A Whole New World Opens Up When You...
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Posted by: Dr. Alan Zimmerman
Zimmerman's TUESDAY TIP:
taking risks, you cannot make real gains, develop power, earn respect, or
Dr. Alan Zimmerman's Personal Commentary:
If you want more of anything in your life, you'll have to leave your comfort
zone and take a risk.
Perhaps you want a better relationship. You'll have to take the risk of
being more open and honest ... and do some reading and take some classes on
relationship building. That's a risk. You may find out you have to
It's like the husband and wife who were sitting on their porch watching the
sunset, each sipping a glass of wine. After a while the wife said,
"I love you so much. I don't know how I could ever live without
you." The husband inquired, "Is that you talking? Or the
wine?" She replied, "It's me talking. TO the
Maybe you would like a different job with higher pay and more
responsibility. Then you'll have to do more than what you're already
doing ... and you'll have to do more than what you are getting paid for ... in
hope of somebody noticing your talent and rewarding you accordingly. But
that's also a risk. Your promotion may or may not come.
Nonetheless, all the progress you've ever made is the result of risks that you
have taken. That's why RISK TAKING is the FIFTH of the 12 keys I teach in
my two-day program, "The Journey to the Extraordinary." The
next public offering will be in Dallas on May 1-2, 2014.
In fact, Ken Stewart wrote about that. He wrote, "One of my unspoken
desires was to increase my willingness to take risks, especially with regard to
what I do vocationally. After going through the "Journey", I
started to actively seek out speaking opportunities, which would be quite a
stretch from my current position where I teach attorneys how to manage their
email. Your strategies worked. I was given an amazing opportunity
to speak and preach in a church setting, and I was able to use some of the
things you taught at the "Journey." It was an incredible
experience ... one I hope to repeat more and more in the future as I continue
to get outside my comfort zone and take risks."
If you're not taking enough risks, you're missing out on so much of the
happiness and success you could have on the job and at home. So let me
suggest a couple of risks you should be taking so you can become more skilled
in this vital area.
Take the risk of engaging others.
Even though I know the truth and power of this first point, it never ceases to
amaze me when I take this risk. It just happened to me again, a few days
ago when I was speaking in London. Before the speaking engagement,
however, I had lunch at the Royal Air Force Club and was seated with a
distinguished looking, elderly gentleman in his late 80's or early 90's.
I could have assumed that this old man would have nothing of interest to share
with me ... which is all too easy to assume in today's crazy busy world.
I could have assumed that. I could have ignored him. I could have
pretended I was too busy reading the paper to talk to him. Fortunately I
didn't do that because I was about to have an incredible encounter.
Even though I didn't feel like taking the risk of engaging a stranger in
conversation, my training reminded me that EVERYBODY has a story. If I
would only take the time to express my interest and listen intently, most
people will open up, share amazing things, and make my risk very rewarding.
So I introduced myself and asked the elderly gentleman, "What brings you
to this place for lunch?" He introduced himself as Air Commodore
Charles Clarke. Not knowing the British military hierarchy, I followed up
asking what that meant and where he had served.
I did not expect the thrilling story he was about to share. But Commodore
Clarke asked if I ever saw the Steve McQueen movie, "The Great
Escape," the true story of the POW attempted escape from the Nazi
concentration camp known as Stalag Luft III in Poland. I replied,
"Yes. It was a great movie."
"Well," he said, "I was in that camp. I was a part of that
story." And he began to tell me about the weeks of preparation and
the underground tunnels they dug. And he shared the tragic ending ...
about how the escape failed in so many ways, how the runaways were captured by
the Nazis, and how the Nazis then lined up dozens of POW's and murdered them to
"teach them a lesson."
I sat there riveted ... feeling honored to be in the presence of someone who
had suffered so much and who had saved so many. I was humbled to think
that I had almost dismissed this old man. And I was reminded that taking
the risk of engaging others can be very rewarding ... giving me both an
education and a motivation.
What about you? Are you taking enough risks when it comes to connecting
with others? Are you expressing enough interest in other people?
And are you listening well enough so the other person feels safe enough to open
That's one risk I urge you to take. And as you take more risks, do so
with your eyes wide open.
Take risks, knowing that every risk is part danger and part opportunity.
For example, telling your spouse that you would like to see your relationship
grow and improve is a risk. Your spouse might readily buy into your
idea. That's the opportunity part. But he or she might pull
away. That's the danger part.
Intelligent risk takers know which is in greater supply ... danger or
opportunity. That's why I would never suggest that you take a risk just
for heck of it. That would be stupid. Your risks need to be backed
up by your educated intuition that it will work out.
Without that danger-opportunity assessment, you might end up like Barbara
Streisand. She asked, "Why does a woman work ten years to change a
man's habits and then complain that he's not the man she married?"
In his book "Fountains of Faith," William Arthur Ward wrote the
following about the danger and opportunity involved in every risk. He
To laugh is to risk appearing the fool
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental
To reach out for another is to risk involvement
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self
To play your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss
To love is to risk not being loved in return
To live is to risk dying
To hope is to risk despair
To try is to risk failure ...
... but risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to
I agree with that. But I would add the following to his poem:
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing.
One may avoid some suffering and sorrow but one simply cannot learn, feel,
change, grow, live, and love.
Chained by one's certitudes, one is a slave, one has fortified freedom.
Only the one who risks
is truly FREE
two risks you need to take and will take this coming week. Make sure they
are "constructive" risks that are good for you and do not hurt
About the author:
© 2014 Dr. Alan R. Zimmerman
As a best-selling author and Hall of Fame professional speaker, Dr. Alan
Zimmerman is focused on "transforming the people side of business."
His keynotes and seminars are noted for high content, high energy, and high
involvement that transform people's lives and the companies where they work. To
learn more about his programs and products, or to receive a free subscription
to his weekly Internet newsletter, go to http://www.DrZimmerman.com.
Reprinted with permission from Dr. Alan Zimmerman's
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Copyright© 2014 Zimmerman Communi-Care Network, Inc.