It’s Worth the Risk (I promise)

Like this on Facebook

This is Sarah. She’s one of my dearest friends.

Almost seven years ago — back when I was living in Minneapolis, working at a public broadcasting company, and awkwardly trying to teach myself how to be a grown-up person — I stumbled upon Sarah’s blog.

I was immediately drawn in by her hilarious writing, warmth, kindness, and curiosity about a million different things (travel, people from other cultures, personal growth, equality, fairness, cats, cheese, Jello shots, how to make the best scones: no stone upturned).

I saw her photo in the upper right-hand corner of her blog. Something inside my heart went, “ZING!”

I can’t explain it. I just felt, so strongly, that we were supposed to be friends.

I sent her a brief email and said something along the lines of:

“We have so much in common. We’re both American, but we both attended college in New Zealand. We both have blogs. We both work at non-profit organizations. We both love cheese. Etc. Can we have coffee sometime?”

I honestly didn’t expect her to respond to my email.

But she did.

We had coffee and it was instant friend-chemistry.

Since then, we’ve seen each other through first dates and break-ups and girl-trips to Vegas. We’ve eaten gigantic chocolate chip pancakes at greasy spoon diners together. We’ve celebrated as both of us met our true loves — strangely, right around the same time. We’ve seen each other through business launches, creative dry spells, book deals that worked out, book deals that didn’t, online bullying, and one time, a literal fire. (What happened was: a gigantic fire broke out across the street while I was talking to Sarah on the phone. I saw it through my window. I had to hang up on Sarah so that I could call “911.” But then I called Sarah right back because I needed to hear the end of the story she’d been telling me. Priorities.)

Our friendship was born because, one fateful day, I sent an email to a complete stranger from the Internet.

In other words:

I took an emotional risk.

I knocked on a stranger’s door.

I made myself vulnerable to being ignored or rejected.

In this particular instance, that didn’t happen. It could have happened. But it didn’t.

What if I had never taken that risk?

Then I would have no Sarah in my life.

I want you to have lots of “Sarahs” in your life — friends, lovers, collaborators, opportunities, and experiences that make you feel grateful to be alive.

But in order to meet your personal version of “Sarah,” you must be willing to take some type of risk.

It might be a creative risk, or a financial risk, though most frequently, it’s an emotional risk. The risk is, “I might feel somewhat unhappy, rejected or disappointed if this doesn’t pan out the way I want.” But you can survive that. Generally, it’s a small price to pay for the possibility of meeting your Sarah.

Send the email. Click the button. Pick up the phone. Tell the story. Clear your throat {ahem} and say “hi” to the woman you’ve seen at the coffee shop five dozen times but whom you’ve never spoken to before.

One tiny act of courage could lead to a new friendship, or your next job, client, project, or love affair.

Open your heart to a few prickles of potential discomfort.

I promise…

It’s worth the risk.

Alexandra Franzen

When it comes to being a better writer — and a better human being — Alexandra Franzen has a ten-word philosophy: Start with love. Keep it simple. You are not confused. Alexandra’s refreshingly simple communication tips have been featured on Fast Company, Forbes, The Daily Love, The Daily Muse, MediaBistro, MindBodyGreen and The Huffington Post — and on radio programs from coast to coast. Learn more at www.alexandrafranzen.com.

Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor

Have conversations with your mentor gotten a bit repetitive lately? Perhaps you approached ...

How to Shut Down a Colleague Who Takes Credit for Your Work

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a meeting and the unthinkable ...

5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a manager and a leader? ...

15 Songs for Your Leadership Playlist

It was one of those conference moments I’ll never forget: Carly Fiorina had ...

25 Questions to Ask a Mentor

A few years ago, around the time when I was launching this blog, ...

10 Killer Leadership Skills: The Great Differentiators?

Last week at Hallmark I hosted a couple gentlemen from a partner company. ...

11 Leadership Lessons Learned

Here are 11 lessons I’ve learned about leadership—mostly from much-admired colleagues, and just ...

Influencing Without Authority—Using Your Six Sources of Influence

I am in the difficult situation of being unofficial project lead, responsible for ...

9 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

Truly great leaders are hard to come by, but it seems everyone thinks ...

5 Things Women Leaders Should Stop Doing. TODAY.

Over the last couple years, I’ve had a front row seat to career ...

8 Types of Courage for Aspiring Leaders

“The truth is that courage resides within you; you must simply decide to ...

Nine Qualities of Female Leaders Who Get Beyond the Glass Ceiling

I’m frequently asked to speak about women in law and specifically the issue ...

6 Critical Missteps That Hurt Your Career Advancement

Let’s face it: it isn’t easy to break out and establish yourself as ...

4 Characteristics of Leaders Who Get Hired and Promoted

Imagine if you had the opportunity to sit down with a senior executive ...

Listen, Learn, Lead! Teleclass, Podcast & Radio Roundup
Listen, Learn, Lead! Teleclass, Podcast & Radio Roundup

Want to smarten up, expand your thinking, and procrastinate a bit longer on that tedious

Three Tricks to Step Up Your Self-Promotion Skills
Three Tricks to Step Up Your Self-Promotion Skills

I recently attended a women’s leadership dinner and heard a young woman ask the speaker—a

Leaderly Quote: Learn to just say no.
Leaderly Quote: Learn to just say no.

“Learn to just say no. No explanation, no excuse, no apology.”—Fawn Germer  

The Top 5 Most-Read Articles This Month
The Top 5 Most-Read Articles This Month

Are you looking for motivation to help you take charge of your career trajectory? Here

Leaderly Quote: Don’t wait for an invitation to negotiate
Leaderly Quote: Don’t wait for an invitation to negotiate

Don’t wait for an invitation to negotiate. You’ve heard it before: the squeaky wheel gets

5 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand and Reputation at Work
5 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand and Reputation at Work

The idea of being a “quiet leader” has always appealed to me. I was never

How to Assert Yourself When You’re Dismissed
How to Assert Yourself When You’re Dismissed

Have you ever sat in a meeting and felt ignored or utterly unimportant?  Perhaps you

The Best Advice Our Moms Gave Us
The Best Advice Our Moms Gave Us

Moms are always right.  Aren’t they?! In honor of the special guidance that so many

3 People Who Add Instant Influence to Your Network
3 People Who Add Instant Influence to Your Network

While it’s useful to cultivate an extensive network of professional contacts, it’s even more beneficial

Leaderly Quote: The world is not changed by people who sort of care.
Leaderly Quote: The world is not changed by people who sort of care.

”The world is not changed by people who sort of care,” says branding expert Sally Hogshead.

4 Ways to Shrink Your Wage Gap
4 Ways to Shrink Your Wage Gap

What to do if you think you’re paid less than your male colleague? Realizing you’re

The Top 5 Most-Read Articles This Month
The Top 5 Most-Read Articles This Month

Here are our most-read, most-popular, career changing articles this month on Be Leaderly. Which ones

Saying “No” to Office Housework, Be Leaderly Weighs in on HBR
Saying “No” to Office Housework, Be Leaderly Weighs in on HBR

When you think of housework, what picture comes to mind? Strewn clothes? A jumble of

Leaderly Quote: If you never hear no, you’re not asking for enough.
Leaderly Quote: If you never hear no, you’re not asking for enough.

Want to negotiate with more confidence? Start seeing “No” as one piece of information –

At Be Leaderly, our mission is a simple one: To provide proven career strategies that help you lead, climb, and thrive as a rising woman of influence. If you’re ready to lead, we’re here to support and inspire you.

Subscribe

captcha

PRIVACY

We will never share, rent, or sell your personal information or email address. Read more.
Copyright 2018, Be Leaderly