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Magic, Comfort and The Worst-Case Scenario

I do a lot of talking about “going for it”, about taking risks, doing new things, about letting go of the familiar and mediocre to create something new that you actually love to be engaged in. As you can imagine, this idea engenders a lot of resistance. We are attached to the familiar, to comfort and (a false sense of) certainty.

We say we want magic in life and in business, that we want an extraordinary experience and exceptional results- and at the same time, we spend our time and effort trying to be more comfortable, more certain. I say these things are directly at odds. Perhaps a little exercise will help loosen you up, help you take a leap and spend your time creating what you say you really want. Let’s just see what happens.

First, bring to mind a time when life was just absolutely magical- think of a moment or a situation where you were just lit up and blown away. Got one? Now notice, how much certainty about the future was present in that moment? How much attention did you have on the future at all, or on how it would all work out? Usually, people answer “none”. In our most extraordinary experiences, we are remarkably present to that moment, with no awareness of the future, and definitely no drive to figure it all out, bring certainty to anything or play it safe.

And in those magic moments when we’re fully present, we’re also fully engaged, naturally bringing everything we have to bear right then- even if it takes- dum dum DUMMMM- effort. It’s just natural, no thought, force or struggle required.

See, after a certain age in life, we automatically seek out comfort and certainty, and the problem is that we are then going in the opposite direction of the extraordinary- in our experience and our results. So, if we really want a remarkable life and to create incredible businesses, we have to actively practice being present and taking possibly uncomfortable actions in uncertain directions.

Here’s the good news: it’s probably not as risky as it seems to be when you’re confronting it. If you’re reading this right now, I’m assuming you’re at least a competent, able person, and likely someone who’s already up to some big stuff in life and business. And in that case, we find it’s useful when looking at taking an action that- while being aligned with what you really want to create and deliver- seems risky, to confront the worst-case scenario.

Think of an action you’ve been hesitant to take, due to the apparent risk, lack of uncertainty or possible discomfort involved. It could be a career change, a conversation with an employee, an investment opportunity, etc.

Got one? Okay, now what’s the worst thing that could happen from making that move? The WORST thing. What could go wrong, turn out badly, what could you lose?

Okay, then what would happen, and what would you do? Keep answering that, going through the progression of worst-case scenarios.

In doing this exercise with countless people, and doing it in-depth and really confronting how bad things would/could get, what we’ve found in EVERY case is that- once we get through a year or two- the worst-case scenario is LIFE GETS BETTER. No kidding. Given that we’re able, intelligent, capable people, we tend to learn some lessons, improve our situations, apply new information, and end up better than we were. We are extraordinary adaptation machines, and will do just that. Whether we lose some stuff, a house, a business, a relationship, we keep learning what works and what doesn’t, what makes us happy and what doesn’t, and we grow and change with our circumstances.

So, if the worst-case scenario is that life will get better, why not take a chance on the extraordinary? Why not do what you really want, what you’re really passionate about, right now? See what I’m saying? Face it, embrace it and go for it! Worst-case scenario, things end up a little better. Best case scenario, you are living a life of magic and freedom, doing extraordinary work that you absolutely love.  Take it from Nike: Just do it.

If you’re not sure about what I’ve said here, if you don’t quite get it, contact me at paul@alsleadership.com. We’ll set up a conversation and, I’ll personally walk you through the exercise in an area of your business where you’re not taking action. Yup, free coaching. Trust me, it’s worth it. I mean, how bad could it be, right? What’s the worst that could happen? 🙂

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