Monday, February 25, 2013

Risk = Reward

For reasons of simple circumstance my husband and I both learned to avoid risk.  For him it was being born into abject poverty that stole his willingness to risk much of anything for a very long time.  For me, child abuse and parental mental illness left me with little desire to step very far at all outside the box that I learned to live in.

In the last 5 years or so, we have both gone through a process of steadily learning to put ourselves out there in the world, more and more.  We are each noticing an ability to thrive at higher levels without such a large self imposed safety net. 

Being able to logically asses risk while gaining the skills that only come from having genuine failures under your belt is a true balancing act.  It also builds a level of confidence that cannot be achieved while hiding out in the 'safe zone'.
Credit: Wolfgang Sauber, wikimedia commons
If you are fortunate enough to have learned just how important risk is on the earlier side of life, you probably have a wonderful strong family to thank for that.  And if you are a parent that encourages your children to take risks, even if they are not the risks you would choose to take yourself, I sincerely thank you for your contribution to society!

The idea of risk versus reward has been on my mind a lot this week. 

My risk for this week has been relatively small but the reward was bigger than I would have thought.  While preparing for obedience classes to start, I decided to take my chihuahua to a puppy socialization group.  It turns out the group is mostly great BIG puppies- puppies that gain more weight in a week than my puppy will ever weigh when he is full grown!  I have to admit that I sweated buckets and wanted to run away while my dog hid in the corner during most of the first group session.  But the second session was so much better!  I am glad that I sucked it up and took Tanner back to the group, even though I was feeling quite apprehensive.  He was much better this time, venturing away from the walls and interacting with some of the other dogs.  It was obvious that he was so proud of himself, with his head and tail held high.

My husband is taking a bigger risk this week.  He is in Dallas, TX for an interview that will happen tomorrow.  He feels really good about his chances this time.  He took his favorite shirt with thin purple stripes, rather than the safer light blue one.  He says he feels like he belongs now that he is back in Texas.  We have been through this process so many times.  It would be easy to get burnt out and give up.  And yet we won't.  Although it has been difficult to be patient, it has been fun to watch my husband gain confidence in his abilities to demonstrate his knowledge and skill and KNOW that he will find the right fit for him.  Even if this is not 'it' for us and we end up waiting longer to get to Texas, we both know it WILL happen eventually.
As for now, tomorrow is another opportunity to walk the high wire of life as it was meant to be done- without a net!


  1. “A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for.”
    ― William G.T. Shedd

    Great post! And glad little Tanner, and you have gone back to the class. And my luck to your husband.

    It is true that without risk, it is difficult to grow and find what you are truly capable of accomplishing. I think your right, that the rewards from succeeding when a risk is taken are more than the rewards from succeeding with no risk taken.

  2. I think I needed this today. I'm trying to put myself out there and stop worrying so much about what other people think. I know that's surprising, since you read my blog and all. But honestly, I really seriously worry too much about that.

    Anyway. First, way to step out of your comfort zone! And second, fingers crossed for your husband! So exciting (even though the weather is apparently pretty crappy up there right now)!

  3. Hello, I saw your award shout-out over at Robins. I thought I'd visit. Love your dog. I had one that looked exactly like him but the poor little guy died a year ago at age 16. I still have Cody.... just an old cow dog.

  4. Oh, yay! When you alluded to something big on Tuesday last week on my blog, I was really hoping that meant that you had another job interview in the works! And you do!!! I feel good about this one:)

    I really like how you paralleled two stories of risk. In some ways, they are both equally scary.

    I think that an entire book could be written on this concept of risk and reward. When you think about it, people who keep getting the same results are people who are unwilling to risk making any changes. That means their lives never divert off the existing path. Rather mind-blowing, no?

    1. I was thinking about your comment while I was handling some fragile glassware today and realized that it's when we are trying to be ultra careful that we often screw up. I often have to touch a lot of expensive stuff during the course of a normal work day and I know how many times I've seen people drop and break stuff just while they are trying their hardest to be careful not to. It is interesting.

  5. Jasmine: When Julius Caesar was on his way to battle the barbarians, his troops were starting to hesitate. They were aware that the enemy was merciless, even cannibalistic. Caesar camped for the night before the battle on the other side of the Rubicon River, which had one bridge allowing the soldiers to cross. As soon as they set up camp, Caesar burned the bridge and said, "The die is cast." Go to Texas.

    1. Believe me JJ, as soon as I get the chance I will.


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