Growing up we had a small speed boat that we'd take out to the lake on the weekends. I loved water skiing and sunbathing, but when the boat would stop, my sisters would rush to climb the cliffs that surrounded the lake to jump 30 feet into the freezing cold water. This was not my idea of fun. It seemed too risky. One day, however, my sister, Delaney, talked me into climbing up the cliff with her. Once up there, I figured my options were to climb back down the steep rocks or just jump. I decided to jump. There were rocks beneath and I could have broken my leg, chipped a tooth, died (ok maybe I'm exaggerating a bit), or had an amazing time! Jumping off the cliff was exhilarating and pretty incredible. I loved the adrenaline rush and it was quite the high while falling. Hitting the water was a bit painful, but definitely worth the ride down. For me, jumping off that cliff seemed like a huge risk, but it paid off.
I am not a risk taker. I am not a gambler. But life is not won by playing it safe. Taking risks is a daily part of running a small business. This week we placed our biggest order yet! We ordered more inventory than we even have in stock right now from our newest workshop in Bangalore, India. For us, this is absolutely necessary. We have amazing customers ready to support our efforts to employ women in India, and are excited to expand our offerings. The more skirts we order, the more women we are able to support. However, this is a big financial risk for us. We are spending thousands and thousands of dollars, with the hopes that we will be able to make enough of a profit to educate even more women. There are hundreds of questions that come with this. Will the skirts be good enough quality to sell? Will our customers like the skirts? Have we chosen the best fabrics? Are our designs appealing to a substantial amount of women? Are we ordering too many skirts? Are we not ordering enough? Did we order too many smalls and not enough larges? And so on and so on. But again- risks are inevitable and absolutely necessary.
So what can you take from this? I'm not entirely sure to be honest. I'm still figuring everything out myself. But here's some advice from my risk taking this past week... When taking a risk:
1. Get out of your comfort zone.
Know your boundaries, but push them. You will never know what you're capable of if you stay within the confines of what you've always known and what you've always done.
2. Understand what's at stake.
If you think taking a risk will be easy, think again. Know that taking a risk, by definition, is not safe, but it is good.
3. Figure out what the payoff is.
What is worth the risk to you? Who is worth the risk?
Whether it's in your personal life or your professional life, I urge you to be uncomfortable. Do some thing this week that you view as risky. Push the limits and discover what you are truly capable of.
Until next time,