The Risk Factor

In life, there are small risks and there are life changing risks.
Each one builds upon another.

When you are a child, there is a risk of falling- learning how to walk, learning how to ride your bike, skateboarding, climbing your first mountain, landing a cartwheel, riding your first wave, standing up in front of the class to make a presentation, going to a new school, these are all unknowns, that can cause defeat.


Some people wait their whole life to NOT take a risk, because it is safe and secure.

It is hazard free, but does it provide fulfillment?


You have to have a lot of confidence, belief in yourself and belief that there is a master plan when you take a risk.


My chiropractor recently told me, “You’re no longer like Gumby, your daughters are pliable, stretchable, bendy, they quickly change and adapt”

Me on the other hand, well it takes a little more time for my back, neck, and shoulders to loosen up.


I thought about brain elasticity “the ability to learn new things, to make changes” . According to Neuroscience for Business “Brain plasticity, also known as neuroplasticity, is a term that refers to the brain's ability to change and adapt as a result of experience.”

As we get older, let's face it, sometimes it seems harder to learn new things and to change with the tides.


This does not mean that I am advocating for human complacency and not to take risks after the age of 40! What it means, is that you are going to have to be more intentional and give yourself that extra pep talk to try something new.

The sun hasn't set on your dreams.

The risk that we take as adults have larger implications, larger consequences, larger impacts on others. As a child we were egocentric. Life revolved around one person- which was ourselves. Hopefully, as a person has matured, he/she has seen the larger impact that is made. Our actions affect a multitude of others and the consequences can be positive or negative.


I am reminded of my time when I volunteered in a retirement home called Leven Oaks Manor. I enjoyed bringing the dinner out to the main hall, refilling the coffee for the residents, planning Game night, and assisting with other duties. But what I loved most was sitting with some of the residents after dinner and just listening to their stories.


Some of the residents had become so withdrawn and so sour about their health ailments and what life had dealt them. I remember the first night going home defeated. I told my boss that I was yelled at by Don because the coffee was cold, I didn’t put the correct salad dressing on his lettuce, and I set the table incorrectly. My boss quickly told me, “He has had a lot of defeat in his life. His wife passed away, his children are not in good terms with him, he has become bitter. . . take time to get to know him.”


So fast forward, three months later, I made sure the coffee was always piping hot, his blue cheese dressing was available NOT ranch, and we started to chat. What I found out was that Don was a retired firefighter, he had been very successful in his work, but his marriage had ended abruptly. He would get a twinkle in his eye when he would reminisce about his younger years, and his time with his children when they were little. I never heard the entirety of his personal life but he would always tell me to pursue what I really loved. He would jokingly say “You are so sweet and kind, why are you hanging out with all of these old people here?”


To be honest, It was sometimes safer to hang out with people who were three times my age than to be daring and try to hang out with some of the people my own age. I was terrified of risk when I was young. I would play out all of the scenarios of what could happen, what could not happen, and I would get myself so worked up that I would be stuck in my head just waiting.

Rebecca contemplating the tides

So, why am I writing this? I firmly believe that to live a full life, you have to dive in head first, even when the water is cold and the conditions are not perfect. I honestly do not know the answers to the various situations that are presented to me in my daily life. But what I do know is that for some reason, they were presented to me to help me grow more fully.



Hannah - studying what was left behind from the tide.

Imagine Dragons sings a song titled “On top of the world. . .”

If you love somebody

Better tell them why they're here 'cause

They just may run away from you

You'll never know what went well

Then again it just depends on

How long of time is left for you

I've had the highest mountains

I've had the deepest rivers

You can have it all but not til you move it. . .

I’m on top of the world”

The moments of the deepest rivers are very real for all of us in our life, only some of us have the opportunity to experience the moments of being “on top of the world.”

I think we can all agree that the only way we truly can appreciate that glory is if we have struggled through some very difficult, muddy times.

So, what are you waiting for? You ready to take a risk?

  • Moving to a new place- relocating

  • Sparking a new relationship

  • Standing up to your family and changing your career pathway

  • Deciding to become a parent

  • Career shift- realizing the profession is no longer your calling

  • Speaking up and using your voice

Huge risks but also possibilities of amazing outcomes.

I think Don was onto something 20 years ago when we would chat in the vacant dining hall. If you have something that has been tugging at your heart, go for it. Take the plunge. I know I am excited to have those moments on Being on Top of the World.

Erin Iler on her hike to the top of Mount Baldy Peak

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