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Risky Business

To take, or not to take; which is the biggest risk?

So, here we are, almost 9 months (Jesus wept) deep into 2021, and a common theme amongst the content I'm reading on newsfeeds and listening to in conversations, is "how the fuck are we more than half way through the year already!?" Majority are still sitting trying to process 2020, and rightfully so! It was the year that has started, what will be, a new topic to teach in the history classes of first year high school. But the important lesson I have learnt from 2020 and carried with me throughout these, what feels like accelerated, months of this current year, is that the world is constantly changing at a speed just as rapid, and so the only way to manoeuvre through, is to take risks. My hope is that they include this somewhere on page 34 of the textbooks.

I write this just as I have taken my biggest risk yet - working the last day in what was my 9-5 job in insurance, to focus all my time and energy into making my coaching business the great success that I intend it to be. Some may think I'm mental, leaving a secure job that I have worked in for the last 7 and a bit years of my life to build up a decent annual wage. But at the risk of sounding cheesy, my happiness has a much greater value than what any salary can give me. I'd rather live with the uncertainty of not knowing how much I'll make each month, than continue to give away 8 hours a day, 5 days a week of my time in this life, to a job that no longer serves me. To me, the greater risk would have been to not take this risk.

That being said, this does not mean that I have taken this lightly. In this week running up to my last day, I have been completely riddled with feelings of fear, worry and self-doubt. The inner saboteur has been ever present, bringing with it old thought patterns that I used to live by, "You can't do this. You're not good enough to make this work. You know it. Everyone knows it." In the past this would have been enough for me to roll over and quit. Just give up because it's far too terrifying and at least this way I'm safe, I'm secure. But when did anyone ever learn when they played it safe? When did anyone grow from just being secure? The old saying goes "If you're not moving forward, you're moving back" but if you're not moving at all, you're just staying where you are, stuck. Some people may argue that they're happy where they are, they're happy in their comfort zone. But if you knew that you could do and be more than what you are currently right now, would you still settle? I'm here to tell you that your dreams are possible. You've just got to be willing to do whatever it takes to make it work.

Every single one of us is absolutely bursting at the seams with potential, whether we believe it or not. I know this so deeply to be true and can see it and feel it within myself and in everyone around me. This belief is enough for me to quieten my own negative internal chatter that's trying to keep me on the side lines, and embrace my true self which is screaming to be put on the pitch. This belief also still comes with feelings of fear, and it always will, but it's through leaning into those fears and doing it anyway that we start to see the pay off of our risks. Dare to embarrass yourself. Dare to make mistakes. Dare to be brave. Dare to do the things that others don't. Dare to just be you.

Coaching is all about holding the space for someone to realise their own potential. To move out of their comfort zone in order to grab the opportunities that present themselves as they move past their own obstacles, in the form of limiting beliefs and self-doubt. How could I possibly ever expect this of anyone I work with, if I don't do this myself? Just because I am on the other side, doesn't mean that I have it all figured out. What it means is I myself have been in the same position as the the person coming to be coached. I have been and will continue to be, moving out of my own comfort zone and can resonate with the feelings and the challenges that this transition can bring. I know first hand that's it's not easy, in fact I know that it can be so difficult, but I also know the benefits that it reaps and the rewards that it brings.

In these past 12 months, I have taken more risks than I have taken in the duration of my life. But that's not to say that there haven't been any before. The start of this process has been gradual for me, first occurring when I decided to take back control of my life over depression at the start of 2017 and swapped the pills in favour of meditation, which could have been a complete disaster. There was a risk that I could have fallen back into dark habits, or there was the risk that I could be happier than I had been in a very long time. Thankfully, the latter prevailed. That didn't then mean that everything was smooth sailing, but we covered this at length in my Open Letter To Myself. The self-development journey from there was bumpy and inconsistent, still choosing to follow and tolerate the feelings of resistance more than my desire to do better. That brings us back to around this time last year and the months following, where a spout of Covid, a string of panic attack inducing heavy nights out (before restrictions were back in place, of course) and an overwhelming feeling of being somewhat lost, lead me to the decision of laying off the booze. This may not seem like a risk to some, but for someone who's social circle was heavily based on drinking, there was the risk of feeling alienated, which almost lead me to reverse my decision. However I knew that I did not like the intoxicated version of myself and I very much doubt anyone else did either. The first 6 months of 2021 was spent with a clear sober head and it was the best decision I have ever made and the best I have ever felt. It strengthened relationships, gave me more confidence in myself and ultimately lead me to take the risks of investing a lot of money in two courses, running at the same time, whilst working full-time, move back into my mum's house (and sleeping on a two seater couch I might add, lucky I'm only 5ft1) quitting my job to peruse my passion of serving others as a life & meditation coach and now looking to buy a van (still to pass my driving test, but fuck the wee details) to turn into a chic home on wheels to travel around with someone I have known for less than 2 months. She's lost the plot? Maybe. But I can honestly say with a full heart, that this is the happiest I can ever remember being.

I would usually find it difficult to champion myself like this, but I'm taking the opportunity to recognise and celebrate the progress and the achievements I have made, even with the looming fear of being judged for doing so. I've still got so many layers to peel back, but I'm having the best time uncovering parts of myself that I once thought lost or non-existent. All from feeling into the fear that comes with every risk and saying "fuck it, I'm going to do it anyway!" I am now also investing to work with coaches myself, to help me navigate through this massive transitional period of my life, because we all can benefit from having someone with us on the journey, giving us a bit of guidance if we veer off path, or cheer us on when we make breakthroughs, or just for someone to keep us believing in ourselves. And for me, bearing this gift of being that person for someone else, knowing myself the power that it has, is the most rewarding pay off.

Taking a risk to get what you want out of life requires courage to face the fear of uncertainty and believe that it'll work out, even if you don't have all the answers right now. But no matter the outcome, either way we will still grow through the process and become more resilient, more confident and more aligned with our true selves.

So, the long and short of it is, TAKE THE RISKS! Feel the fear. Acknowledge it. Welcome it in. Make friends with it. I know it's scary, I feel ya. But what's even scarier is staying stuck somewhere you know you can get out of if you just begin let go on that resistance that's keeping you there and grab a hold of the opportunities in front of you that can pull you out.

Keep on keeping on,

Nico X

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