Wow! Everywhere we turn we find articles and mentions of the value of risk taking. The latest to come across our bow wave is an article in the San Francisco Chronicle with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He states that the five "core values" of his firm are:
Focus on Impact; Move Fast; Be Bold; Be Open; Build Social Value.
Under his comment about being bold..."Building great things means taking risks. This can be scary and prevents most companies from doing the bold things they should. However, in a world that's changing so quickly, you're guaranteed to fail if you don't take any risks. We have another saying: 'the riskiest thing to do is to take no risks.' We encourage everyone to make bold decisions, even if that means being wrong some of the time."
We read a recently submitted goal sheet from one of our swimmers. The main theme was embarrassment. The swimmer was concerned that if "I fail, I will be embarrassed. Everyone will see my failure." Our response to that was 1- without taking a chance you will never know where you are in the development curve of your career (life etc.) and 2 - it is time to "get over yourself". Not that many people are actually watching you. They are too busy watching themselves.
It is interesting to watch youngsters (and oldsters) wanting to test their limits (risk taking) while simultaneously being concerned about their "rating" (how well they think they are measuring up to peer review).
As coaches, one of our main responsibilities is to free our athletes from this "judgment" process. A little more of "living in the present" goes a long way to future successes.