Last Friday, I met a woman who was moving to the Netherlands.
Five days from the moment I met her, she would get on a plane and travel half way around the world.
For a year, she was moving to be a nanny for a family who lived two hours north of Amsterdam.
She had quit her stable job of four years. Rearranged her entire life and pushed her boat away from the shore. In that moment, with less than a week of normal life left, she was nervous and excited. I asked her why she was leaving and she said something deep and true and simple:
“I got to the point where I realized what I would lose if I stayed was bigger than what I might lose if I went.”
That’s a powerful switch from what fear often tells you on the edge of adventures. When you are stuck, when you are in the wrong place and deep down you know it, fear will tell you that you will lose something if you try.
It will create a long laundry list of the things that will be lost if you make an attempt. You will lose money and opportunity and maybe stability and time if you move to the Netherlands. Your career, previously on track, will be off. It will broadcast all the things you will lose if you try.
But fear will never tell you lose if you stay stuck. Fear will not confess what’s at risk you if you refuse to try. So I will.
That is what’s at stake.
The list of things at risk if you jump might feel extensive, but it will never outweigh that one simple thing. Your heart.
Will you lose money on an adventure? Perhaps.
Will you lose opportunity on a quest? Maybe.
Will you lose face or reputation on a journey? Possibly.
You may lose all of those things and many more, but when the worth of your heart outweighs the weight of the risk, you have to go. This is not easy, but it is true. (And no amount of money is worth your heart.)
The next time you look at the horizon, make sure you ask yourself both sides of the question:
“What will I lose if I go?” and also, “What will I lose if I stay?”
If the stakes of staying are greater than leaving, perhaps it’s time to get a passport or a new resume or a new anything.
Have you ever been afraid to try something new because you were afraid of what you’d lose?