safeI’ve been encountering a super bad four letter word lately, spoken by both my clients and myself. The word ain’t s*** or f*** or even crap-tastic.

No. The word is safe. And it’s as bad as any of the words I just listed.

When I think of safe, I think of sleepiness and hugs and hot cocoa and being with those I love and not being hurt and being invulnerable and fuzzy teddy bears and big down comforters. If I look at it as one cold winter day, a smile comes to my face.

But if I look at it as a state of being, I see it as scary. Yes, scary. And boring. And stagnant. And ungrowthful (yes, I made that word up).

Safe should be a fear, not a goal.

Secure, yes. But not safe. Never the safe route.

Almost every creative client I’ve worked with, at some point or another, had dreams and goals and aspirations that weren’t safe.

And when my clients talk safe, they’re talking about staying quiet.

Playing small. Running from rejection.

But the rewards come when you put yourself out there:

  • When you open your mouth and let someone know about your side business, you have the opportunity to be of service to that person or someone they know — and land a new customer or client.
  • When you apply to be a speaker at TEDx, you give yourself the chance to be, well, a TEDx speaker! You can’t be one without applying.
  • When you submit a guest post to that huge blogger or decide to “bother” your newsletter list with a reminder about our offer, you give yourself — and your wallet! — the chance to succeed.

You can make things less safe while still maintaining some security in your business. I promise. Here are some ways to start:

Make a list of all the things that are scaring you (but you know are holding you back)

Now let yourself daydream (or journal or paint or write a song) about what it would be like to be interviewed by your favorite blogger or work with that dream client.

  • What are the possible rewards for that risk, and what are the possible downfalls?
  • Are the potential rewards worth more than the potential falls?
  • And even if you fall, what might you accomplish?

Pick the least scary thing from your list and commit to doing it. Remember, your legs are there to pick yourself back up.

Look into taking a class on something that you’re scared to pursue

  • Feel totally scared about public speaking, but something’s telling you to do it anyway?
  • Wanna start a podcast but have no idea what equipment you’d need?
  • How fun would it be to learn FinalCutPro and then make killer videos for your website?

Think about what you want to achieve and then Google it up to find some classes that can help you become knowledgeable and confident about it!

Brainstorm ways to achieve your dream while making it as scary-less as possible

For me, going into coaching was super scary because there’s not a stable income. So, instead of not pursuing coaching, I found a tolerable day job to pay my bills while I got certified and started working with clients. When I decided to leave my day job, I had a cushion in the bank, an already-strong clientele, and the tools (like a new website!) to hit the ground running.

Start a 100 Rejection Letters project

Follow in the footsteps of Tiffany Han, my friend, colleague, and former client. Her 100 Rejection Letters project led to winning free coaching sessions and booking a columnist gig for one of her favorite blogs (which happens to be uber-popular)!

Think bigger

How would you face your fears and achieve your dreams in a perfect world?

If you weren’t scared, or didn’t need to worry about money, how would you do it? And don’t let yourself stop at, “I’d have my own empire like Oprah, Michelle. Duh.” Think about:

  • the steps you’d need to take to be the leader of a media conglomerate
  • why that would be the answer in the first place
  • what you’d get out of that experience

See the big picture & then focus on the details. Who knows what can be translated to The Real World?

I know, I know — this is all easier said than done. I, for one, am not a risk taker.

I went to Atlantic City for three days & spent $5 on quarter slots on the way out because I realized I hadn’t gambled the entire time. But the safe I’m talking about is that lazy, comfortable, possibly numbing cocoon that lasts for more than a week’s vacation. While I love wearing my PJs all day for one day, I would hate to wear them all day for the rest of my days.

Are you ready to get out of your PJs?