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.

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96 comments… add one
  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

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