Gather round, I want to tell you a story. It’s a story about self doubt, a story about the “what if”, a story about taking risks.
My boss was riding next to me on her young chestnut gelding, and I was on her experienced, 4 star eventer. We had spent the afternoon hacking around what they call a Hunter Chaser course in the UK- farmland with some fairly simple cross country fences of various levels that the farmer hires out to make some extra cash.
She wanted to give her youngster some experience, and I was basically just a passenger on the big bay I was riding, who certainly knew his job, going along to keep them company.
We turned off the track and she chatted away at me, we laughed and joked and walked through the trees and afternoon dappled shade.
She led me round a sharp turn, almost doubling back on ourselves, and pointing to a line of steeplechase fences, asked me to lead out.
I nudged my bay into a canter and we headed off towards the first, nice inviting brush. All good. Onto the next, whoa. That was a bit bigger. Then the bay asked for his head and suddenly we at the bottom of the biggest fence I’ve ever approached with a massive ditch in front of it to boot.
I had no idea what would happen next, and my heart lept…
Everyone deals with doubt and fears, everyday, especially if they are personally and emotionally invested in a business that was born from their passion.
Being in business is risky. No doubt about it. We can second-guess ourselves, we can immerse ourselves in overwhelm simply by being too afraid to make a decision.
The fear of success is often greater than the fear of failure. It’s easy to not make a decision. It’s easy to put things off. It’s easy to not do that think you don’t like to do, like look at your bank account or profit and loss. It’s easy to do all those things. It’s easy and comfortable to keep yourself small, to accept failure, to not take action.
It’s easier to not take a risk.
So many people want the reward, before they take the risk. They want the guarantee before they do the work. They want the results before they learn the skills they need.
But you can’t have the tree without first planting the seed.
Just like you can’t create your business success without taking risks, making decisions, taking action.
Some decisions might be wrong. That’s ok, just turn around and go back. Make a new decision, try that.
But you have to move. You have to learn. You have to grow. You HAVE to take risks.
That day out in the fields jumping those fences, the last approached at a gallop, the ditch yawned dark and foreboding and the brush seems to stretch for miles.
If my boss had asked me, “Do you want to try it?” I would have said no way. I would have wimped out.
But there I was, one stride out, a whole lotta horse in front of me, his ears pricked, I thought “bugger it- this is happening”! I grabbed his mane and dropped my heels.
He hit the perfect takeoff spot, and we flew.
I pulled up on the other side, laughing, almost crying, and so was my boss. She knew if I had the choice, I would not have taken the risk, I would not have trusted that she knew my bay would look out for me. She knew that I would have chosen no to have that opportunity, that experience, and feel the reward.
Now, it’s one of my favourite memories from my time spent in the UK, and of course that fence gets bigger every time I tell the story.
It stuck with me though, that without taking risk, there is no reward. Without committing 100%, there is no chance.
There are a lot of “one days” out there. If you keep waiting for that one day, that perfect moment, that day when you feel absolutely certain, you have your guarantee, you know for sure and believe in yourself absolutely- you’ll be waiting for eternity. All those wasted hours, all those tormented nights when you wonder what if…
The truth of the matter is, you won’t know if something is going to work, until you take those risks, make those decisions, TAKE ACTION, do something about it, and commit 100%. Then, and ONLY then, will you have your answer.
I don’t wonder what if… I don’t wonder if I could have jumped that fence. I know I did. And I know it felt amazing.