What would you do if you knew you would not fail? That’s easy! If there is a guarantee of success, where’s the risk? But what if the path is less certain, untrodden? What if your inner self is calling you on a journey totally into the unknown?
I think Maslow’s theory is right, and that self-actualization is at the pinnacle of every human being’s desire. “What a man can be, he must be.” The realization of one’s full potential. Maslow describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be.
And we all have this desire to be our best self, to be all that we could be, to achieve our highest potential; whatever that ‘highest potential’ is to us individually.
This still does not mitigate the risk or the scariness of stepping out into the unknown, to leaving your comfort zone, the place and things you are familiar with to take a huge chance and trek out in pursuit of your ‘highest self’. The thing about it is that despite the risk, your ‘highest self’ will not allow you to get comfortable in a place where you can do more, be more.
After all, we only get one chance to live, and none of us want to live with regret. Deep within us is the fear of leaving this life with something undone. And we only get one shot at this thing called life. There are no dress rehearsals: this is our one shot!
“Go now and live. Experience. Dream. Risk. Close your eyes and jump. Enjoy the freefall. Choose exhilaration over comfort. Choose magic over predictability. Chose potential over safety.” Scary! That desire to quit your job and start your own business; to leave your comfortable home and travel into the unknown corners of the world; to take your chance on a new life elsewhere; to pursue higher education at a riper age; and yes, sometimes it is to leave a bad marriage.
But we have a duty, an obligation to ourselves to take a chance on life and pursue our best selves. To live happy, fulfilled lives. To pursue the dreams that lie deep within us; to bring them to the surface and go after them with vigor and determination. Will we fail along the way? Maybe. But these ‘failures’ will be lessons on our journey. And like all famous “failures”: Michael Jordan, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Oprah Winfery, we will pick ourselves up and with resolute focus, move forward….again….and again.
What would inspire a girl from a beautiful, tropical, tiny island in the Caribbean to leave her family, job, comfortable, familiar life and the safety net that all of that brings, and venture into the western corner of Canada, to Vancouver, British Columbia, a place she had never been before, had no job, no family, no friends and no “Canadian experience” as she was told over and over? The desire to grow: personally and professionally; the desire to be the highest, truest form of herself.
A friend of mine explained it to me like this: “You had to break down everything that you were. You had to undo all that you knew and venture into unknown paths within yourself; that years before would be unheard of, that you had no reason to explore. You had to be the person you envisioned yourself to be; the person you told yourself you would be from young.”
He was spot on! Some people call me brave and courageous. Sometimes I think I was mad. Maybe courage and bravery does have a little madness in the mix. But what I do know is that I could not be stagnant. I had to step out, to grow, to move on to the next level, to that next step on my journey to be all that I was called to be.