What To Do When It Is Time To Take A Leap Of Faith

What To Do When It Is Time To Take A Leap Of Faith

Well, the holiday season is upon us. There will be lots of food and fellowship, but there will hopefully be some down time to stop and think about what’s next. It will be 2020 soon.

What will you do next year will get you closer to your dream, your calling, if you are not already doing some version of that every day?

I can tell you this: there is almost always an element of risk involved when we make big changes. Some people seem to handle risk better than others.

You ever wish you could do that? Just leap before you look and not give it a second thought? It sounds like an adventure, doesn’t it? No regrets. No what ifs. No maybes. Just that glorious feeling when you step out on the air, knowing you are going somewhere.

I have always believed that there is no reward if there’s no risk. It became even clearer when I interviewed women for my book, Women Make Great Leaders. Every one of these women decided that regret was a lot worse than failure. So, they took their chances, pursued what they loved, and are prospering today because of it.

I learned in Economics 101 that profit is inextricably tied to risk. Theoretically, the more risk, the more potential profit. This is true in careers as well. People who choose entrepreneurial careers know this firsthand. They build economic engines and they borrow money and bravely step out on the ledge to see if their seemingly good idea can come to fruition. Safety is almost an afterthought for these people.

It takes a lot of trust to jump like that, doesn’t it? Do you trust yourself? To really trust yourself, I believe that you have to truly know yourself. There are a lot of valuable tools and assessments these days to figure out how you are wired. In the words of the late Don Clifton, inventor of one of those instruments, the Clifton StrengthsFinder, every person on the planet can do at least one thing better than ten thousand other people.

So, what’s your one thing? Have you figured that out? Is it what you are doing now or are you being called by the siren song of another career entirely?

Perhaps you have momentum in your current career. That’s great, but it shouldn’t keep you from taking time out to reflect on where you are and who you are at this moment in time. Add up all your experience and know-how and education and relationships and then be honest with yourself. Is what you are doing now it? Or is it time to jump into the unknown?

That can be a risky proposition, but every decision one way or the other has inherent risks. The fact is, there are opportunity costs for all of the things we don’t choose to do. Regret is one of those costs. As we get older it’s hard not to look back and wonder what could have been.

Yes, there’s the possibility of failure when you step out of line and try something different. Stretching always brings that possibility. But I have learned that there are many definitions of failure. I can live with most of them and I have even learned a thing or two from my worst failures. But the one definition I cannot live with is the one that says I failed by never trying.

So, here’s the bottom line: Stop your career train and get off long enough to get quiet and figure out what makes your dreamer come alive. If it’s what you are already doing, then get back on the train and keep going. If it’s not, do your due diligence and figure it out. Remember, you were made to do great things in this world. Get started. Have no fear. Don’t teeter on the edge of what you are meant to do. Take a leap of faith. Get to know yourself. Dream again. And as you do, be thankful that you live in a country where, once you know what you want to try, you can actually take concrete steps toward it and eventually be whatever you want to be.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Forbes.com Contributor

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