive. The 12 Guiding Principles are all of the lessons I have learned along the way, all of the tools and ideas that have helped me to re-frame the story of my life.

Our third Guiding Principle is
“Take Risks.  Make Mistakes”

When Jessica, my daughter, was 10 years old we made the decision to sell my house and move to New York City. Jessica was homeschooling and in a Homeschooling Dance program that was not really working for her. At age 9 she had drawn a picture of our apartment in New York City (an apartment that did yet exist) and declared that she was going to go to LaGuardia Performing Arts High School – a school that became well known through the movie FAME.

I had no idea what lay before us and was in a bit of shock that I was willing to give up my home that I loved in Medway MA. We had many good and dear friends yet no strong ties. Jesse was dancing a lot and really wanted to consider dancing professionally.

I remember the day when I told the other Moms in our Dance program that we were leaving, selling the house and moving to NYC. The response that most stunned me was, “You are so lucky that you have a choice.”

For many us we make-up the story that we do not have a choice, we have convinced ourselves that are stuck in our current situation. We believe there are just too many variables out of our control that lock us into our present circumstances.

I believe that in truth we always have a choice. What prevents us so often from making a new choice is the fear of the unknown, the fear of taking a risk when we do not know the outcome, the fear of making the “wrong” decision, the fear of making a “bad” decision.

And so we sold the house and made the move.

Things were not always easy doing those years in New York City. I figured out the High School Admission process in NYC and after auditioning and participating in “testing” for the first time in her life Jessica did get into LaGuardia. However – all was not as it seemed and as soon as Jesse entered High school we began to have some intense struggles. Jessica left LaGuardia after 10th grade. We both had several years of personal challenges, my daughter living as a teenager in NYC and myself as a single and confused mom in NYC.

Jesse and I took a huge risk and we were willing to make mistakes, a lot of them actually. When I look back now at where we landed I cannot help but smile. Jesse is graduating from Syracuse this year with a degree in music business. She already has a job offer and is moving to LA (her dream town!) in May. I am living on Long Island, a place I knew absolutely nothing about 10 years ago, thriving with an incredible life partner and waiting for a season of sailing on our brand new boat.

We can never know the outcome of our choices. We can never have absolute certainty what will happen when we take a risk. And we may make many mistakes along the way of our journey. But whether we are stuck or in action making choices and taking risk we WILL make mistakes, it is inevitable.

The power of taking a risk and being willing to make mistakes is in the lessons we learn.

For Jesse and I we have learned many lessons from that risk we took years ago. We learned that things do not always go as planned – but they still go – and sometimes the outcome is more then we could ever imagined. We learned that when we make a mistake we change gears again and move forward with new knowledge, new insights we would not have had if we had not plunged ahead. And we learned that sometimes our biggest mistakes are our biggest wins because of the deep personal growth that takes place.

We always have a choice. We can choose to stay where we are, to stay in our comfort zone. There is that very popular saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” The ONLY way we can create different results is to do life differently. And when we choose to do life differently we will make mistakes. No doubt about it. Learning how to look at mistakes as opportunities and learning experiences can help us to be more willing to take risks and make changes.

Why are we so afraid of change? What are those barriers that keep us glued to the same spot even when we are uncomfortable? We are afraid of failing, of pain and of criticism. We are afraid to let go of what we have because we imagine then we may loose everything. Some of us are even afraid of our own success because we do not know if we will be able to handle the pressure or how others will see us. We mentality paint a picture of stuck. We put ourselves in the corner facing the wall because we deny that under all the excuses and fear we really do have a choice.

If we look back over our life we can clearly see that we have made mistakes, that not all of our choices, in hindsight, were the best for us. And yet here we are today. You took a risk on your career choice, your relationship choice, where you live and probably a whole host of things. Were all the choices perfect? Have you made mistakes? Of course. But here you are today and you can make choices, take new risks and use potential mistakes or mis-steps to be the fertilizer for personal growth and expansion.

Take Risks. Make a Mistake. Get uncomfortable. Live Alive and create new possibility.  Start today.