2010 Career Challenge: W is for Why Not?

By Skip Lineberg

Think of something that seems completely out of reach. Would it be …

  • Applying for a higher-ranking or position at work?
  • Volunteering to lead an important community-wide project for a local charity?
  • Getting your article published in a high-profile magazine or on a popular website?
  • Running a marathon … or perhaps even running for elected office?

Regardless of what your target is, how do you react to such seemingly impossible challenges? Do you typically say, “Why in the world would I ever attempt something so outlandish?”

I have to admit, that is my default response. Honestly, I have lived most of my life in fear-avoidance mode. It is a normal, common, human way to function. For most, our DNA has been encoded with fear-avoidance mechanisms. Plus, our parents have cautioned us accordingly. Avoiding fear keeps us out of harm’s way. We don’t break bones. We don’t get hurt.

On the downside, fear-avoidance can also hold us back in terms of achievement. What I’ve learned about the best-of-the-best … the top achievers … is that their default response is, “Why not?!” From celebrity entertainers and best-selling authors, to Governors and champion athletes…. those at the top of their field all have this “Why Not” mentality.

They are bold, daring and unafraid. Neither failure nor injury frightens them, and when presented with an absurd or seemingly unattainable challenge, superstars tend to think, “Heck yeah, I’ll give it a try! The worst that can happen is that I attempt it and fail. No big deal. Why not?!”

Only in recent years have I begun to develop my own “Why Not” approach and it has made a huge difference in my life. What I have found–and what many others confirm–is that it gets easier with practice to live the “Why Not Way”. In other words, once you accomplish something big and bold, you begin to seek out the next mega-challenge. So …

  • Why not run that marathon?
  • Why not run for elected office?
  • Why not write that book?
  • Why not toss your hat in the ring for that promotion?
  • Why not follow your passion?

You have everything to gain.

Note: This is Part 23 in a series called the “2010 Career Challenge: Becoming a Rock Star from A to Z” by Emily Bennington and Skip Lineberg, co-authors of Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job.

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