By Julie Bock, President of the Congregation
Often when we are faced with taking a risk we have a visceral reaction: our heart rate increases, we become hyper aware, and our breathing increases. People then ascribe meaning to those reactions, either excitement or fear. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary risk is defined as: the possibility of loss or the injury of someone or something that creates or suggests a hazard. Even the dictionary ascribes a negative connotation to the word risk.
I’m going to challenge this framework. I do not believe there is anything inherently bad about risk. If you examine risk, assess risk, and take a calculated risk – frankly you are doing exactly what life calls us to do. Every day, all of us, move through the world making choices that manage risk: crossing at the corner vs. in the middle of the block or stepping on the gas vs. the brake when faced with a yellow traffic signal and a place to be. Ergo, I believe risk gets a bum rap.
In these times of uncertainty, we’ll be facing what could be seen as more and more risk. I counter with this: we have more and more opportunity. Opportunity for impact and opportunity to change the world around us—if we work with each other towards our common goals. Opportunity to transform ourselves, our communities, and society if we hold tight to our vision of a loving and beloved community. Sure, sometimes we’ll struggle and fail. So, we will pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and try again.
I’ll end with this quote from Brene Brown, which I think sums up my thoughts on risk:
There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fear mongers than those of us who are willing to fall, because we have learned how to rise.
President of the Congregation, 2016-2017