Walk The Plank
March 18, 2014
Let's say you had, on the ground, a 20-foot-long wooden plank that is six inches wide and four inches thick. This plank could be laying on any surface - on the grass, on the asphalt, or on a sandy beach.
Here's the question: Could you step up onto, and walk the length of that plank, 20 feet?
Chances are you would say, sure thing, no problem, piece of cake. Easy. And it only took you a few seconds to make that decision. Hey, after all, if you fall off, you just step down. It's safe.
Now, let's say I take that same exact plank, and put it between two buildings 10 stories high. Nothing below you but air, and a cement street 100 feet down. Now would you get on the plank as quickly? It's the same plank. It already has been tested to hold your weight. You can't get blown off because the winds are calm. Even so, most people say they'd never do that in a million years.
So, what's the difference? The plank didn't change. The challenge of walking 20 feet didn't change. What changed was the level of perceived risk. It's just not worth the risk to walk on a plank that high in the air, right? Too many things could go wrong. As long as the plank is on the ground, there is little risk. With the plank in the air, hey, that's dangerous!
YOUR CAREER PLANK AWAITS
Such is the case with your career and your level of success. We hold ourselves back because we feel there is too much risk associated with what we really want to do in our career. Better to play it safe. So we settle for something more comfortable. Or is it? Would we be better off going for our dreams than never having reached for them?
With success (same as with the plank), the greater the risk means the bigger the results. But be advised: The greater risk can also produce greater failure when things go wrong. If you are looking to hit a home run, you have to swing the bat like you mean it. But as a byproduct, your strikeouts will also go up because of it. As long as you understand these metrics, you can make the right choice.
FEAR OF SAFETY
Many people choose to play it safe ... and that is fine. They stay atop the plank while it is on the ground, instead of reaching out and going for it all at the risk of failure. Even trying to stay safe can be overly dangerous. Don't be afraid of achievement, and don't be afraid of playing it safe. Every person knows his or her risk tolerance. Just understand the difference between the two so you know which is right for you.
We slow ourselves down ... hold ourselves back ... while we ought to just go with it. This is due to fear, and remember what fear stands for - False Evidence Appearing Real. You CAN operate at a higher level without falling off the plank. You just don't know you can.
You never know what you can become in your life unless you see what is to be.
In your career and in your life, you will be faced with many planks. Do you keep them on the ground, maintaining safety and growing success from the position of safe, or do you take them to great heights and enjoy success to its fullest? Think it over the next time another plank appears .... and either way, enjoy your achievements!