When you are thinking about taking a risk to change something in your life, you know you are in the GULP zone when you take a look at the step or leap you are considering, and you get a little bit afraid, or maybe a lot, that’s going for the GULP.

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When you take a look at what it is you want to do, it feels “GULP-y.” You start asking yourself, “Who am I to think I can do this?” And then you answer with such protests as “I’m too old; I’m too young; I don’t speak in public very well; I don’t have enough education; I don’t have enough money; I don’t have enough experience; I’ve never done anything like this before; I’ve . . .” Add whatever your excuses are that stop you cold.

You also know you are in the GULP zone whenever you decide you are going to leave a comfort zone that is no longer serving you. All of a sudden you’re in unfamiliar territory and it feels “GULP-y.”

I love this feeling. To me it is just like that scary exhilaration you feel when you are slowly climbing to the top of an arc on a roller coaster. You feel anxious and excited and scared all rolled into one. At the top, you stop for a split second—GULP—then whoosh! You are on your way down and just enjoying the ride, screaming at the top of your lungs and laughing like you rarely laugh.

Think about a time when you were heading into unfamiliar territory. Perhaps you were giving a presentation that was really important. Perhaps you walked into your boss’s office to ask for a raise. Perhaps you walked into your workplace on your first day of work.

Do you remember that feeling? Butterflies in the stomach? Not completely sure you were doing the right thing? Wishing you were somewhere else? This is the GULP.

I had this feeling when I left my hometown of Chicago, Illinois, at the age of twenty-five to move to San Francisco, California.

I had this feeling when I decided to go back for my master’s degree while holding a full-time job.

I had this feeling when I began to ask investors to invest $250,000 in my business.

I had this feeling when I left my secure corporate job to become an entrepreneur.

I have this feeling when I start anything new that really matters to me.

When you are in the GULP zone, risk is always a factor. Failure is always a distinct possibility. But like I say, “Feel the GULP and do it anyway.”

And remember: if you don’t feel GULP along the way, it’s not a bigger game for you.

 

 

NOTE: The above is a modified excerpt from my book: Gutsy Women Win: How to Get Gutsy and Get Going. Now available at all major online retailers and bookstores.