The power of daily habit is undeniable. Bit by bit you inch towards your goal. At the beginning you saw progress and it felt good. But there’s still a lot of work between you and the finish line. It’s not that you’re unhappy with the way things are going. It’s just slow going. Sometimes you feel stuck.

Making a Ballsy Move can Shake Things Up


Ballsy moves take a few forms. Taking a big risk is one. Pivoting in a different direction is another. Both shake up our system — the one we’ve created to get us where we want to go. Our systems help us greatly, until they don’t.


It’s what we don’t see that can slow us down. We’re part of larger human systems that influence our choices and health in ways no one completely understands.


Robert Fritz and Nicholas Christakis are doing fascinating work in this area. Robert Fritz is a composer. He talks about forward movement in the language of music. Our life has a structure that creates movement and emotion, similar in his opinion to a concerto.


Your life is a structure, and as all structures, it will have certain ways it will act, behave and work. With oscillation, the tendency is to swing back and forth between competing goals such as change and stability, or short- and long-term growth. If there is advancement, the tendency is to consistently move forward with each achievement serving as a foundation for further achievements.


Nicholas Christakis is a physician, social scientist and TED talker who looks at the unseen rules of how we form social ties. He uncovered social clusters of things like BMI measures, smoking and drinking behaviours, happiness, voting behaviour and divorce. These social ties are fantastic allies — they do much to keep us from harm by creating a web of safety. But if they start to get dysfunctional we can head that way with them.


Break the Ice Jam


Taking a risk can break you out of a system that you don’t fully see. It could look like asking for help from the person who can put the turbo-chargers under your project. It will mean some serious negotiation with your inner safety cop. It will definitely involve vulnerability. You will be way outside your comfort zone. And you may land in a different system that supports your vision.


Kenneth Cole, the New York-based designer, has become a master of the ballsy move. He started selling shoes for his family company. He saw his break coming at Market Week at the New York Hilton but he couldn’t afford the usual tradeshow costs. Instead he thought he’d borrow a tractor-trailer from a buddy to use as a showroom parked outside the hotel. Except that the only trucks allowed to park were for hydro or film production. So he pivoted from selling shoes to making a movie about selling shoes. Within three days he was a movie producer who just happened to have sold 40 thousand pairs of shoes.


A different kind of ballsy move could mean turning your back on some seriously hard work to invest in a new, unproven direction. Pivoting reminds me of George Constanza doing “The Opposite”. If what you’re doing has stopped giving you the results you want, do the opposite. Or at least something different. A friend had started running a marathon to lose weight. She did the marathon but didn’t lose the weight. At least not until she started walking instead of running. Then 40 pounds dropped off easily.


My question to you:

Where are things stuck, even though you’re putting in the work? Where can you take a ballsy move to shake things up?

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