Friday, July 27, 2012

What Having a Baby Taught Me About Risk Taking

I was adamant that I would be a terrible mother. I had no experience with babies, no motherly instinct or inclination, and considered myself to be terribly selfish. I spent my pregnancy grieving the life I was leaving behind, and terrified of the role I was about to take on. I felt that bringing a child into this world was a huge risk, and one I was terrified to be taking.

When the baby came one glorious day in March, my entire world lit up. Motherhood is nothing if not demanding, but pays dividends. The risk I took to bring Baby Bird into the world was more than worth it. Even if it hadn't quite worked out perfectly (if Baby Bird had been born with an illness or disability), I certainly could never have regretted bringing him into the world.

The best risk-reward scenario I ever took
It seems that I get ideas of what I might want to do in life from time to time, and that when they don't happen, it's almost certainly because I am too scared to take the risk. This ranges from the simple:

"I would like to get my nose pierced, but no, I can't (can I?)" the difficult:

"I would like to start my own business" (This is terrifying on so many levels).

So what is it, exactly, that being a mother has taught me about taking risks?

  • Taking risks is hard. Once you take the plunge, it can take a lot of time, loving care, and hard work.
  • If you put all of yourself into an endeavour, and you listen to that inner voice, you will not be disappointed in yourself.
  • The outcome can be wonderful and fulfilling beyond your wildest hopes and dreams
I still have to remind myself nearly constantly that, without risk, there can be little reward.

  • I'm taking a risk and returning to ballet classes. This is a low risk, but I'm afraid that I'll be the most out of shape and the largest person in the class. The plus is that I've been in the class before, I know how much I love it, and I know how little it matters what size/shape I am. Added bonus: I get to play the "I recently had a baby" card.
  • I'm taking a risk and starting a full-time college program in September. The risks are that it will take some financial finagling to make it work (already done), and that once graduated, I'll have trouble finding work in this field to gain experience. The payoff is that I will one step closer to doing something I am passionate about for a living, and one step closer to being able to own my own business.
  • I'm taking a risk by planning to be a business owner in the not-so-distant future. This is a high-risk endeavour, financially and personally. The payoff will be autonomy, doing something I am passionate about, and having a flexible working arrangement. 

Why not adapt this thinking to other situations to which we don't often attribute any degree of "risk"?

  • Living a healthy lifestyle - I put this on hold so often that I've recently come to understand I must interpret some kind of risk, or else why would I let myself down so often? Risk - failing, or even scarier, SUCCEEDING. Sometimes we fear success simply because it means the unknown. This was the case with motherhood for me. I was terrified of losing my old status quo.
  • Living more generously - this is risky because there is a tendency to believe that I will give, give, give and never reap any reward. However, I have only to look at the wonderful people in my life - who are generous, kind, and always there for me - to know that I am already receiving the payback. 

Tell me about the biggest risk you've taken and how it worked out for you. What did you learn from taking risks in your life?


Natasha said...

My biggest risk was emigrating. I had thought about it for years and years. It was always something that someone else did.
I was so afraid of it that I didnt dare think about it properly for about 13 years. I didnt even click on imigration consultants webpages for the irrational fear of
a)This may set a ball rolling that I cant stop and if I fail I may not be allowed to even visit that country
b) what if I fail. What if I finally find out that I CANT emigrate. I would be stuck with "no chance" reality forever and that would be too terrible.
c) what if I succeed and its not what I want it to be. What if reality isnt up to the dream. It would be a crushing disappointment.

In the end we just did it. We got involved in an internet forum where we were with like minded people and realised that we COULD do this. We not only went through the process but we did the paperwork ourselves, sold our home with nothing and no job to go to and got on a plane with two children.
2 years later and we live in Canada and are living the dream.

Tiffanie A said...

Hey Girly! I nominated you for a bloggy award! Go check it out

Brandalyn said...

I really hope you go back to ballet class!!