There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose.
– Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain
There are so many races to participate in: careers, relationships, hobbies, politics, physical health, and so on. Fear fetters many people in many ways. How do we break from our fear? How do we get in the race and do our best?
Risk. I need only take a risk, participate, try something new. Really, what it comes down to – live your life even if fear binds your ankles.
Risk for me is not the crazy, irrational risk of spontaneously putting my life on the line. That’s a whole other type of risk, and not one I’m necessarily against but one that has it’s own parameters to work within.
No, I’m speaking about the viability of risk on an everyday basis.
Risk in my career means showing up, regardless of what that looks like. Maybe I need to go for that career that I never thought I could have. Maybe I need to actually show up on time and do my job instead of focusing on just getting a paycheck. Maybe I need to adjust my attitude or file a grievance or tell someone they’re doing a great job.
Risk in my relationships means vulnerablity and love, that’s if I want authentic and nourishing relationships. There’s always a balance between receiving and giving in relationships, but sometimes for me I can get lost in what I’m getting or not getting from the other person that I forget to contribute, to see them, to really love them.
Risk in my hobbies start with having some. What do I like to do? What have I always wanted to do but never tried? Am I afraid of failing or not doing my hobbie perfect? It’s amazing to me that I will allow fear to stop me from having fun. Why wouldn’t I want to have fun?
Risk in politics for me is weighing and considering what I really think about something and being willing to own it. Having my own thoughts and opinions doesn’t mean another’s are bad or wrong – just different. And discussing those differing opinions helps me cultivate tolerance and patience, as well as an open mind and connectedness.
Taking a risk with my health is about trying something new. Do I want to feel better? Sometimes getting in there and practicing new behavior to gain health is too scary. I’ll procrastinate not because I don’t want to be healthier but because I’m afraid of what it takes to be healthy. Gratefully, I’ve learned not to stay stuck.
Taking a chance to get in the race, whether I “win” or not is irrelevant. It’s about crossing the finish line regardless of how long it took me to do it. With each risk I take I gain confidence and experience in living life, whether fear binds my ankles or not.
Image Source: Art