Living Life on Your Edge

You can live a safe, predictable life, or you can live a wild, chaotic, unpredictable life. The former provides you with a sense of safety, and the latter a sense of excitement.

Living your life on the line that separates these two extremes is what I call "living life on your edge."

One secret for living life on your edge is to do something in your life that scares or intimidates you.

It's a wonderful way to grow and challenge yourself.

When I was 20 years old, I was intimidated by the consulting industry and the case interview -- BUT I did do it anyway. (I'm so glad that I did!)

This month I joined the Girl Scouts and volunteered to be a meeting leader for my youngest daughter's troop (the parents take turns leading each meeting).

I am TERRIFIED - but I'm doing it anyway.

I'm sure I will figure it out, as I usually do (though not always within the time frame I prefer). But, not knowing in advance what I will do or how I will figure it out makes me nervous.

(I ended up reaching out to my network and they've been very helpful.)

Here's my question of the day:

What are you vigorously pursuing in your life that intimidates you?

Share your thoughts with me below.

Get my best tips on having an amazing career and life!

Enter your email to learn my strategies for success in your career and life. You’ll get action-oriented emails approximately once per week.


mail
Facebookgoogle_pluslinkedin
96 comments… add one
  • DS Jan 21, 2016, 9:23 am

    Stretching ones boundaries makes us take calculated risks and immerse ourselves with new experiences. I did a trek last year for the second time in my life and now I am more confident on my physical abilities. This year I want to quit my 10year old job to try out a new professional career which I still dont know yet.

  • Glenroy London Jan 21, 2016, 9:28 am

    I am about to prepare my preliminary proposal for my DBA thesis on Knowledge Management adoption in Trinidad and Tobago re: Awareness and Readiness

  • Vishal Jan 21, 2016, 9:32 am

    Hi Victor,

    Doing something that scares me has always been the idea that I have followed. I’m currently trying to run two startups along with a full time job, something that everyone has told me is impossible. One of the startups is in Ed-Tech and the other is to sell indian chai via a delivery service. Every day I wake up wondering if I will be able to survive another day and it has been okay so far (8 months in). I like getting your emails from time to time. Though I never went into consulting, I use a lot of the same principles in my startups! Thanks!

    -v

  • Sachin Sharma Jan 21, 2016, 9:33 am

    1. Public Speaking
    2. Consulting

  • Geoff Jan 21, 2016, 9:51 am

    In August, I am going to move to Washington, DC to accept a position as a Senior Consultant with Deloitte’s Federal Human Capital practice. In July, my husband (we’ll be newly married as of May 29) will be starting his residency in urological medicine at Tulane, in New Orleans. Yesterday was his match day – we had hoped to be in the same city, but are now ready to live life on the edge. We can make it work – I will get valuable experience, be with friends, and likely be able to work remotely after a bit. He will be busy and fulfilled. We are terrified, but excited at the same time. This path will not be easy, but will lead to a great future. Take risks – they are worth it even if they scare the living day lights out of you.

  • Joan Jan 21, 2016, 9:52 am

    Hi Victor, I have been following your every post for 2 years now. Thanks for the constant write up, it gives me Paradigm shifts about things I thought I’m stucked at every time . For the past 1.5 years ago, I’ve moved out from my home country. And that’s a big thing for a 24 year old introverted Chinese girl who have never in her life, leaves home. I am residing in Singapore now. Alone and feeling empty at times, but I’m optimistic and constantly goes to the church and pray. Some times it filled my soul, but lately it has been really overwhelming. Not sure if I should go home already. I think its my job, but friends and family have been asking me to stay on as it is a good opportunity. and I get intimidated when friends asked what my passion is. Honestly, helping other people and seeing people around me happy drives me. I don’t have abig or great passion as my friends. They want to earn a 5-6 digit income, drives a sports car. I am not even passionate about shopping or buying new gadgets. Sometimes I felt purposeless in life. I can’t relate to anyone and start to feel inadequate and out of place most of the time. But I’m sure there’s something in the world that I would one day hang on to. However right now, I’m just on my lonesome journey of self discovery. I’m heading to London on my own this coming Feb! Haha sometimes secretly hoping for a life time partner whom I’ll meet unexpectedly at an unexpected place and time. I watched too much fairy tale I do admit. Avid Theatre fan here! Anyway, thanks for listening to my soap story. I’m sure you are laughing at this silly story right now. Hoping for the best and appreciate your every post. Keep doing what you are doing Victor! 🙂

    Love, Joan

    • william Jan 21, 2016, 12:45 pm

      Hi Joan,
      Such an coincidence to see your reply here. I am also a person who still searching for something I can hang on and sometimes I feel uncomfortable that I am not that thrilled by money. I have been in SG for few years and can introduce you more about the local culture.
      Best wishes for your London journey.
      W

      • Alberto Jan 22, 2016, 2:21 am

        Hello William and Joan, I’m also living here in Singapore and following Case Interview for quite some time. Shall we meet here and form the “Victor Cheng’s S’pore club”? I’m free for some drinks.
        Alberto

        • James Jan 24, 2016, 8:53 am

          Hi Joan,

          I empathise a lot with what you’re going through (and I’m 30!). I’m also in London, so let me know if you want to catch a bite to eat and talk about it.

          Cheers,

          James

    • Victor Cheng May 18, 2016, 5:07 pm

      Joan,

      Thank you for sharing your story. I didn’t laugh or find it silly at all. It felt honest to me. I think much of life is an on-going journey of discovery. It is one thing to not know what you want out of life and not do anything about it. It’s another to find your way. The latter is more uncertain and often very uncomfortable, but it leads to sometimes unexpected discoveries.

      Best wishes in your journey.
      -Victor

  • Romer Benitez Jan 21, 2016, 9:56 am

    Hi Victor,

    It is so true that learning and innovation lie on those edges! I consider myself as a lifelong learner and currently I’m strengthening my leadership capabilities. I think I mentioned to you on my previous note about the ‘Total Leadership” framework by Stew Friedman. I’ve been doing this and exposing myself on various experiments or functions that are both meaningful and helpful in the integration process of the different domains I defined in my life. It sometimes pushes me outside the comfort zone but it eventually widen the zone as I realize that it is manageable. It is an exciting and fun journey and I’m hoping this will lead to a healthier and sustainable personal and professional life.

    Cheers

    Romer

  • Paulin Byusa Jan 21, 2016, 9:58 am

    A marketplace start up for businesses and analytics services. Very challenging to find the right product/market fit and to sell.

  • Nick Jan 21, 2016, 10:01 am

    Hi Victor,

    I am at this very moment in my life deciding to jump the proverbial academia ship for a career in management consulting instead. Considering I’ve only ever imagined myself as an academic for as long I’ve been in university (almost 10 years!), it’s a terrifying notion for me. But it’s exciting too. So long as my excitement just peaks above the fear, I know I’ll be just fine.

    In fact, I have a first round interview at BCG this afternoon. Bring on the terror!

    Nick

    • Victor Cheng May 18, 2016, 5:18 pm

      Nick,

      Good luck on pushing your edges. Regardless of outcome, it can be very exciting.

      -Victor

  • Beatrice Johnston Jan 21, 2016, 10:04 am

    I am vigorously pursuing selling from the heart, meeting people where they are and leveraging what we have to offer to help the most people we can.

    I appreciate you Victor and enjoy seeing your e-mails when they come by. There is always something there for me.

    Be well,
    Beatrice

    • Victor Cheng May 18, 2016, 5:18 pm

      Beatrice,

      I’m glad. Selling from the heart sounds intriguing. Best wishes with it.

      -Victor

  • Olivia Dunlop Jan 21, 2016, 10:05 am

    I am conquering the CPA exam this year. This exam is extremely intimidating to me! I reached out to my network and I still do not know 1 person who passed it on the 1st time BUT I am doing it anyway.

  • Guillaume Jan 21, 2016, 10:07 am

    Hey Victor,

    I am actually intimidated by finding a job! I graduated last summer, and have been applying for different positions ever since. I started off with consulting positions, but it didn’t work out. I’m now looking for other opportunities, but I’m always doubting myself: “how do you know you’d like that job?”, “How do you know they’d take you?”, “Why are you even trying, you have no experience in this sector!”. The actual process of applying actually scares me… but on the other hand I’d be thrilled to finally move on in life and start my career!

    Thanks for everything you do, I probably appreciate more your thoughts on life than your advice for consulting now! Always interesting to see what you have to say on everything.

    • Victor Cheng May 18, 2016, 5:20 pm

      Guillaume,

      I always tell people who work for me that the optimal place of growth in ourselves is to be 50% excited, and 50% scared.

      Too much fear, and it’s overwhelming. All excitement and no fear, means the challenge is too easy.

      Sounds like you are growing.

      -Victor

  • LM Jan 21, 2016, 10:15 am

    Taking a private ballet class at age 49 to improve my posture (years of sitting in front of a computer) when I haven’t danced since I was 16.

    • Brian Quach Jan 21, 2016, 2:27 pm

      Wow! That is inspiring.

    • Victor Cheng May 18, 2016, 5:21 pm

      LM,

      That’s awesome. I’m taking improvisational modern dance classes (also in my 40’s) and I’ve never danced. Initially terrifying, I love it now.

      Good luck!
      -Victor

  • Unathi Jan 21, 2016, 10:17 am

    I am trying to be a SAP Consultant…by trying I mean I have a couple of interviews next week. What scares me is that I have never worked with SAP before nor been a Consultant before so its a new challenge…getting out of my comfort zone which is being a developer.

  • Anthony Jan 21, 2016, 10:19 am

    I have interviews coming up next week, no matter how much i practice and listen to LOMS, i still feel like i’m going to BOMB the interviews and fail…
    Any tips would be much appreciated.
    Cheers and thanks for the motivation Victore

    • Orlok Jan 21, 2016, 11:20 pm

      I have some good news for you – even if you bomb the interviews, you will discover life goes on. I bombed two “dream job” interviews two years ago and had to return to grad school. It sucked, but I learned that if I bombed interviews, I just returned to my current life – nothing got worse. That epiphany made me lose my fear. The next year I got an even better job than the one I’d interviewed for.

      That said, good luck in your next interview!

    • lorraine Jan 22, 2016, 4:17 am

      Anthony,those would be my words a few months ago.You have it in you,you can do it.Be your biggest cheerleader and ask God to give you self confidence.See you at the top.

    • Victor Cheng May 18, 2016, 5:28 pm

      Anthony,

      My dream job was to work at Goldman. I didn’t even get the opportunity to interview for my dream job. I got rejected at the resume level from Goldman and every investment bank on Wall Street. Things turned out okay! 🙂

      Trying 100% doesn’t always get you what you want; but it often gives you what you need (or need to learn).

      -Victor

  • Marco Jan 21, 2016, 10:27 am

    Hi VC, thanks for the inspiring post. As inspiring as usual, I’d say.

    2 things I am currently engaged in, which I am pushing vigorously.
    – a 2-months old, amazing baby. No instructions, no Operation Manual, just my wife and myself trying to sort ourselves out. Lots of doubts, but lots of energy. We will sort this out 🙂
    – a 12-month consulting assignment, where I am alone as project manager in an extremely complex and political environment. 20% is actual work, 80% is stakeholder management, aligment, buy-in, sign-off. I will sort it out.

    It’s when you move outside your comfort zone, that you grow and develop, right?

    Best regards

    Marco

    • Victor Cheng May 18, 2016, 5:30 pm

      Marco,

      Yes outside comfort zone = growth.

      Wish it was always easy and enjoyable, generally rarely the former and sometimes the latter.

      -Victor

  • sophiat Jan 21, 2016, 10:31 am

    So Victor you want me to drop a few lines about what i am doing now or about to do that terrifies me. Well i’ve got a couple. Project management certification. Maaters application- i am worried i wont get picked on the courses i want to do. Change in job role i am worried i wont be able to hack it when i change from being a favilities manager to being a sales rep fir my organisation. But i am really excited about it cuz it is the direction i want for my career.
    Those are just a few.
    Enjoy.

  • Diana Jan 21, 2016, 10:59 am

    The biggest challenges I have ever had to face were always of a personal nature, not intellectual and often not even professional. Intellectual challenges are so easy – you just invest the time and do it, or you estimate that it is not worth investing this time and you don’t. Personal challenges are so much harder, this is were things get really complicated. Right now, I am with the very first person I have ever loved in my life, but he is not only from a very different cultural and religious background, but also much older than I am, with an ex-wife and a child. I don’t think I have ever struggled more with finding out how do deal with a situation than I do with this one.

    • Victor Cheng May 18, 2016, 5:31 pm

      Diana,

      Personal challenges are often harder because of the emotional stakes involved. Good luck with your challenges and wishing you the best.

      -Victor

  • Jl Jan 21, 2016, 11:18 am

    Real estate – specifically used mobile homes. I am trying to grow financially and looking to make passive income and somewhere to invest my money when I (hopefully) get that big signing bonus!

  • Vitor F Jan 21, 2016, 11:33 am

    Hi Victor! I’ve been reading everything that you write for 1 year, and it has been amazing to have such a good mentor as you! I can say you already truly changed my life, and I’ll explain how 🙂

    This is a very good question, and I’d like to share two things: one that intimidates me for a while, and other that I became inspired (and intimidated) to do after reading you text:

    1) I’m a recent undergrad in engineering here in Brazil, and mostly thanks to you and your material, next month I’m starting a consulting job! I have no experience at all in consulting or in any business-related area, all my previous internships/activities were highly technical, related to operations/project engineering, so I am really scared to “jump” in the consulting world. However, in some previous post you told us that you were also intimidated by your first day at McKinsey, so I’m trying to believe that it is normal and everything will be fine on the job; even though I lack the experience, I am very motivated to make this work!

    2) This one is really personal and after reading your article I started thinking about moving myself “to the edge” for a second time:
    since the beginning of college life, I wanted to play a musical instrument, but I did not know anything about music AT ALL… eventually I started taking drum lessons! I was terrified to learn drums, I thought the instructor would laugh at me on the first day, but I kinda liked it, so I gave it a try… And I kept evolving, learning, and now, 4 years later, I still play drums everyday, and I love it! The problem is: I’m very introverted, and I’ve never been in a band, I’m always practicing alone at home because I don’t really know anyone who plays and I think that I’m not good enough at playing, I would be ashamed to play with other people, etc, but I realized after this article that I’m missing a huge opportunity to grow, to do more of what I love to do and to take some calculated risk.

    So, this article motivated me to define my two missions for 2016: do a great job in the consulting world, and play drums in a band. I’m TERRIFIED by both as you are with your new activity, but I will do it anyway!

    • Victor Cheng May 18, 2016, 9:25 pm

      Vitor,

      Way to stretch yourself. I’ve been doing the same the last few years — singing for the first time, dancing for the first time, and performing improv for the first time. All very scary and very exhilarating for me. I’m also a different person now having gone through all of those experiences, and all of those activities now feel very normal for me.

      -Victor

  • Rafael Jan 21, 2016, 11:41 am

    Hi!
    First: thanks for the opportunity to share our fears. It’s something hard to do.

    Second: about my fear: I was invited to do the production of a theater play (something I never did). I am doing it. The event will be next saturday and the main actor dropped two weeks ago. We had two options: 1 – quit the event or 2 – find someone. We went for 2, but nobody was available, so I volunteer. I never expected I would play the main role. I am shy and now I will have to face an audience of more than 5 thousand people. I’m REALY SCARED.

    Third: initial results: we will probably increase the GDP of my city in R$ 500 k. Obs: I’m from Brazil and my city is suffering from the recession and we created around 20 direct jobs.

    Final thoughts: I’m working with excellent people and it has been a great experience that I would have not taken because of fear. Recently I’ve missed a lot of job interviews and was feeling a failure (including McKinsey and Bain first rounds). I didn’t think I was able to do something so huge.

    Once more, thanks for all Victor.

    • Victor Cheng May 18, 2016, 9:27 pm

      Rafael,

      Wow! How did the show go. How courageous of you. Regardless of the outcome, I wanted to acknowledge the risk you took. I think making those kinds of choices changes you (for the better) regardless of whether the outcome was positive or negative in the traditional sense.

      -Victor

  • Tyson Anderson Jan 21, 2016, 12:04 pm

    I just graduated with my bachelor’s degree in April, and the small company I’m with has put me in charge of their largest brand of products, with the goal to grow it from 4 million in revenue to 6 million. A few years ago, this would have terrified me. That’s a lot of responsibility for a recent graduate! However, I’m excited for the challenge and to see really what I can do. I want to run my own business in a few years, and what better way to train me for the responsibility that comes with business ownership?

    • Victor Cheng May 18, 2016, 9:27 pm

      Tyson,

      What an amazing opportunity.

      -Victor

  • Prem Jan 21, 2016, 1:05 pm

    I left my secure but boring job and am now committed to building one of the best Eikaiwas (English conversation schools) in Japan. I quit December 2015, and didn’t apply for the unemployment insurance. I don’t know Japanese beyond basic hi-hellos, and I don’t have the money to rent an office space or a Japanese speaking person. No back up plans at all. It’s a burn-all-ships situation. But I suppose I will figure it all out in the coming 3 months or so. Best case, I will transform English learning in Japan and make a fortune doing so, the worst, I’ll lose weight and live Uni life once again!!

    Thanks and regards,
    Prem

    • Victor Cheng May 18, 2016, 9:27 pm

      Prem

      Good luck!

      -Victor

  • Ted Jan 21, 2016, 1:48 pm

    Hi Victor.

    Thanks again for the amazing post.
    I am currently living my life on the edge.

    I am recently busy with three ventures.
    1). I sit as Non-executive director for a small start-up company ( no massive revenue as yet but the company has massive potential.

    2). I have recently been asked to become a advisor/ambassador for another start-up.

    3). I do independent advisory work for individuals/companies/firms across the African continent. Exiting but lots of hard work.

    I am currently looking to go back in the working world to substance constant income while i continue with the above mentioned roles. I have a strategy that once i go back to the working world the third activity will be in-housed by another advisory firm – whom i have a good relationship with.

    How would you advise someone to be patient and learn to understand that thinks take time to manifest?.

    I read something very interesting today – it said “when you have nothing you must be patient and when you have everything you must have the right attitude”.

    Regards,
    Ted

    • Victor Cheng May 18, 2016, 9:30 pm

      Ted,

      I believe in being inpatient on inputs, while being patient on outputs.

      For building your advisory work, be impatient about the things you need to do to forward your goal. These are your inputs to the process. If you need to identify people to help you, identify them. If you need to write an article, give a speech, or lead a workshop do it.

      If you an impatient on the inputs, you can be patient on the outputs. I don’t think it is reasonable to expect outputs without contributing the inputs.

      -Victor

  • Derya Jan 21, 2016, 1:49 pm

    Your email struck a note with me Victor. I am leaving a comfortable job in NYC, with not much pay and I feel unchallenged to pursue an intimidating but potentially very high rewarding position as a co-founder building out a new type of learning institution in the Philippines as well as working on a large disruptive technology fund. As under 30 years old, without kids, I think it is a perfect time to try this, but nervous Ofcourse as it will not be easy, and will take a lot of adapting.

    • Victor Cheng May 18, 2016, 9:30 pm

      Derya,

      Good luck!

      -Victor

  • Varun Chawla Jan 21, 2016, 1:50 pm

    Hi Victor,

    In response to your pleasant email, I’d like to share my fears with everyone. First and the most common one among all of us would be the apprehension towards consulting. I have been a science enthusiast for nearly all my life so far and currently I’m working towards a doctoral degree. After years of training myself as a scientist, the transition to an extremely competitive domain of consulting seems daunting albeit I have never been so much passionate about anything yet. Secondly, I fear of not having the right “academic pedigree” to earn an interview with any leading consulting firm.

    Best,
    VC

  • GO Jan 21, 2016, 2:00 pm

    Hi Victor
    I am sending out for investors to join me in constructing a large mixed-use resort in Africa. First time doing this. Both excited and terrified.
    Best
    George

  • Scott Jan 21, 2016, 3:38 pm

    Hello Victor!

    I am preparing to defend my PhD thesis and preparing to enter the work force either in the biotech industry or the consulting industry.

    I have been at a university setting for the last ten years of my professional life. Preparing to step out of that setting is both exhilarating and intimidating.

    -Scott

    • Victor Cheng May 18, 2016, 9:33 pm

      Scott,

      Sounds like a perfect balance of excitement and fear.

      -Victor

  • Rex Jan 21, 2016, 4:01 pm

    After losing my job, I didn’t get back to job hunting immediately. I am taking some time off to learn new skills, travel and re-connect with family and friends. 🙂

  • Titilayo Joy Funso Jan 21, 2016, 4:41 pm

    Pursuing a master’s degree in industrial engineering at Georgia Tech after struggling through undergrad terrifies me, so naturally that will be my next move. After grad school I will set my sights on working for and learning more from McKinsey.

    Thank you for your newsletters!

    -TJ

  • Kate Jan 21, 2016, 5:30 pm

    Hi Victor!

    Love your posts. Something that makes me uncomfortable that I’m trying to master is a course in Java programming. I want to be more confident in my technical abilities, and I think Codeacademy is a great place to start 🙂

    Cheers,

    Kate

  • Carl Jan 21, 2016, 5:54 pm

    I’m terrified of having to get up to give a spontaneous speech. I have spoken publicly 100s of times, had to because I have lead a 1.000 people company. When I was 25, I failed all interviews with MBBB because my brain shut down completely when I had to get up. Although, I decided to challenge myself to overcome this hurdle and I did to some extent, to this date I’m never sure if it’ll work or if I will freeze. For me the only way to overcome this terrifying fear is by taking every opportunity that presents itself and go right in like a buffalo. I’m still hoping for the point when it starts to feel comfortable…

    • Victor Cheng May 18, 2016, 9:34 pm

      Carl,

      Keep at it, learn from each attempt, improve. Time takes care of the rest.

      -Victor

  • Mousselmal Taoufik Jan 21, 2016, 6:32 pm

    Hey Victor,

    Thanks for the regular emails, been reading almost all of them!
    The thing that Im doing that is terrifies me now is the set up of an Accelerator in Algeria with the same model as YC in SF. Im now in Seoul trying to convince Korean and Chinese VC to diversify their investments in Africa into the creative/knowledge economy. What scares me about all this? When you set a company like that, you have to have a network of big names, and for now I only have 1…But ill do it because my purpose to help african entrepreneurs succeed locally and globally is above everything. Thats life on my edge!

    Have a wonderful day!

  • Lara Jan 21, 2016, 6:42 pm

    I just returned home from my masters in the UK with no money and quit my old job today; they had been desperately trying to get me to come back. I want to try out entrepreneurship for a short while and pursue only roles that I really want with companies that I really want to work for. It’s daunting and many people think I’m dumb but it’s freeing and exciting too. I’m optimistic about the future.

  • MKR Jan 21, 2016, 6:50 pm

    Quiting the full-time prestigious job I’ve worked so hard to get and throwing myself into figuring out how to make my interest in the healthcare industry into a challenging job

  • George Jan 21, 2016, 6:55 pm

    Preparing for my PhD defense makes me extremely nervous. Of course I haven’t done a PhD before 🙂 It’s my 6 years work for which I have to build a story. Plus, my thesis is about telling stories using service models, therefore I have twice the pressure.

  • Rudolph Shutta Jan 21, 2016, 8:13 pm

    Victor

    This volunteer opportunity will be the best decision you ever made and your girls will love you for it; however, you will not fully understand your contribution until later in life when one of your girls, not necessarily your own, tell you that they had a wonderful experience. That happened to me recently. So sit back and enjoy the ride it is amazing.

    I was a WEBLO Den leader for my son’s Cub Scouts Den. I was, like you, scared to death. However, somehow we all survived my tenure, how I am not sure. That was over 35 years ago. Today the Weblo’s are now men with children and they remember me and the fun times at the BBQ’s at my house, Marco/Polo pool games and the Weblo adventures.

    Victor, you will have the time of your life. Now the important point, I wish I had girls because the Girl Scout’s have the best cookies. I am hoping my granddaughters are girl scouts so they can keep me in cookies.

    Knowing I was present for my son’s and made a difference in the lives of other children is a gift that keeps on giving. It also gave me confidence knowing I could reach out of my comfort zone and just make it happen. Working with children really teaches you about what is important in life. Lastly, the children are very serious about scouting and are not afraid to let you know when you make a mistake.

    • Victor Cheng May 18, 2016, 9:37 pm

      Rudolph,

      Thank you for sharing your story.

      -Victor

  • LGS Jan 21, 2016, 8:19 pm

    I’m terrified to re-enter the workforce after a 2+ years absence. I have an MBA but am concerned about changes in the industry, rusty Excel skills and whatever else I may realize that I have forgotten. Currently working on a Mastering Work flow short course and Excel Financial analysis. It’s very telling and I’m glad I’m doing it to build up confidence.

  • Robin Luo Jan 21, 2016, 9:13 pm

    Thanks Victor for these inspiring articles over years. We should always stretch ourselves to our limits, which we always underestimate. Yes, there will be struggling, failure and pain on the way to greatness. Unfortunately, it is our human nature to avoid risks and short term pain and discomfort. I failed and got humiliated many times in my life so far, but I am so happy that I am never defeated. Looking backward, I am proud of myself that I have already walked so far from a very humble and narrow minded person 10 years ago.

  • Orlok Jan 21, 2016, 11:23 pm

    I’m going down a management track role at Amazon despite having never managed before and having no educational background in management / business.

  • Aditi Jan 21, 2016, 11:29 pm

    I will be applying for an MBA degree to some of the top schools in the US. The process is quite intimidating – I am not sure whether my current profile is good enough to make it to the top schools.

  • qian Jan 22, 2016, 12:23 am

    I am applying for HBS.
    It is really teriffying me.
    But after all, it is something I aspire to finish.
    It is terrying me not because I hate it but I really want to achieve it. Therefore, I am afraid that I am gonna fail It.

  • PD Jan 22, 2016, 12:53 am

    Fantastic post as always. To answer your question, I have an idea for a new weighlifting/powerlifting-centric fitness class geared towards women. It’s something I’m very passionate about but the what if’s keep me from actively immersing myself in the possibility of making it happen.

  • Liliya Jan 22, 2016, 2:10 am

    Hello Victor,
    I am 32 and work for an ad agency as a Client Service team Leader for major account. This year I have decided to be a mother and understood that lots of doors in professional growth just shut down in front of me. I am not perceived as a leader, a someone who company can invest into any longer. It is very intimidating and upsetting. I am not going to be long at maternity leave especially now when our currency collapsed and majority of population is on verge of poverty, but my intention means nothing to management.
    I am irritated at how society acts with women who want to become mothers, we are not ill, we are not less capable of doing anything…

  • AP Jan 22, 2016, 2:40 am

    Hi Victor,

    I’m really scared of a big change that is coming in my way (on purpose) that is to move to the industry from a government/consultancy-related job. I do have the drive and the energy to succeed in a new position but I’m still lacking in confidence, even though I’ve been longing for this move for many years.
    I hope your “consulting caliber skills pack” help me to get ready for that.
    As you said, “I am TERRIFIED – but I’m doing it anyway”!!
    All the best,
    AP

  • Peter Jan 22, 2016, 6:07 am

    Hi Victor,

    as part of your network, I would be glad to provide my insights into scout activities as I have done for many years (although it might not be in the time frame anymore)

    What scares me? For long, an empty calendar for the weekend did – survived that many times and its actually great!

    Now… Taking a decision for a new job after leaving a MBB job – how can I live my passion?

  • Anna Jan 22, 2016, 7:27 am

    PhD med sci, xCEO, xADL, high performer, loving difficulties and sorted chalanges out – the ones other failed with. But running into a destructive manager smashed me to the ground. Now struggling with depression. How to find the confidence again? How to find my brevity?

  • Fernando Jan 22, 2016, 7:46 am

    Hello Victor,

    I’m preparing for consulting jobs and I come from a non target school in Brazil.
    Sometimes I feel so scared when I think about applying among all those top university folks. But, as you said, I’m doing it anyway, and hopefully I’ll be glad that I did.

    Regards,
    -Fernando

  • Jack Jan 22, 2016, 12:07 pm

    This article was a big relief for me because I’m still a little intimidated by what I’m doing now… and the desire to turn back because of fear is constant and strong!

    Six months ago I quit my job as a consultant at a Fortune 500 company to move to Beijing, join an education start-up, and try to achieve my lifelong goal of mastering Mandarin Chinese.

    I’m happy with my current direction in life, but there are days when that big corporate security still calls to me and it’s always a struggle to resist.

    Thanks again for a great read!

  • Clinton Jan 22, 2016, 8:17 pm

    There are 3 things at the moment that I am aiming for which intimidate/scare me

    1. Cold emailing and cold contacting investment banks and consulting firms to ask for an unpaid internship.

    2. Applying again and going through the recruitment process to join my university’s case competition team (I was rejected last year for poor public speaking skills).

    3. Taking on a leadership role at a growing start-up (this terrifies me because I have no experience in managing start-ups or people in a business).

  • Olatunde Jan 22, 2016, 8:35 pm

    June 2016 CFA Level I exam for the first time despite two critical challenges; time and finance.

  • Alex Jan 23, 2016, 6:49 am

    After getting a job offer from Global Strategy Group KPMG (thanks to your book) I’m waiting for the start of my work and thinking about getting an MBA.

    Now I’m vigorously intimidated by the idea of passing GMAT exam, because my analytical skill is not stellar.

  • Steve Jan 23, 2016, 10:43 am

    Victor!

    At 47, I am studying for Level 3 of the CFA exam while working FT with two kids. Also active in Boy Scouts and church missions committee.

  • Justina Jan 23, 2016, 3:29 pm

    I am writing a master thesis in a form of scientific article, and what intimidates me is a fact that i cant find a common language/enough help from my supervisor.

  • Ac Jan 24, 2016, 5:20 am

    Job interviews.

  • Karishma Jan 24, 2016, 2:31 pm

    I am hoping to complete a triathlon by the end of the year but I’ve injured my lower back and cannot train regularly because of my consulting gig

  • Amit Jan 25, 2016, 11:00 pm

    Hi Victor, I have been working in the academia ever since I graduated and it scares me to go out and work in an industry setting as I am not sure if I can cope up with the culture change. Any thoughts? Thanks

    • Victor Cheng Feb 10, 2016, 8:01 pm

      Amit,

      I think your concern is legitimate. you might not be able to cope. But then again, you might. I don’t know the answer and nor do you.

      It sounds like your “edge” is in there somewhere.

      There’s only one way to find out… to take action.

      -Victor

  • Manuel Jan 26, 2016, 8:07 am

    Hi Victor,

    Thank you for your work, I find it very inspiring.

    To answer the question, what I am currently persueing that scares me is to become a Professor at a Belgium University. I just sent the cover letter. I have been once an assistant lecturer, but I did it in Portugal, the country where I am from. 6 years have passed, and now I am living in Belgium, so the situation is quite different. I feel thrilled, but also frightened.

    Let me thank you once again for your time and concern. I regularly follow you via your emails.

    Manuel

  • Digby Jan 26, 2016, 3:39 pm

    1. Becoming a life coach and public speaking
    2. Breaking the Million $ line in 12 months

  • Dhruv Jan 26, 2016, 11:15 pm

    I joined an 8-week improv course. I was really intimated for the first two classes with the thought that I might say something that might be not funny or off-putting. I’m more on the introvert side and that thought was quite disturbing. But it turned out I wasn’t quite bad and I learnt quite a few things. Just, after the second class, I’m excited for the third one!

    • Victor Cheng May 18, 2016, 9:38 pm

      Dhruv,

      I had a similar experience with impov. Enjoy!

      -Victor

  • DG Jan 27, 2016, 6:06 am

    Currently preparing to get into Consulting after not succeeding last year.

  • Muneeb Jan 27, 2016, 7:36 am

    Hi Victor,
    Hope you’re well. I’m working towards Pakistan’s Civil Service (CSP) exam, which is one of the most competitive examinations in the country. We have about 30,000 people vying for less than 200 vacancies every year – with the best and brightest Pakistanis flying in from top universities from all over the world to secure a position in the prestigious roles that the CSP (heir to the British Imperial Civil Service in India) has to offer.
    The thought of failing scares me everyday. But I’ve worked hard to crack the nut for the last 8 years and will continue to do so until I succeed. It’s CSP or bust for me. Wish me luck!

  • Harsh Jan 27, 2016, 11:37 am

    Hi Victor,

    I am creating my own brand of personal accessories (sunglasses, wallets, card holders, laptop bag, cufflink, etc…)

    My previous jobs full time jobs were, LPG broker, trader, business development manager, materials scientist. I have a MEng is Materials Science & Engineering and have never worked in fashion or marketing before.

    I am very excited about this challenge. Always a pleasure reading your e-mails Victor.

    Thanks,

    Harsh

  • Jerry Jan 27, 2016, 10:01 pm

    I’m running the boston marathon this coming April and I need to fundraise 5 thousand dollars for it. I’m both excited and terrified for my first marathon!

  • David Roth Jan 28, 2016, 2:10 pm

    Hi, Victor. Absolutely love your business insights that can be applied to life’s challenges. I pass along your articles to friends and colleagues constantly. I am about to enter an Executive MBA Program at UTSA(San Antonio), and am wondering whether I should take on a $60,000 debt at 69. But, like you said, you have to stretch yourself if you want to take the next step up. Keep up the good work.

    • Victor Cheng May 18, 2016, 9:39 pm

      David,

      Wow, best wishes on your journey.

      -Victor

  • Jennifer Jan 29, 2016, 7:34 am

    Hi Victor,
    I am a single mother with two lovely children. Six years ago I decided to build a home for my children. I was terrified but I did it anyway and moved in last year. I have worked for my current employer for 15 years now and this year I would like to make a career change to consulting. The thought of this is intimidating because I’d be leaving my comfort zone for a completely new field. However I believe the skills and competencies gained overtime together with your insightful advice have given me the courage to take the plunge!

    • Victor Cheng Feb 10, 2016, 7:55 pm

      Jennifer,

      Good luck! Whether your first attempt succeeds or not, I suspect you will learn and grow in ways not possible by sitting on the sidelines.

      Best Wishes
      -Victor

  • Margarita , Moscow Jan 31, 2016, 9:24 am

    Hi Victor,

    I am terrified of DANGER. Sounds pretty normal, right? Yes, but not in my case. I am afraid to fall on the rails in the tube,even when I am far away from them; afraid to get some terrible desease, afraid of some slight dirt or rubbish, as it might contain billions of tuberculosis (or something worth) bacteria, so i wash my feet with antibacterial whipes when i walk in flip-flops, etc.
    Well I just came back from a month-trip from (you won’t believe it) Indonesia! And it was not a ‘5-star-resort-and-spa’ holday, it was a proper travelling aroung the country with hostel bulk bed nights, terrible smells,dirty dishes (whish is somehow typical even for some solid cafes) total lack of comfort that I am used to. Victor, during that month I was afraid of just one thing – heart attack. Result: I saw amazing wild thigs and places: erupting vulcano, waterfalls in monkey forest, terrific lagunas, open smiley local people – all the things I would have never seen with a deluxe tour guide or from the window of a nice hotel room. And you know, I became more free. Free from fears that something bad should definetely happen to me. I am still coucious , but my mind is clear =)

  • Dimitar Bushkalov Feb 15, 2016, 6:32 am

    Hi Victor,

    You share in your email that you are TERRIFIED of being a Meeting leader. Well, in my case I never really understood digital media and how it impacts businesses. Thus, I decided to write my master dissertation on exactly this topic – How to design effective Digital marketing strategies.

    Let’s see how it goes 🙂

    Kind regards
    Your Fan

    • Victor Cheng Feb 22, 2016, 2:41 pm

      Dimitar,

      Good luck to both of us!

      -Victor

Leave a Comment