How Mindful Risks Can Create Lasting Change

In order to open yourself up and stop settling for a life that keeps you small, you actually have to be somewhat outrageous.

Aurora Photos/Alamy

Being a stand-up comic was one of my life’s fantasies. So when the owner of a chain of comedy clubs saw my one-woman show and invited me to perform at his venue, I was pretty excited. But as the date drew closer I became increasingly restless. “Why?” I screamed into my pillow. “Why did I decide to put myself out there?!”

Whether you are posting a profile on eHarmony, joining a local ping-pong club, or asking for a raise, moving into new territory takes bravery. This is especially true since there’s no certainty that your courageous act will bring you the approval of others or anything at all that you think you might want.

So what’s the appeal? Putting yourself out there can be the depth charge that breaks you out of harmful habits. The very habits you cling to that may seem like they are keeping you safe are actually just keeping you small. And as Nelson Mandela said, “There’s no passion to be found playing small—in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

Step back from your life and recall any moments you couldn’t imagine surviving. Yet you did survive, and…