The night before my husband ran his first marathon, I paced our hotel room.

He’d been training for months.

During his training, he ran many many miles, as marathoners do.

When I could, I joined him. Sometimes I joined him for his shorter runs, when he would dial back his fast pace to match mine.

I rode my bike alongside him on his twenty mile runs, to carry water and keep him company.

On the night before his first marathon, we met some college friends for dinner and returned to our hotel.

He set out his clothes, pinned his race number onto his singlet, tucked gel packs into his shorts.

I paced.

Though it seems crazy now, I was afraid that he would collapse during the race. I was afraid he would die. 

Even though I had ridden beside him when he had run distances very close to the distance of the race, even though I knew intellectually that the statistics were on his side, I was still afraid.

I might have even preferred that we turn off the alarm and sleep in the next morning instead.

Our hotel room felt safe and comfortable, not quite home, but more predictable than a 26.2 mile road race.

We had a restless night but in the morning, despite scorching sun, he ran well. He didn’t die.

He did something big, something he was proud of. Because he ran that first race, he ran many more marathons later, faster and stronger than the first.

In order to do big things, we have to take risks. Once we face those risks, we create many new possibilities for ourselves and others.

What risks are you taking?

Are you taking physical risks? Emotional risks? Relational risks?  Financial risks? Professional risks? Intellectual risks?

Relational Risks. We relate to new people. We relate in new ways. We make ourselves vulnerable. We trust. We care. We encourage. We initiate.

Professional risks. We try new tasks. We tackle new projects. We accept new responsibilities. We explore the potential of our untapped talent.

Intellectual risks. We think about the world in new ways. We listen to new ideas. We think about things from a new perspective. We let go of assumptions and preconceptions.

When we take risks, we will not be safe or comfortable. We will be stretched. We will grow.

We will make mistakes. We will fail.

We will accomplish more than we ever thought we could.

Tell me about the risks you’re taking. What are you most afraid of? What is holding you back? What inspires you to take risks? Which risks are most difficult for you?  

To read more of my recent thoughts about risk, visit the Lead Change Group Blog, where I shared some thoughts yesterday about Becoming Visible.