What I’ve Learned From Risk Taking

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Fearless February wrapped up last weekend. It was an amazing project. For those of you who may not know, Fearless February is a social project to help you face your fears and take a personal, meaningful risk in the month of February. I shared thoughts on fear, risk, and making things happen every day throughout the month. We had a Facebook group for discussion and connection, as well as a weekly Google Hangout.

Here are 11 things I’ve learned:

  1. Small risk taking can lead to great payoff. I had no idea if this idea would work at all, but it did and we had an amazing month. People traveled to new places, took relational risks, got jobs, quit jobs, made music, made art, made all kinds of things, and on and on. But more importantly than that, we all learned a little more about our fear, how to interact with it, and how to respond without letting it get the best of us. I was scared that no one would want to participate. I was scared that I couldn’t publish new material everyday for 28 days straight. I was scared that the Facebook group would be awkward and unhelpful.

    Mostly I was afraid that no one would care.

    But people did care. We had more than 130 participants by the end, and I’m so grateful for each of them.

    It would have been easy to ignore the idea of creating this project. But instead I took the risk, and the payoff has been immense.

    I don’t share all of this to humble brag, but to share this with you:

    A little risk-taking and a little fear-facing may lead to greater things than you could hope.[tweet that]

  2. How to spell February. I’m not known to be great at spelling. I used to leave out that pesky first “r”. After misspelling it countless times and having to correct it, I finally learned 😉
  3. We’re all scared and scared to admit it. Everyone has fears, but there are few places where we get to talk about them.

    We’re all afraid that we’re the only ones who are afraid.[tweet that]

  4. Something amazing happens when you invite people to confess their fears. When people shared their fear in the Facebook group, they were always met with understanding and support. And when your voice and your fears are welcomed, it makes it so much easier to engage with them.
  5. Community is a key to courage. I never realized how helpful it is to have a place to talk about and confess your fear. I’ve heard from many participants that one of the best parts was simply reading what others were struggling with and being encouraged by those stories.

    Knowing that others can relate and that they want you to succeed generates courage.[tweet that]

  6. We overestimate how much we can do in a month. 28 days isn’t enough to move a mountain. Many of us had high hopes for what we’d accomplish over the course of the month. Some of us succeeded. Many of us didn’t. But all of us did something.
  7. 28 days is enough to set in motion the kind of life that will move mountains. We may overestimate how much we can do in a month, but we underestimate how much we can do in a year. We may not have finished what we started, but we started.

    Having the courage to start is sometimes the most important step.[tweet that]

  8. Small steps add up to great things. If you take one small action every day, it adds up. This is how you build momentum. It just takes time.

    One small action every day over time generates great momentum.[tweet that]

  9. Change takes intentionality and time. Fearless February helped people focus on what they wanted to do and set aside time to do it. Change is slow and takes intentional work.

    It takes both time and intentionality to accomplish something truly great. [tweet that]

  10. February doesn’t have to be lame-core. This was a theory that I had going in, but sufficiently proved through the project. (Lame-core is simply another way of saying very uninteresting.)
  11. Facebook can actually make real relationships happen. One of the best parts of Fearless February was how Facebook allowed us to connect and help each other. So often social media can keep us from being truly social. It was really fun to use it for deep and meaningful connection.

If you took part in Fearless February in any way, I’d love to hear what you’ve learned through it. Share in the comments below!

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