I feel pretty happy today, with no apparent reason. But deep down, I think I know why. First of all, I’m taking a risk. Yes, professionally, I am trained to not take risks. Culturally, I’ve been trained to think that risk equals the pain of failure. Sure, Steve Jobs took risks, and became very successful, but Steve Jobs is special. Right? Not always; I recently read an article listing his failures, which secretly delighted me. He was a risk-taker, but even he failed occasionally. It didn’t stop him, though. He kept at it, and when his risks paid off, they influenced the world. I’m not Steve Jobs, though, and my comfort level with risk-taking is a little lower. But here I am, taking a risk, and enjoying it. I’m not doing it for money or because someone is telling me to. I’m doing it because it supports a more expansive vision of who I wish to be.
Which brings me to the other reason I’m happy. I’ve started some new classes, in something that interests me. Nothing delights me like learning something new. I won’t lie, law school was a bitch, but I enjoyed going anyway. Why? Because I was learning something that stretched my personal abilities and boundaries. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. Many people failed, and I could too. I might not even like what I learned; I might quit and be a “failure.” So there was the element of risk raising its head again. But I really enjoyed the aspect of going to school every day and wondering what new things I would learn, and how I would apply them. I’m doing the same thing now, and I love it.
There is still the secret, inner terror that I won’t succeed. That I’ll “fail” here as in all the other multitudes of ways that I suspect that I’ve failed other things. But I’ve stacked the deck, and I’m taking classes in something with which I am already somewhat proficient. But I’m stretching my wings and moving from beginner to advanced student, daring to believe that I can grow. Once again, I’m excited about all the ways that I can apply this new knowledge to other areas of my life.
Taking a risk like this means that something is going to change, and sometimes I forget how good that feels. I understand that I can be a change agent. Injecting change into a stagnant area of life is something I enjoy, so this new endeavor is right up my alley. I’m learning something new, stretching my wings. Soon, I’ll figure out how to fly in a whole new direction. Bring it on!