Guest Blogger: Courtney Walsh
By nature, I am not a risk-taker. I like things just so. I wouldn’t say I’m a particularly neat or organized person, but everything has its place, even though sometimes that place is in a pile on top of another pile on top of another pile.
In my upcoming novel, Just Let Go, my heroine Quinn is, like me, someone who doesn’t easily take risks. Her life is safe and measured. Her moves are carefully planned. As you can imagine, all of that is about to change, and Quinn learns—as many of us do—that there are risks worth taking.
Some risks are worth sleepless nights and anxious hearts. Some warrant crunching numbers and pulling all-nighters. And sometimes those things that we think are the riskiest of adventures turn out to be our biggest blessings.
Here are five risks worth taking:
- Learning something new. It can feel incredibly daunting to try and learn a new skill once you reach a certain point. For instance, I’ve always wanted to take an art class, but the art I typically create is not fine art, and I’ve always struggled to see myself as a real artist. I could talk myself right out of signing up for an art class. I could list off a million reasons why I’m not good enough or my work won’t measure up. It’s awkward to think of putting myself out there like that. What will the teacher think? What will the other students think? I sometimes forget to ask what I will think. But I’ve never in my life regretted obtaining knowledge, and you won’t either. Especially if it’s something you’ve been itching to try!
- Starting a conversation. Some conversations are downright scary, especially when there are feelings involved. Many of us shy away from conflict or vulnerability so much so that it becomes something that festers inside of us. But the people we love are worth the risk. Whether the conversation begins with “I’m really sorry. . . .” or “This really hurt me. . . .” or “Do you want to be my friend . . . ?” regret is rarely the result. Above all else, it’s our relationships that matter most, so we must pour into them whatever we can, even if it means putting ourselves out there, feeling uncomfortable, or facing a possible awkward silence. Even if it means learning that a person doesn’t value you in the long run. Have the hard conversations—your life and your relationships will be better for it.
- Taking the long way. I spend 95 percent of my day in a hurry. I always feel rushed, and it’s not because I didn’t leave enough time to get across town—it’s because I just have that much to do. I wake up with one to-do list and go to sleep with a new one. I’m sure you can relate because that’s how we are these days—busy. But life requires us to slow down, to take the scenic route even if we don’t know what’s around the next turn. If you get lost, at least you’ll have a great story, right? And I’m not only talking about directions. You don’t have to shoot to the top right away—take your time getting there. You don’t have to get engaged immediately or start a family the month after you get married—give yourself time. Unbusy yourself. It’s risky because it’s not the norm, but you won’t regret slowing down and giving yourself that gift.
- Following your dream. Nearly five years ago, my husband and I decided to finally take the plunge and start our own business. For years we’d loosely kicked around the idea but always as a sort of joke—we weren’t looking to make a change. But God had other plans for us. This was our dream, to start a performing arts studio and youth theatre for kids in our community—and if we didn’t do it now, we never would. So, we weighed the pros and cons. We asked ourselves, “What is the worst-case scenario, and can I live with it if that happens?” We still ask ourselves that every time we try something new in our business. I’m happy to say that following our dream has been the very best thing we’ve ever done—one of our lives’ greatest blessings. Our professional fulfillment has never been greater and we get to work together too! It was the best risk we’ve ever taken (well, with the exception of #5 . . .).
- Falling in love. I’m a romance author, so I couldn’t not include love on my list! More than any other risk, love is the one that is perhaps the scariest. I write about characters who are afraid to risk their hearts, and I always want to tell them at the beginning, “It’s worth it in the end, I promise.” Love doesn’t always work out, so it’s scary to put your heart on the line, but when you find it and it’s right, you’ll be glad you put yourself out there. There is nothing more fulfilling than sharing your life with someone you love, than loving someone else more than you love yourself. Love is the greatest gift of all, but you have to be willing to give a little of yourself to reap the reward.
Risk is, by nature, risky, but not all risks are foolish. Every now and then, you look back and realize they were the best decisions you ever made.
About the Story:
For Quinn Collins, buying the flower shop in downtown Harbor Pointe, Michigan, fulfills a childhood dream but also gives her the chance to follow in the footsteps of her mother, who owned the store before leaving town twenty years ago and never looking back. Completing much-needed renovations, however, while also preparing for a prestigious flower competition with her mother as the head judge, soon has Quinn in over her head. Not that she’d ever ask for help.
Luckily, she may not need to. Quinn’s father and his meddling friends find the perfect solution in notorious Olympic skier Grady Benson, who had only planned on passing through the old-fashioned lakeside town. But when a heated confrontation leads to property damage, helping Quinn as a community service sentence seems like the quickest way out—and the best way to avoid more negative press.
Quinn finds Grady reckless and entitled; he thinks she’s way too uptight. Yet as the two begin working together, Quinn sees glimpses of the vulnerability behind the bravado, and Grady learns from her passion and determination, qualities he seems to have lost in his pursuit of Olympic gold. When a well-intentioned omission has devastating consequences, Grady finds himself cast out of town—and Quinn’s life—possibly forever. Forced to face the hurt holding her back, Quinn has to choose: let go or risk missing the adventure of a lifetime.
About the Author:
Courtney Walsh is a novelist, artist, theatre director, and playwright. Just Let Go will be her eighth inspirational romance novel. Her debut, A Sweethaven Summer, hit the New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller lists and was a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. A creative at heart, Courtney has also written two craft books and several full-length musicals. She lives in Illinois with her husband and three children.