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Monday, June 28, 2010

No Risk, No Reward

A bridge spanning a river in a mountainous region

I’ve always admired people who take risks.  What kind of risks am I talking about?  It varies.

Some people take physical risks.  Jumping out of an airplane.  Riding a motorcycle.  Undergoing an experimental medical treatment.  Traveling to a foreign country in political turmoil.  Protecting others in the line of duty.

Other people take personal risk.  Starting a business.  Investing your savings to pursue a dream.  Going back to school and leaving a stable career.  Taking a stand for your faith.  Choosing to forgive, even though it hurts.

I had never really thought of writing as risky business.  But that’s exactly what it is. 

Just last week, I was feeling a little sorry for myself.  I had just read a few negative reviews about Chasing Superwoman from the blogging community.  One of them said that I have no balance and even feels sorry for me and my family!  Another review said, again, that my lifestyle is completely out of control and even questioned my shaky prayer life.

I guess I was prepared for the genuine (and expected) attacks about my writing and message.  I just wasn’t prepared for the personal attacks on my character.

Then, at the suggestion of my agent, I read a post by Mary DeMuth, A Risky Gift, that put everything in perspective.  Mary writes about the risks she took when she wrote her own memoir, Thin Places:

With my memoir Thin Places, I've felt the deepest fear, the longest worry of any book I've ever released. I felt naked when it released. I feel exposed when folks email their own stories of tragedy. I've risked and wondered if that risk was necessary. But then I realize that my story--my painful, redeemed story--is my gift to readers. It's a risky gift, one that I wrote so that others wouldn't feel alone anymore. (Emphasis added.)

Like DeMuth, I’m feeling pretty naked right now.  I’ve realized that, in putting myself “out there” I’ve taken a big risk.  I’ve even wondered if the risk was necessary.  After all, I have a incredible family, a great career – a life with much predictability and stability.  Why rock the boat?

In simple terms:  No risk, no reward.

I’ve realized that a “risky gift” is something that costs us.  In DeMuth's words, “[s]omething that worries us at night, makes us tremble in the day.”

Have you ever taken a risk that kept you up at night?  And was it worth the reward?


Heidiopia said...

I choose to focus on the rewards themselves and not whether or not a risk was "worth it." I would encourage you focus on all the readers your book is resonating was for them that you wrote it after all. :)

Esther said...

Your last question, "Was it worth it?" struck a chord in me. The issue of "worth" is one I often struggle with. I've been learning sometimes its not the reward that makes a sacrifice "worth" it, its the journey/process that is the reward in the end.

looking forward to reading your book!

MC said...

Sometimes the risk is the reward.
To amplify our human-ness, to test our limits, to fully exercise the gifts we have been given. I believe that when the opportunity to risk presents itself it is not a coincidence but a signal that it may be time to stretch a bit, step outside a comfort zone, grow. Something is needed that we may not realize we posess - courage, compassion, faith. We may not have chosen for the opportunity to come, but it is up to us to choose how we respond. How wonderful and frightening and electrifying to feel that alive in that moment! No matter the outcome, no matter the "level" of risk. That connection to spirit is the very essence of our soul acting out. I need to remember that sometimes when it feels difficult and the outcomes aren't clear...reset my "reward" gauge or adjust my risk/reward equation. Maybe that's the point. Maybe that's the reward. Maybe that's enough.

Susan DiMickele said...

These are really helpful words. The journey is worth it for sure. Maybe the risk is the reward, like you said. That's how we know our spirit is ALIVE!