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
  • 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!


  • 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. 🙂

  • 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.


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


      Sounds like a perfect balance of excitement and fear.


  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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


      Good luck!


  • 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”.


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


      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.


  • 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,

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


      Good luck!


  • 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


      What an amazing opportunity.


  • Rafael Jan 21, 2016, 11:41 am

    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


      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.


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