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RISK TO SUCCEED
Essential Lessons for Discovering Your Unique Talents and Finding Success
By RICKY COHEN
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Copyright © 2013Conway Capital, LLC
All rights reserved.
Bella, the Eight-Year-Old Elephant
Bella was different. Most young elephants were content to move with the herd, keeping close to their older and more experienced relatives. Bella needed to venture out on her own. Each morning she would plot a course a short distance beyond the boundaries of the herd. Each day a little farther than the day before. Each adventure in a slightly different direction.
In truth, Bella's wandering was not only about seeing new places and beings: it was about seeking clues to guide her to her individual path in the jungle. The jungle held great mystery, promise, and truth. It was the most ancient place on earth, the harbinger of life's secrets from the beginning of time. The possibilities offered by the jungle were endless; the options diverse.
Yet many days passed and Bella could not see her own clear choice or direction. With each new sight came new questions. With each new question, Bella's hunger to find her way in the vast and exciting world grew. Although each day began with hope, it ended with disappointment.
Sadly, she wondered, "Who am I? What's my place in the jungle? Is there something life has uniquely designed for me?"
"What's my place in the jungle?
Is there something life has uniquely designed for me?"CHAPTER 2
Cee, the Butterfly
Late one afternoon, a red-and-turquoise speckled butterfly caught Bella's eye. Bella had become accustomed to seeing butterflies on her travels and had even watched some in flight. But this butterfly was different. His movements suggested energy and a mission.
Over time, Bella sensed that this butterfly was bold and unafraid; it landed directly on her trunk, often once, and sometimes several times a day.
One foggy Tuesday morning, approximately forty days into Bella's adventures, the red-and-turquoise speckled butterfly landed on Bella's trunk again—right between her eyes! This time he lingered all morning, taking an interest in Bella's adventure.
After a few hours, the typically soft spoken Bella looked impatiently at her brazen cargo and demanded, "What do you want?"
"Life begins with courage," the butterfly shockingly replied. "The courage to question and the courage to look inside—are the first steps to reveal your unique place in the jungle." And with a colorful flutter of his wings, he was gone.
That day's rain and fog limited Bella's ability to see her new surroundings, so she turned to go home, pondering the butterfly's words as she walked.
"The courage to question and the courage to look inside—are the first steps to reveal your unique place in the jungle."CHAPTER 3
A Curious Partnership
Several days later, Bella spotted the butterfly again. This time, he was on top of the tallest tree in Bella's newly discovered mountain range.
"What's your name?" Bella shouted. "And why do you keep following me?"
"My name is Cee," answered the speckled butterfly. "The jungle harbors great wisdom, ancient wisdom, the wisdom of a thousand generations." Looking directly into Bella's eyes, Cee added, "You have a lot to learn. I want to teach you."
Frustrated, Bella mimed, "You have a lot to teach me? Did you notice you're a butterfly weighing little more than a few ounces? We have nothing in common. What can you teach me?"
"I've traveled this great jungle, flying high over vast mountain ranges, thundering rivers, and towering kapoks," Cee replied, "only to discover that the answers to my questions were not to be found in the mountains I traversed or the river currents that thundered in my ears. Nor were they to be found in the rings of the tallest trees—or in any of the remarkable places I visited."
Looking penetratingly at Bella, Cee revealed, "The answers to my questions were found within me. What you seek lies within you, Bella. Let's reveal it!"CHAPTER 4
Reveal and Imagine
The following morning Cee was up early, waiting on Bella's trunk. As soon as Bella opened her eyes, Cee proclaimed, "There is no need for your travels today, Bella. There is nothing to be gained by your wandering. The wisdom of the jungle dictates that life's direction comes when you reveal your passion, acknowledge your strengths, and understand your needs.
"Let's begin by exploring the four questions of jungle life. Answering these questions will require a great level of honesty. They may sound simple to you—but in truth, these questions will be the most difficult you've ever considered. The best approach to answering these questions, Bella, is to let the answers come from your gut, not your mind."
Bella, somewhat confused, fairly annoyed, and mildly curious, paused to listen. Seizing the moment, Cee began with the questions.
"Listen carefully, Bella, and memorize each question.
"Question 1: If you could choose to pursue any career at all, what would it be?
"If you didn't have to worry about the herd or what anyone expected of you?
"If you were guaranteed all the food and protection you would ever need?
"If you could do anything, go anywhere?
"If you could venture to a place no elephant has gone before, or do what no elephant may have done until now, what would you choose to do?
"Search inside, Bella. Search within your heart and your intuitive sense—and reveal your passion. Once you've done that, Bella, imagine yourself living it! And with that comes the next question.
"Question 2: When you imagine yourself living true to your passion, waking up each day pursuing it, and ultimately achieving success—how does that make you feel?
"Are you inspired, uplifted—and frightened?
"Do you feel empowered, proud, and energized?
"Are you afraid you may fail, and at the same time, afraid you may succeed?
"If all of the above are true—you've probably revealed your passion! You have uncovered your unique direction and true expression. If not, go back and try those questions again, with more courage and expansiveness. Stay away from fear and logic! They can interfere.
"Get inside your heart and your gut, Bella!"
Life's most important questions like: "What is my ideal career?" or "Do I love her?" must be answered with your gut, or intuitive sense—that which transcends your rational and logical mind.CHAPTER 5
A few days later, Cee returned when it was still dark outside. This time, he jumped from one spot to another on Bella's face, gently forcing her to wake up.
"Cee, what are you doing?"
"Waking up the morning, Bella. Wake up your morning! In the jungle we must bring on the new day and all of its opportunities. We don't wait for the day to come upon us. I gave you homework, and it's due NOW!"
"Homework—you gave me homework? You don't think I ask myself those questions every day? I have plenty of ideas, Cee—but they make no sense. You said, 'Go with what's in your heart and your gut!' If I did that, I would be laughed out of the herd and ridiculed by elephants large and small! Be real, Cee—the jungle is a tough and unforgiving place! And by the way, did I mention that butterflies are the most annoying beings in the jungle?"
"Bella, I was once a caterpillar, with no color, no ability to fly, and little ability to see. Could one ever imagine that one day my colors would be brilliant̵
Excerpted from RISK TO SUCCEED by RICKY COHEN. Copyright © 2013 by Conway Capital, LLC. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
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