Paula Klein Newsletter
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July 22, 2014
I've been thinking about risk-taking lately—the risks we take to live fuller more meaningful lives, to be happier... the kind that inspired the title of this newsletter, Reach... Grow... Thrive! ~ because I really do believe that risk-taking is a prerequisite to thriving. Several years ago, I left a somewhat secure, well paying job with the government, as it was chipping away at my soul and overall sense of well-being. I wanted more—more time, both quality and quantity, with my family, and more opportunity to engage in work that was life affirming and allowed me to be more authentically who am ~ work that allows me to keep learning and developing new skills and knowledge. Risky? Yes. But I haven't looked back once. As I write this, my son is preparing to leave for New York University to study acting in September. He didn't play it safe; he is enacting 'go big or go home!' What risks are you pondering these days?

Featured Article
Risk-Taking: The Courage To Be Authentic

What could be riskier than jumping out of an airplane or accelerating a racecar into a curve at the Indy 500?

For one person, it might be quitting a secure, well-paying job to go back to school or start a business. For another, it could be deciding to leave a long-term relationship, moving to a new city, or reporting that the company they work for is endangering the environment or people's lives.

Psychological risks that call upon us to put our personal values and sense of security on the line may ultimately feel more dangerous than those of physical feats. Yet, these are the challenges that we are asked to face if we are to continue to grow as individuals. Each time we take a risk that contributes to our personal growth, enhances our self-esteem or enriches our lives, we make the choice to stretch ourselves, knowing there are no guarantees and chancing possible failure.

Growth-producing risks fall into several categories; here are three:

Self-Improvement Risks
These are the risks you take when you want to make a change, learn something new or turn a dream into a reality. You take on the venture with hopes of enriching your life. Maybe you want to change careers, or take singing lessons, or learn to speak French. On one side of the risk is the person you are and, on the other, the person you want to become.

Commitment Risks
All commitment risks have emotional stakes whether you pledge yourself to a person or to a cause, a career or a value. If you avoid making emotional commitments, you all but guarantee that your emotional growth will be stifled.

Self-Disclosure Risks
When you open up to others and reveal who you really are, how you feel, and what you want and need, you make yourself vulnerable. It is difficult to get what you really want and need in life without doing so.

All risks carry with them the possibility of failure. Often significant sacrifices must be made before any real benefits are realized. Routines may have to change and you will have to let go of the familiar. You may be rejected or embarrassed. Personal safety may be in danger. Your health and well-being may be put on the line in the name of a cause. Challenging yourself is often the key to personal growth and development.

Are you a risk-taker? Ask yourself the following questions:
  • Do many important decisions involve prolonged debates with yourself?
  • Do you accept less than what you should because you're afraid to speak up?
  • Do you have difficulty making emotional commitments to others?
  • Do you make up excuses that stop you from taking advantage of opportunities for self-improvement?
  • Do fears of disapproval or failure keep you from doing what you'd really like to do?
  • Do you feel too comfortable with the familiar to risk the unknown
A "yes" answer to these questions indicates a reluctance to take risks, which may mean you tend to play it safe and reject change.

Consider this: To fulfill your potential, to discover your real self and live an authentic life, you must take risks. And while security may appear to be the absence of change, you may be missing out on a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

Author's content used with permission, © Claire Communications

On the Horizon
Individual Life Coaching:

If you (or someone you know) could benefit from the support of a coach to help activate and stay on track with your life vision and goals, or to further along a business vision, contact me at
Words to Ponder
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all."
- Helen Keller

"Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A ship is always safe at the shore—but that is NOT what it is built for."
- Albert Einstein
With a background in education, social work, and psychology, I understand the various ways that people are motivated to change. Throughout my career, I have promoted growth and development, healing, and change. I have worked as an educator, a psychotherapist with individuals, couples, and groups, and have provided training, workshops, and professional development programs.

As a Life Coach, I work with professionals, artists, and entrepreneurs who get stuck in the routines and busyness of everyday life. They have postponed or been derailed from their personal or professional goals, but are motivated to reclaim their lives and live more in accordance with their core values. I help people envision their future and identify what they most want and need in order to thrive. I help them overcome their obstacles so that they can spend their time and energy more intentionally. By working together, my clients reach beyond what they thought was even possible and actively create more meaningful lives.

I live in Toronto with my wonderful partner and our two incredible and talented teenage children.

Paula Klein
Life Coach and Social Worker (MSW)

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