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.

Recommended

10 Productivity Tips for Powering Through a To-Do List

Being an employee in today’s world isn’t always a walk in the park. It can be difficult and busy, and you may leave your job ...

Leaderly Quote: Teams break down when we don't listen to each other.

“Teams break down when we don’t listen to each other.”  — Dr. Ann Quiroz Gates One common behavior that can cause a team to break ...

You Messed Up at Work. Here's What To Do Next.

Your heart is racing. You can’t believe you just messed up at work. You’re certain that the boss is about to barge into your office ...

Ready to lead?

We'll show you how!
Get email updates from Be Leaderly.

Our mission is to provide the career strategies that help you lead, climb and thrive as a rising woman of influence.

Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor

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

5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

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

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 ...

15 Songs for Your Leadership Playlist

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

10 Killer Leadership Skills: The Great Differentiators?

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

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 ...

Influencing Without Authority—Using Your Six Sources of Influence

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

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 ...

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 ...

9 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

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

How to Manage Former Peers

Let’s talk about a potentially awkward situation. You get a new role and ...

Ask an Exec – 4 Steps for Establishing Credibility and Influence

For many women leaders, their biggest question about being a better leader has ...

You Don’t Have to be an Expert to Share Your Expertise
You Don’t Have to be an Expert to Share Your Expertise

Feeling that you’re not “senior enough” to give a presentation at an event? Well, chances

Leaderly Quote: Leadership is not about making a big splash…
Leaderly Quote: Leadership is not about making a big splash…

Taking on a challenging “stretch” assignment is a great way to break out of a

Emerging Leader Spotlight: Parul Shorey
Emerging Leader Spotlight: Parul Shorey

Every month we ask an emerging leader we admire to share what she is doing

Stretch Assignments Provide Career Insurance
Stretch Assignments Provide Career Insurance

I was interviewed by Jill Gregorie of Ignites, the Financial Times site source for the

Leaderly Quote: Build a network of people who inspire, challenge and motivate…
Leaderly Quote: Build a network of people who inspire, challenge and motivate…

What’s your most challenging career goal? Whether it is to raise your hand for new

Your Team Has Big Plans. Are Their Hearts In It?
Your Team Has Big Plans. Are Their Hearts In It?

Every team has big plans to make this the best year ever. But those teams

Leaderly Quote: Take the lead…
Leaderly Quote: Take the lead…

Here at Be Leaderly we don’t believe in waiting for permission or an invitation to

7 Ways to Spot a Potential Sponsor
7 Ways to Spot a Potential Sponsor

A sponsor is someone who is willing to place a bet on untapped potential. A

Leaderly Quote: Building a strong team
Leaderly Quote: Building a strong team

A 2015 poll by Monster.com revealed an ugly truth about the extent to which the American

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

Here are our top five, most-read articles that other emerging leaders have been enjoying on

Saying Yes to High Visibility Projects – 5 Steps to Success
Saying Yes to High Visibility Projects – 5 Steps to Success

No matter whether you are just starting out in your career or about to retire,

Leaderly Quote: Leadership presence requires warmth and authority…
Leaderly Quote: Leadership presence requires warmth and authority…

Leadership presence requires warmth and authority. Lead with warmthority. The experts tell us that if

Emerging Leader Spotlight: Nethra Murali
Emerging Leader Spotlight: Nethra Murali

Every month we ask an emerging leader we admire to share what she is doing

You Messed Up at Work. Here’s What To Do Next.
You Messed Up at Work. Here’s What To Do Next.

Your heart is racing. You can’t believe you just messed up at work. You’re certain

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.
Copyright 2017, Be Leaderly