As Maya Angelou said, “life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.”
Bungelup was a magic 6 days of extraordinary moments.
Putting yourself in a position of massive uncertainty, surrounded by a good dose of imposter syndrome (what WAS I thinking of?) and anticipation that no matter the outcome, this was going to be an unforgettable experience, can feel, well, a little risky, daunting even.
Do you ever find yourself worrying about the choice you’re about to make?
You’re concerned not just for yourself but for those around you who will also be impacted by your decision.
Choosing to stay at this place called Bungelup, made me wonder: was this a big bungle up to have considered going in the first place?
Fear can hold us back on so many levels.
It’s good to be cautious when dealing with an unknown, but a smart risk is one where all the pros and cons have been considered, the upside is considered worth it, and you know you have the support of others.
Taking a risk, even though you’re unsure it’s the right thing to do (and we all fear failure) can accelerate your personal or professional growth, and lead to greater success in your chosen goal.
A little bit of risk is good for you!
If you don’t consider yourself a brave person, or perhaps you just prefer to stay put, comfortable in your armchair of status quo, this is not a criticism, but rather a question.
What would it feel like to experience something truly magical and good, that you knew would not have been possible unless you were willing to put your trust into an unknown and take action?
When have you known that you missed out, because the fear of being wrong, of making a mistake or getting hurt, held you back? How did that make you feel?
If you are risk averse, as many of us are, especially in the workplace scenario, is it time to consider whether the fear is justified (if so, sit tight and get help!) or merely a story you’ve told yourself.
You are brave, even when you don’t always feel that way and it’s the small steps of courage towards what might be an abyss, that turns out not to be so, that build greater confidence and self-belief in your abilities.
Have you ever surprised yourself by what you did because you didn’t expect to succeed?
As someone who has always struggled with a fear of heights (and depths) and big animals with sharp pointy teeth, going to Bungelup, put my courage to the test.
Six days of kayaking (yes, I did practice before going, so I knew which side was up), snorkelling over the pristine coral reef in what felt like a giant size aquarium, I met rays, a turtle, and several reef sharks.
What was different was that being at Bungelup, in the company of others and two very experienced guides, I felt safe. I realised I wasn’t afraid and was able to marvel at the beauty of every animal we came across even when I came face to face with the largest fish in the sea – a whale shark.
Did you know a whale shark is not a whale, it is of the shark family and (despite having a mouth that can be up to 1.5 m wide!) is a filter feeder, on a strict diet of krill (its favourite food) crab larvae and jellyfish.
Taking a measured risk, savouring that breathtaking moment of awe and achievement is something you can do too.
Sometimes those creatures with sharp pointy teeth are found in the workplace. They snarl and can be unkind. They can make you feel unsafe when you want to speak up or ask a question.
- The thing here is to ask yourself, is this behaviour acceptable. (The correct answer is no)
- Should you put up with being made to feel afraid? (The correct answer here too is also no)
- Should you accept this is just how it is, and justify staying because you need the job? (I think you know the answer to this too.)
This is where taking a deep breath (this calms down your nervous system so you feel more in control and less stressed) and stepping out to put things right, might feel terrifying at first, but how good will it be to have successfully alleviated the fear of toxic work relationships, intimidation, or harassment?
This is where taking a risk, to call out inappropriate behaviour, to refuse to stay quiet, is about raising the bar of psychological safety for everyone in the workplace.
If you need some support for your situation, I’m more than willing to assist.
And if you’re up for it, why not join me on a trip to Bungelup? You never know what you might learn about yourself in taking a smart risk.
Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and board-certified lifestyle medicine physician. She works as a workplace-based health consultant specialising in psychological safety, mental wellbeing and burnout prevention.
If thriving in life and work is something you’d like to find out more about, please contact me to set up a time for a chat.