“If you’re not risking nothing, neither will they.” – Ma Rainey
I was watching the new HBO movie called Bessie the other night and one scene in particular really stood out to me. Bessie Smith was a popular blues singer. Before her career took off, she was being mentored by another singer named Ma Rainey. In this scene, they were in an empty auditorium. Ma Rainey had Bessie walk out onto the stage. When Bessie stopped just short of the curtain, Ma Rainey urged her to keep going. When Bessie reached the edge of the stage Ma Rainey said, “That’s about right. How does that feel?”
Bessie said, “Like I’m about to fall off!”
Ma Rainey said, “That’s how it should feel. If you’re not risking nothing, neither will they.”
That statement struck me powerfully because it reminded me how important it is to be transparent to truly connect with people. Think about it…
If you are a speaker, singer, teacher, coach, parent or any other person who has an audience, no matter how big or small, you want to connect with them authentically, otherwise, your message will not be received.
Why should a customer or client spend their money with you? Why should your significant other do what you expect them to do? Why should your child or your student listen to you?
Things resonate more deeply with people when they are real. Risk is real.
Are you wearing a mask? Are you holding back? Are you merely presenting your representative to the world, hiding what you’ve been through, what you’re going through, or all of the talent, knowledge or wisdom that you have yet to unleash?
Not only will taking these risks heal, strengthen and liberate you…but telling your true story, showing the world who you really are, and what you are really capable of will free them too. If you are willing put it all on the table, so will they. If you are willing to invest, so will they. If you are willing to take a risk, so will they.
People need to know that they are not alone.
When I took three years to focus on studying financial literacy, all of the wealthy people had something in common…they weren’t afraid to take risks.
The word risk often has a negative connotation, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing at all. Think of it as a catalyst for growth, change, liberation and as opening a door for those who are watching to give back to you.
What risk can you take to catapult your life to the next level?
This week I challenge you to take a risk in your career, relationship, family or community. No matter how big or small, take that action and watch how those who are in your audience will follow your lead.
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