• Jenny Barnes

Walking the plank does not have to be scary!

Control the risk and eliminate the fear!

Every decision or step you take, in life or in your business, has potential ramifications that could affect you and others. The thought processes around our actions, therefore, tend to sit somewhere between two equally dangerous extremes: either we are simply unaware of those consequences, or we worry about them so much that we never do anything at all.

The answer is as simple as falling off a log!

That isn’t strictly true, I’m going to teach you a little exercise to do with walking along a plank, but the ‘falling off a log’ title had a nicer ring to it. Just to be clear, I don’t want you falling off the plank either, I want you to find some balance, and apply that power to your decision making. Let’s get walking…

Imagine there is a 3-meters long, 2-foot wide plank on the floor in front of you. (Yes, I know I’ve mixed metric and imperial there.) The end that you are standing represents where you are now in your particular situation and circumstances. The sides of the plank, in this case the floor that it is lying on, are all of the outlying people, places and possibilities that you might step into, in the course of this short journey. The far side of the plank is, of course, your destination, or the decision that you are looking to reach.

The reality is, that while the plank is simply lying on the floor, there really is very little damage that you can do, to yourself and anyone else, if you were to inadvertently misplace your footing. The other truth is that if you are usually able to walk in a straight line, you should be able to manoeuvre the length of the plank easily and without fear. (You could, of course, topple if you’ve had much more than a tipple).

Weighing up the chances of a heavy fall.

Now, let’s imagine that the plank is suspended between two tables, say about three foot off the ground. You are now standing on one of the tables, as your current position, and you are facing the challenge and consequences of reaching your destination on the other table. Technically, the challenge is the same! The same width of plank, the same distance to walk, and exactly the same levels of balancing skill are required. The reality, however, is a stark contrast.

Suddenly, what was an easy decision looks far more critical. There are abundantly more extenuating circumstances to take into consideration. What if you make a mistake and overstep the edge now? Who might catch you or break your fall, will anyone else get hurt, could you end up looking silly and embarrassing yourself? All of these questions will be running through your mind and distorting what was originally a simple task.

When the stakes are higher, you do need to take more care over your decisions – it is true. Your family, your home, your relationships, your business interests, your hopes and dreams, and your own sense of worth can be affected by the decisions you make. But here is the thing: The plank is still just a plank.

100% focus and a balanced mindset!

Often in life we miss opportunities because of the fear of consequences. Now, I’m not suggesting that you take rash actions without consideration. I do know, however, that we can sometimes create potential outcomes in our minds that don’t actually exist. And we can even imagine that the decision before us is further from the safe ground than it really is. Both of these cause fear and stop action!

Often all you need is someone that is standing a little way off to come in closer and examine the plank for you. Perhaps they can shed some light on the true heights involved and enable you to apply 100% focus, without fear or distraction. Then you can walk straight, true and perfectly balanced.

Give me a shout if you need some height and plank advice. I promise not to turn this theory into a practical one…

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