Are we more likely to stretch for a significant accomplishment if a contingency plan exists?  Boarding a flight destine to foreign locale, lacing up hiking boots at an empty trailhead, launching a new initiative generates fear.  If reaching the other side is the only option then understanding the options for rescue influence the decision-making.  If we are willing to make forward progress and evaluate as you go along, establishing safety guidelines may be the course of action.  A thru-hiker on the Appalachian Trail does not commence the journey without planning stops for re-rations and contingency plans.  They set-off with clarity about the final destination but focused daily on the section of trail in front of them.  It does them no good to dedicate emergency plans to Maine when they start in Georgia.  Knowing where and how to provide contingency plans leverages fear and the unknown.  Fear and safety are co-conspirators.  Understanding how they work allows us to take on remarkable opportunities without being completely cut-off from a contingency plan.

Image Credits:
Appalachian Trail Map


Our town has lost three cyclist during the past three weeks- all killed in accidents involving bike vs. vehicle. Today, I rode past the site of yesterday’s accident. I could feel fear jump my cycling spirit and try to scare it away. This is not the first time. I have vivid memories of getting back on my bike after having lost my father to a bike vs. car accident. A very distracted and drunk driver made a poor choice that day. It is personal but it is also about fear.

How many times have we as members of vibrant and successful organizations resisted an opportunity that may have taken our organization from very good to remarkable? Which donors did we fear to approach? Which person did we never get around to asking to volunteer? Are there partnerships we fear to enter into? Do we have programs, staff, volunteers that we must let go? Is there an elephant sitting in the room that everyone ignores?

Many times it is fear that holds us back from taking a calculated risk. I am certain my father would gladly have taken any of the training rides I took this week. I am certain that the latest cycling victim would have desired one more- if not a lifetime of bike rides. So I cannot succumb to fear and I head to road again. I hope that my faith in the ability and attention of the others that I share the road with will be rewarded. I cannot let my enjoyment of riding be diminished by fear. What I saw today during three and half-hours of riding was remarkable in itself and I am better for the adventure.

What happens when we commit to our talents and do not let fear hold us back?