S.W.O.W.! - 21 Day Risk Taking Challenge - Are You In?

I teach indoor cycle and yoga at a few gyms in the area.  July is a popular vacation month for many so I find that opportunities to sub classes for other instructors while they are out of town abound.  In the last week and a half I taught a total of ten cycling classes - well above my normal two a week. Before the craziness began, I invited members and Facebook friends to join in a challenge to take all ten classes with me.  Several people accepted the challenge, and a few actually were able to attend all of them.  I was SO proud of them - including those that came close to doing them all.


When I arrived in the cycling room last evening to teach the tenth class, I noticed a bag of water bottles with a card attached to it near my bike on the instructor platform.  I always bring a cooler of cold water bottles to class for those that forget or run out of water. Someone had gifted me a whole bag - how thoughtful.  I didn't have a chance to open the card until after class and was delighted to read this message - "Dear Margaret - Challenge Completed! Thanks for encouraging me to do something I didn't think I could do. You're awesome". Actually - she is awesome - not me.  But I delight in her success. 


What do you think will happen for her now?  She stretched herself beyond her comfort zone and found strength she didn't know she had.  I foresee her taking more risks and accepting more challenges and continuing to grow. S.W.O.W.! is born.  


If you would like to expand yourself beyond your comfort zone and experience a little more S.W.O.W! in your life - take my free 21 Day Risk Challenge. Each day, starting August 1, a new challenge will be posted in this blog.  You can accept it, modify it, or reject it and make up your own.  But you have to at least take some type of risk that day.  At the end of 21 days - August 21 to be exact - post in the comment section below about your experience - what you learned about yourself or what has changed in you for the better. Everyone that posts a comment on their results will be entered into a random drawing for a variety of $25 gift cards - from Macy's to the Cheesecake Factory. I will be taking the risks along with you.


If you become a blog follower - the risks should arrive in your e-mail box everyday - or you can check back here in the blog for the next day's challenge.  I look forward to your stories.


Day 1 - try some type of exercise that you've never tried before.  You can go to a class at a studio or gym or look up some exercises on the Internet.  It can be as simple as jumping rope, a walk in the park, the hula hoop or a new dance step - whatever you choose.

Day 2 - tell a stranger something nice about them that you observed.   If you are in the grocery line and notice something about the person in front of you or behind you - let them know (positive things!).  Approach someone new at a business networking event or other.  If this isn't a stretch for you  - how could you modify this challenge to make it a stretch?

Day 3 - ask for what you need or want.  One of my friends wanted to work in the Paris, France (not Texas!) office of the company she worked for but never let management know that was her desire. She hinted toward it but never outright asked or told them her goal. So - what happened? She's not in Paris. Ask for what you need or want - they don't know if you don't let them know.

Day 4 - let go of something you know isn't serving you any more.  Is it work files that you hold onto that you think you might need someday or some other clutter at home?   Is it a relationship that you keep tolerating when that person is annoying you or not treating you very well?  It might be time to let it go.  

Day 5 - reach out to someone you admire but are afraid to talk to.  I frequently hear clients say that they admire someone at work at a high level, saw an article about someone who had taken action and was living the dream they had, 

Day 6 - go home from work on time.  Don't stay late. Is it possible for you?  If you are an entrepreneur - don't do any work after 5:00pm.    What do you notice? What are you afraid of?

Day 7 - say that something that really needs to be said. I miss The Tonight Show with Jay Leno but have been and continue to give Jimmy Fallon a chance.  I watched it the other night because a favorite of mine - Meryl Streep - was a guest. Jimmy asked her questions but never let her reply - he answered for her or talked over her while she was talking. He does it frequently. I posted on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Facebook page and trust the message will get through to the right people.  Say it - tactfully and professionally. 

Day 8 - say no.  Are you overwhelmed with a full schedule?  Pay attention to what you really need and what will bring you joy and don't be afraid to say no to overbooking.

Day 9 - try a new look.  Cut or color you hair a new way. Shave your mustache.  Try a new style or color of clothing.  One of my girlfriends almost always wore black to the gym. She wore a colorful shirt one day after years of her old pattern. What a difference.  Give it a try. It will have pleasant rippling effects.  

Day 10 - do it differently. Take a different route to work, manage a meeting differently, take a risk and change a habit - a little or drastically.  

Day 11 - go check out a different crowd. Attend the organizational meeting of a group you don't typically associate with.  My husband and I went to a sports bar called Quaker Steak and Lube for a Green Bay Packers game against the Vikings (we are Viking fans and were the only ones in a see of Cheeseheads!).  We met a lot of new friends and had a great time. 

Day 12 - turn off you cell phone for a day. See what you've been missing. (What are you afraid of if you really do it?)

Day 13 - speak up when you see something wrong and do something about it.  I am ready to write a letter to Chevy - In their latest commercial they promote a screen on the dashboard with text responses to select from - to respond to incoming texts you listen to from your phone that is connected by blue tooth - they think this will help people keep their eyes on the road - I think it is a big mistake and will write to them and let them know.  What will you speak up about today?

Day 14 - ask for feedback from someone on how you are doing.  Ask your boss or your kids or your significant other or your class or anyone you can think of - for feedback on these three questions - (I think you will be pleasantly surprised about their thoughts - I asked my cycle class to answer these questions - good stuff!)
1. What am I doing that you like and want me to keep doing? 
2. What am I doing that you don't like and want me to stop doing?
3. What am I not doing that you would like me to start doing?  

Day 15 - sign up for something new.  Take a class you've always wanted to take or sign up to start a whole degree program at a community college or university.  Sign up to rescue an animal. Sign up to be the chairman of an organization.  Sign up to volunteer for a charitable organization.  Sign up - get started.

Day 16 - take the first step toward a goal you've always wanted but you've been procrastinating on. What is it? Your goal is to get a promotion at work so the first step is asking for more responsibility. You want to lose weight so the first step is joining an exercise or weight loss group.  You want to be a writer so the first step is submitting an article to a magazine for publication?  Take that step today.

Day 17 - admit you don't know.  Do you stay quiet in class when the professor asks if there are any questions?  Do you hesitate to ask a question in a meeting at work because you are worried it is a dumb question?  Admit you don't know.

Day 18 - do something you want to do but don't think you can do.  I subbed a bunch of cycle classes a few weeks ago - so in ten days I taught ten classes (I usually teach two a week). I challenged my members to do all ten. One woman did and gave me a note after thanking me. She said it was something she didn't think she could do but I inspired and motivated her and she was able to accomplish it.  

Day 19 - accept a challenge - the obstacles you are afraid of aren't likely to materialize.  I played the song "Mustang Sally" tonight in indoor cycle class.  I challenged the class to turn their dial to the right, adding resistance and therefore more hill to their workout every time the artist, Wilson Pickett, sang the words "Mustang Sally". "Are you in?" I asked.  I received a less than enthusiastic response though some signaled they were up to the challenge. It turns out that the phrase "Ride Sally Ride" is sung quite a bit more in the song. Mustang Sally is only repeated only a few times. So the numerous extra turns of the dial they were afraid of never materialized.   

And so it is with the risks we avoid in life.  We imagine all of the obstacles we will come up against - and many of them never happen. And if they do - we are more than capable of handling them.   So take on the challenge.  Take a chance. Do it!  you'll be fine.

Day 20 - wow - almost there! - make the call you've been procrastinating about.  Do you need to follow up on a resume you sent in. Is there someone you've wanted to ask out and you haven't yet. Do you need to call up a friend with a serious illness and don't know what to say - so you haven't called?  Do you need to tell someone you love them.  Make the call.

Day 21!!! - you did it - here we are - day 21 - congratulations! The risk for today is to scare yourself just a little bit. Do whatever it is that will push you a little bit beyond your comfort zone - scare you just a little bit. 

Don't forget to comment below - what you learned about yourself or what has changed in you for the better as a result taking more risks this month. You have until midnight August 31 to post your feedback.  Everyone that comments will be entered in a random drawing for $25 gift cards.  I look forward to your stories.

NOTE: Don't worry if you are late starting - you have all of August to do 21 risks.  Get started today.
Need help taking these risks or others you are procrastinating on? Give me a call at (281)648-0380