Thursday, November 1, 2007

(TT Substitute) What Risks Have You Taken Today?

We interrupt the regularly scheduled Thursday Thirteen for this message:

What have you done to push your comfort zone today? How have you stretched yourself? What risks have you taken? What fears have you pushed past?

An ex-student of mine from Vancouver Film School is testing his own faith and trust. It's a long story, but in a nutshell, he decided to spend all his money giving people what they needed. On nothing but a hunch, he went down to an underprivileged neighborhood in Los Angeles and simply started asking people what they needed. He bought clothes and food for one family, a single hot dog for another man. He decided that he was going to raise one million dollars and give it all away in this manner, by cutting through the middle man and simply handing people what they need. He's had a wild journey working on this, and has changed directions several times figuring out what exactly he needs to do with this hunch.

Less than one week ago he found out that a friend of his sister's was dying. She was being kept alive by a dialysis machine and had decided to pull the plug. She didn't want to suffer any longer and her family had given her their blessing. He decided that she should be given a last wish by someone, so he asked her what she wanted.

What she wanted was a motorcycle for her Father. He had taught her to ride and that was their connection. Jim asked around for people to help, but no one stepped forward, so he bought it himself. ON HIS CREDIT CARD. He didn't have the money, but he bought it for her anyway because he felt this was a test of his faith in his idea.

Here's the link if you'd like to watch the story on our local news: View Streaming News
and then click on WEDNESDAY
- the story is 13:25 minutes into the broadcast.

If you'd like to see more of Jim's journey, check out his WEBSITE

I was inspired by Jim to think about what risks I take in life and inspired by this story to think about how I spend my life, which could be cut short at any time. Where are my leaps of faith? When do I stop myself? How do I approach my fears?

Risks come in many different packages, from "risking" telling someone how you feel about them to the risk you take when you send your work to producers and publishers to financially risky things like purchasing a motorcycle on credit in order to do a good deed. But what are we really risking? I think the more important question is what are we risking by NOT doing these things?

To follow our dreams, we need to take risks.

So, today I challenged myself to take at least one risk every day. To do something uncomfortable. Something that also meshes with my goals and dreams. Today's risk was contacting a producer (out of the blue, cold contact) about a writing gig. She may ignore me, she may think I'm silly, she may not like my writing. But by not contacting her, I'm not even giving her the opportunity to accept me, to think I'm amazing, and to love my work.

Seems like a no-brainer to me.


Janet said...

Well. After that, the answers I was thinking of putting down are way too anticlimactic.

Danika / OpenChannel said...

Hi Janet -

I think it's an individual thing. There are some people who are afraid to step outside, so going out the door is a huge risk.

I had a friend who was extremely claustrophobic. One day she decided to take a ride in an elevator, which I had never known her to do. This was a huge risk to her, but the reward was empowerment.

Janet said...

Right now my risk-taking consists, among other things, of pushing my way through the last chapters of the first draft of my novel. In a way it's exhilarating, but on the other hand, it will bring it that much closer to be exposed to the eyes of other readers, who will not look at it with the same proprietary love that I do. And I'm already pretty hard on it.

I really didn't anticipate this. You hear about the struggles through the middle, but not about struggling to write the end. It's taken me a bit by surprise.

Vicki said...

Amazing. I have to believe that his life will never be the same. He is giving of himself in ways that most people wouldn't consider or perhaps think he's crazy to do.

Not me. I think he's a wonderful person without even knowing him.

Risk. A word by most standards immediately evokes fears of the unknown. Yet you've puzzled me in my own life. What risks can I take, or will I take.

I'm very close to beginning the query journey and that's a risk to me. There are a couple of agents I'd really love to work with. I'll not name them at this time but one of them I'm almost afraid to query. Silly, because my mom raised me to understand that the word no doesn't hurt and that it's really one no closer to a yes by the right person.

Hmmmm...I love the post, it's causing me to look deeper within.

Thank you.

Danika / OpenChannel said...

Janet - I think every writer, every artist, takes a risk every time she sets out to create. There's the risk of not finishing and feeling everything that goes with that (all self imposed, of course) and the risk of finishing and having to do something with it and "rejection" (let's face it, you can't write and expect not to get "rejections"). Congrats on taking the leap.

Danika / OpenChannel said...

Vicki - I agree, Jim's life will never be the same. He took a huge risk going down to L.A. because his heart told him to and then coming back minus the $10,000 he had gone down with! Yes, many would call him crazy.

I think if we risk nothing we become immobilized. We can't grow without it.

My husband always says to do your best and let go of the result. I've always liked that.

Another one I like: acknowledge your fear and do it anyway.

John said...

Awesome post Danika!

Having been a part of Jim's journey, there is a few things I've learned.

Every day brings opportunity.

Every opportunity involves risk.

Every risk brings some type of reward.