“As soon as anyone starts telling you to be ‘realistic,’ cross that person off your invitation list.” –John Eliot

This is a great quote, isn’t it? The author recognizes that there’s a multitude of people who are more than willing to offer advice which urges caution.

This can be a problem when you need to change.

People can do this with the best of intentions.  Especially those who love you just the way you are – family, employees, customers … All can be reluctant to see you change and take risks.

So they urge caution, carefulness … reason.  You may just have to be unreasonable in order to meet your goals.

This is one thing I find fascinating about the role of a coach:  With my clients, I’m able to act as a supporter and champion precisely because I’m adopting their goals as my own.

Does that mean we throw caution to the winds?  Absolutely not.  What we’re doing is looking for ways to achieve those goals in the most expedient fashion.  Risk is part of the game, but something which can be negotiated.

When you look at a risk unflinchingly, often its power reduces significantly.  For example, a business owner is looking at taking on a partner.  His emotional journey looks like this:

  • This isn’t a sure thing
  • The partnership might fail
  • It could drag down the business
  • Everybody will abandon me
  • All my hopes and dreams will be failures
  • I’ll die penniless and alone

When I actually put that into words, we can see how ridiculous it is.  This isn’t likely to happen at all, especially if that client is carefully tracking progress and attending to relationship issues.  At each step we could reduce the odds to one-in-a-hundred or one-in-a-thousand.

All of a sudden, taking the risk starts looking pretty reasonable!  If you think it through carefully.