Creating a Safety Net - 5 Methods I usually use
If you had to jump from a certain height knowing that there was a safety net to guide you, would you still jump?
If you knew everything was taken care of would you still go ahead with the fall?
Listen to the Podcast Episode #5
I’m afraid of deep waters, safe to say I also cannot swim. But I remember I was on a family trip once and we all went to the beach where they had several events and activities happening. One of them was a water scooter. My cousins jumped at the idea and went for it. I really wanted to do it but I was so darn scared. I had these knots in my stomach and my finger tips went cold. My cousins were so happy after they were done with their turn and pushed me to go for it. So, I stepped ahead and asked the guy about the safety. Would I be driving alone? How would I be going? How high is the tide? I’m sure he must’ve been irritated because there were so many people. Still, he assured me that it was safe and all I had to do was sit and a guide would sit behind me and we wouldn’t go very far. So, I geared up and went for it. I screamed a lot. But it fun. A lot of fun. I’m glad I tried it.
After we reached the hotel I was thinking about my experience and all I could think about was safety nets. How risky is it really when if we have a safety net? Is it okay to have a safety net all the time? What if this risk-taking behaviour eventually turns out to be a series of mistakes and we tend to take it for granted? What if the safety net isn’t enough and we’re wounded permanently?
Of course, my questions were more about life, emotions, feelings and beliefs.
I remember the last job I was in was quiet a pain. The atmosphere was unhealthy and there wasn’t any scope for growth. Even though I was made the head of content I knew it wasn’t working. Leaving a job that paid well was a risky move. I’d become used to the money and honestly money was the only thing keeping me at that job. I remember making a decision that I would quit and my safety net, if I can call it was to start my own business. So, I quit my job, I proclaimed not to work for anyone else ever again! It’s been good enough so far.
I think safety net in life is not so much about being safe as it is about giving yourself the permission to let go and sometimes accept failure and fall. Sometimes a fall is better than being in a miserable rut.
I remember talking to a client about second chances and especially in relationships when there is no guarantee how things would turn out. Is it then wise to have anything close to a safety net? How do you even create a safety net in such a situation?
Sometimes we hang on to things because we’re afraid about the emptiness we’ll feel or the pain we’ll feel once we let it go so, we tend to hang on to it. Anytime I work with a client on letting go, of worry, fear, anger, they tell me, ‘but what if I don’t feel better once I let it go?’ There’s no one way to answer this, honestly, but hanging on to something is never healthy.
Method #1 -
Have an alternate plan – If you’re someone who worries too much about things falling apart, planning really helps. It helps you stay prepared and focused.
Method #2 -
Have someone who can provide emotional support – Sometimes especially when it comes to emotional risks and steps there’s a chance that you may break down, or if you’ve been anticipating bad news in such a case usually we have a safety net in the form of friends and family who provide the emotional comfort we need.
Talk to a professional – A client of mine was very confused about giving this guy another chance and she was worried she’ll fall back in the rut and lose perspective, but in her heart she knew giving him another chance was the right thing to do, while working with me about her fear and worry.
Surround yourself with people who support you and comfort you – By this I mean people who usually uplift you. I’ve seen many people talk to people who further demotivate them or ask them to “move on” and “get over it” and this can make it extremely difficult to deal with the emotions.
Prepare for worst case scenario (Not my favourite but helps in many ways) – This is a very pragmatic approach especially when you’re working on a project or an idea or you’ve planned something and its uncertain. Preparing for the worst-case scenario helps build resilience.
Of course, this depends from person to person and situation to situation but having a safety net helps us process in a healthy way and move on in a healthy way.
In a world of uncertainty, it would be impossible to be protected every time or all the time but having a safety net helps us take the risks we’ve been avoiding. It helps us explore options we’ve probably considered but wouldn’t dare to give it a go.
Working with creatives has given me this perspective that risks and chances need space to breathe. They need to be explored and they need to be practiced from time to time. But worry, fear, anxiety and overthinking stop us. Having a safety net is the first step toward taking a chance and going for it.
I’d love to know about your safety net. Do you have one? What is your safety net made up of?