While attending a seminar in San Mateo, California recently, they had a great analogy. Your current position is 1st base. The object is to get to 2nd base, or your goal. Just like in baseball, there’s risk. On the way to 2nd, many things could happen. Let’s look at a few possibilities:
Possibility 1: You don’t risk it. The safe thing to do is ALWAYS stay where you are. But if you simply stay where you are, you are actually losing ground. The world doesn’t wait on hesitators. While you are sitting there hesitating, the world around you is advancing to its 2nd base. So the illusion that you are “safe” is just that; an illusion. Safety is where dreams get stalled. Without risk, the reward is simply flat. So if this describes you, think about increasing your risk and getting out of your “safe zone.” If you constantly say, “I like this job because of the ‘job security’ it offers,” or “I can’t do that because I have too many things to worry about right now,” you might be playing it safe.
Possibility 2: You risk a little, but not at the expense of losing anything. A perfect example of this would be when I returned home from the Biggest Loser Ranch, and I quit my job. The first 3 days, the fear of not being able to make it kept me at my job for 3 half-days. What I noticed was two things: the first was that I wasn’t getting my calorie burns in and the second was that I couldn’t keep my mind on my surveying work. The risk of this was two-fold; that I wouldn’t win the Biggest Loser and that I might make a huge and costly mistake at the surveying business. I quickly found that if I were to stay double-minded about this that I would do half as well at both. I decided to quit surveying and focus intently on losing weight. As a result, I lost more weight than anyone in the history of the show, and not only won it, but of all the contestants in the history of the Biggest Loser, my percentage of weight loss is the highest. If I had been double-minded, would have never gone as far as I did.
Possibility 3: You risk much, and you either achieve a huge success, or you learn what it will take to succeed better next time. The amount of risk you take is directly proportionate to the amount of success you achieve. It doesn’t mean you will always succeed, but it means you will get more success and more joy when you risk the most. Look at this as your “lead” off of first. When a base runner takes a lead, they do 2 things: they get closer to 2nd and close the gap between them and their goal, and they increase the risk of getting picked off. Ricky Henderson stole 1,406 bases in his Major League Baseball career. He was caught stealing 335 times. Roughly 4 out of 5 times he tried to steal, he succeeded. But 1 in 5 times he was thrown out. He tried to steal 1,741 times in his career. Those steals came with huge lead offs. Carlos Beltran has the highest percentage of stolen bases with almost 9 stolen for every 10 attempts, but you won’t hear that stat when talking stolen bases. You’ll hear the “Man of Steal,” Ricky Henderson! He tried more times and was even thrown out more, but he succeeded more, too. Another example is Babe Ruth. Babe hit 714 home runs. Babe also struck out 1,330 times. But you won’t dare hear about Babe’s strike-outs! You’ll hear how awesome he was and how many homeruns he hit. But if you’re not willing to strike out or get thrown out stealing, you will succeed so few times that your success and joy will be so much lower than it could be.
Today, perhaps it is time to increase your lead to get to 2nd base. Maybe you’ll get picked off and fail. But maybe you won’t! But if you sit there on 1st base and refuse to step off the bag and put yourself at risk, you’ll never know. And I promise you; not knowing if you could succeed will be far more painful than a failure now and again.