You are currently viewing Episode 139 – Embracing Risk

Episode 139 – Embracing Risk

While I was visiting Europe recently we went to an adventure park where children could climb in the trees attached to a harness.

I noticed so many differences between how this park operated versus how it would be in the United States.

As I observed I thought a lot about risk and how we as grievers operate when we’ve been through miscarriage, stillbirth or babyloss.

We know what it feels to fall, but what are we missing out on when we don’t want to climb anymore?

The Park we visited in Geneva, Switzerland:

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Music by ZingDog on Pond5


I just got back from a trip and I recorded all my podcasts before I left, and this is my first time sitting down at my microphone and talking to you. I’ve got my special drink here. I’m super, like, I mostly just drink water all day, every day.

But we had some ginger a in the house, and Ginger is my favorite. I’m Canadian, and if you’re Canadian, you know that Ginger ale cures all ills. But I’m enjoying a little ginger oil with some lemon and lime in it, and it’s so good. So cheers to you and whatever you are drinking out there, as you listen. I wanted to talk about embracing risk today, and I’ve talked a little bit about recently, kind of this fear of failure, but I actually wanna talk about risk and I’ll tell you why.

I just got back from Switzerland and you might be wondering, Why was I in Switzerland? Well, my parents got divorced when I was really, really young, and my dad went to Geneva to do an MBA program and do some schooling, and he ended up staying there and I got to visit a lot when I was younger. And then we had this huge chunk of time when we didn’t travel very much while I was in the process of.

Building our family. And so I had pregnancy, I had breastfeeding, and I had loss, and I had tiny kids. But in 2019 I was able to take my older girls to visit their grandpa, and this spring we decided to seize the day and take my Rainbow boys, and they are currently nine and five, and my husband came too. So I figured we had a pretty good ratio.

Of going one-to-one, um, in case things got tricky, but the boys did really well considering all the new things they had to deal with, being on an airplane, new people, new foods, jet lag, all of those things. And we had a great time. And one of the activities we did really inspired me to do this podcast episode because when you have a podcast and you’re a coach, everything can be an episode.

And I just, I think about you all the time and how I can help you and yeah, so I got really inspired while I was sitting and waiting and watching my kids, and we were searching for something simple to do, close to home on our last day because, We’d pushed pretty hard most of the other days, and my boys were kind of tired and my dad.

Was kind of tired. He’s not used to, um, running all over with these, these energetic little people. So we found this adventure park that is basically a ropes course for children. There’s zip lines, there’s towers, there’s all these obstacles up in the tree, and I’ll put the link to the place in my bio if you’re ever in Geneva.

You should totally go. Like I highly, five stars recommend. So I wanna tell you first about this park. It is just, well, if you’ve been to Europe, you know, it’s like little tight roads and everything takes a kind of a long time to get places even though it’s close. So we are driving, driving, driving. You know, it wasn’t very far, but it took a long time to get there.

But then you kind of turn a corner and you see all these trees and there’s a big park and I think they said it used to be a golf course. Um, but the city has taken it back and so they’ve built this little adventure park in one corner of the trees and it is amazing. So you go there and you sign up. You pay your money and they pretty much immediately say, Hey, go to the bathroom.

And then they put you in a harness, I’m sure, because it’s for kids. They know that it’s better to go potty before you get that harness on. But they put the harness on and I ended up staying with my, and what they did was they just took us over to this little, um, starter park for kids. So they have. They go by ages.

And then they also had this thing where like you could reach, if you could reach a certain height, then you could go on certain courses. And so it was really like divided up well by ages and. And for my little guy, we went over and they had some little, um, courses to do that started out really easy. And they, they have the harness as attached to a pulley.

And the pulley you put on this cable and the cable goes all through the course. And so for the little ones, the four to six year olds, they never, ever come off that cable. Um, they don’t have to mess with carabiners, they don’t have to do some of the things I’ve seen at other ropes course courses. And it’s really safe and, and it starts out really safe.

And they’re just figuring out like how to make the pulley move and how to go over, like, around corners with the pulley and, and some of the little, um, things that it would catch on. And so you go through the first course and you go on the second course. And it is going really, really good. We’re having fun.

Uh, we are lucky. There were no other kids there right when we started. And so the next course is a bigger one, and it’s the turtle course. Like they each had, I think there was like a pirate one and a giraffe, a jungle one, and, and then you go on the turtle one. Well, the turtle one immediately goes, they said, parents, you can’t go in there.

So you can kind of see them, but you’re behind, so you can’t help. You’re not under the obstacles. You’re not giving them any advice. You’re not helping them. If they get stuck, they just go. And my little guy, it’s funny because he. Is sometimes scared to do some things. Like we go to this children’s museum and they have a playground and it has like this net jungle gym thing that goes up high and he won’t do it.

He’s never done it. He, he’s tried and he always comes down, but. Since he had this harness and since, I don’t know, he was just in the zone. He went for it. And so he gets on this turtle course and he just goes, and you can kind of see him from afar, but he’s just like figuring it out and, and doing his thing.

And it’s so cool to watch, you know, and the, the mom part of me wants to help and I try not to hover too much and try to let my kids problem solve and do all of that, but, Yeah, that urge to just be there and help them is really strong. But I loved, I think this is, and this is part of the difference with, I would say American or North American parenting versus maybe European parenting or other, um, styles of parenting is it was really, really hands off.

There were so many kids there. Actually, while we were there, a whole bunch of field trips came in and it would be like an entire preschool class, so maybe four year olds, five year olds, and they would have two teachers for the whole class. And the teachers were kind of doing their thing. And the guides, the people that ran the park, they just did the same thing.

They kind of got ’em set up, showed ’em how to use their pulley, showed ’em how to, um, take turns and wait. And then they just let them go. And it was really, really, Interesting to watch. Interesting to watch the kids, how they figured it out, how they problem solved, how they helped each other when kids were scared, you know, and one kid doesn’t wanna go and all the kids were lining up behind them how they would help the kid or they would get help, or they would encourage them to just jump and go down the zip line.

Uh, so interesting. And then in the other area, there were all these courses where you would be up really high and there was a really huge zip line for the older kids. They had a pulley and they had a carabiner, and that carabiner was locked, and so it never came off the track, but they would have to move the pulley around different obstacles.

So that was also really interesting to watch. They had just a. An intro video that they watched and then they again let them go. And I noticed as I went through, like as I had been sitting there for quite a while, or maybe even when I was leaving, I realized I. We didn’t even sign a waiver like we, you know, in the states, probably Canada too.

It’s very like, you need to sign a waiver for literally everything and it needs to be in a place like this. Uh, it would be really long. And I actually thought, and I was talking to my husband and I said, I don’t know. And maybe I’m wrong, maybe I just haven’t seen a place like this, but I thought, I don’t know if this would even be a thing in North America where they would have this adventure park up in the trees for children.

That was like so safe and yet, They really just let the kids do whatever they wanted and go where they wanted, as long as they were hooked onto their pulley. And I just, I thought, it’s so sad. Like it’s sad that we don’t have opportunities like this because we’re so afraid that somebody might get hurt.

And so this overarching thing of like, we don’t want anybody to ever get hurt. What does that do to our lives? Um, what does that do to the way we think? What does that do to the way we parent, the way we make choices? And how much risk are we willing to embrace so that we can enjoy our lives? I watched these kids and they were loving it.

They were having the best time. My sons never stopped smiling and my, I have a half-brother and he’s their uncle that they’ve never met in person, and he went up with my nine year old and was doing that with him. And they had the best time. And I just thought, it’s really unfortunate that we’re missing out on opportunities like this, uh, when we’re so scared of risk and we’re so scared of possibly getting hurt or someone we love possibly getting hurt.

And the thing I thought about the waiver, Which again, it was so funny, like we just walked up. We said, this is how old we are. This is how tall we are, this is what we wanna do. We just paid like it was easy. It wasn’t like this huge process to get to do it. We just did it. And that’s why I didn’t even notice until way later we didn’t sign a waiver that I saw.

And why do we sign the waivers? Of course it’s for legal reasons, but for us as consumers, right? Like the, the place wants to protect itself and we want some assure, it’s almost like a reassurance or it seems like a protection, but really it’s just an illusion of control, right? Especially for us, like mostly the waiver is protecting the establishment.

Um, it’s not even protecting us. It’s basically saying you can’t sue us. But for some reason in our minds it feels like, oh, that’s, they’re safety conscious, or they’re, I don’t know, what do you think? Help me out here. Uh, yeah, those waivers are just illusions of control. And I also thought, and I’m just gonna talk about like as we go through this, so I really wanted to use this as an example.

But we’re gonna talk about some different things, and the goal here is for you to look at where are you not embracing risk? Where are you holding yourself back? Like what? What is happening in your life where you are clinging onto this illusion of control, but what you’re really doing is holding yourself back.

So I loved how they let the kids learn on their own, right? They started small, then they moved up. And actually after this, this turtle course that I was talking about, that was like more bigger obstacles that that parents couldn’t even get near that they had to figure out on their own. There was a fourth one, a fourth course, which they went up a tower and started on these zip lines, which I’m watching my five-year-old just jump off this tower.

Um, he was super brave, but he was too little to kind of get to the end. And so, uh, quite a few times he had to like, grab on the rope and try to pull himself up and, and it was really, really hard. And it was hard to watch him because again, you wanna help. But the way that the people who worked there would help was, number one, they just let them struggle.

Like they really just threw him off that zip line and weren’t even paying a ton of attention. They turned back around to the other kids on the platform and uh, then they would just tell them like, grab on the rope and pull yourself up and do this. And, and they would kind of maybe give them ideas of how they could help.

Themself. And I think that’s something that maybe we don’t do enough for ourselves and for the people we love, right? Is like let them figure it out. And even when it’s hard, besides my son, I sat and watched a lot of these kids on the field trip who really did struggle. Either their arms weren’t strong enough or they got scared.

Um, they, you know, almost made it to the top and kind of slid back to the middle and. They really kept doing this. They kept trying to tell them, you know, use your hands, pull yourself and, and do all this. And then when they did really need help, they would step in and help them. But it was really impressive to me how they believed in those kids.

They believed that they could do it on their own. And I think that’s something that when we’re afraid of risk, right? Inherently we’re saying, I don’t think you can do this successfully. I think something bad is gonna happen. And so we really, it’s like we don’t trust ourselves. We don’t trust our kids. We don’t trust people around us to be able to accomplish these things, especially hard things.

So where is that happening for you? Where are you stepping in and blocking yourself or someone you love from learning things, from it being hard. I think as we look at coaching and really allowing for grief and allowing for this life, we really are risk averse when it comes to like dealing with another loss or letting our kids.

Experience hard things, letting ourself experience hard things. And we don’t trust that we can figure it out. We don’t trust that we could, um, survive it really. So where are you doing that for yourself? I think this is like, that’s the crux of it. That’s why I wanna talk about this today. Like where are you not embracing risk or allowing others to embrace risk?

Then I wanna talk a little bit about the harness. So, so interesting. Like I said, that my five-year-old, he gets really nervous, but something about that harness, knowing that he had that on and you know, they really, they really didn’t give him a ton of information. They just put him in the harness, told him how to clip in and let him go.

But he trusted that harness and he knew he. Wouldn’t fall. And I knew he wouldn’t fall of course. And as a child, he’s not thinking, well what if the harness, what if the thing breaks? What if something happens? Right? But it was all very, um, it felt very safe. So I want you to ask yourself where, what is your safety net?

What would help you? What would help you to take risk? What would help you to climb up in a bunch of trees? What would help you to jump off a zip line metaphorically that would help you feel safe? It’s like doing the trapeze with the safety net, right? Most of us, if you paid us enough, we would go and try to do a trapeze if we knew there was a net, if there wasn’t a net.

I don’t know if you could ever pay someone enough money to do it if they were afraid, right, for the first time to do it without a net. And sometimes that that net is so important so that we can take risks and I want to offer that coaching tools can be that net. So I have over a hundred episodes already teaching you tools that.

Are that safety net, it’s understanding that. Nothing can go wrong in your life. That everything is happening for you, not to you. That you can handle grief, that you can handle hard things, that you can find joy, that like all the ways to live life after loss. These help us handle anything that seems risky and I think it helps us to push, like I would never have started a podcast probably without coaching tools.

I wouldn’t have put myself out there all the ways that I have. I wouldn’t have started a business if I hadn’t had someone say to me, Amy, you can do this. And the things that I know, the things that I believe, the things that I have learned from coaching have helped me take lots and lots of risks. And the more risks I’ve taken, the more I’ve embraced it.

The more I’ve done things I never could have imagined, and I hope to do so many more things. I have lots and lots of goals. So what is your harness? What can you clinging to? I think this is so important, and I hope that the tools you learn here are some of those things that have you say, Hey, I can step out.

I can take that step off the platform and go down that zip line and scream and yell and feel the wind in my hair because I know that I trust myself that I, I have everything I need. And I’m amazing and I’m lovable, and I’m worthy, and I’m whole, and this life is incredible and I want to live it. That’s what the harness is for me.

I wanna talk about really risks. If we’re talking about physical risks, like taking risks, um, It used to be for you that, or for most of us, we didn’t think death would touch our lives, or we didn’t think it would happen for a really long time. Like when we’re really, really old, we’ll fall asleep and never wake up and it’ll be just like this peaceful thing.

And now death has touched us much earlier and much more intimately than we ever imagined. So it seems really important for your brain to keep reminding us of this. Right? That like we could die, people we love could die. It’s very, very important. But what if your brain is wrong? What if it’s not actually that important or helpful to constantly be worried?

I think this is, you can see this if you watch the news or if you really feed into what the news is saying, it’s constantly tying us. You need to be afraid. You need to be afraid. You need to be afraid. You need to be afraid of all the things. That could go wrong. All the things that could hurt you, all the things that could hurt your family, all the problems that there are in the world, but is it true?

What does that do to your life? Is it saving your life? Is it improving your life? I would say for the most part, no. It’s making your life worse. It’s making your life harder, and I highly recommend, especially if you’re like actively grieving, to just really watch what you’re putting into your brain. Why this is so important is because I see you holding yourself back, and if you have living children, you’re hovering over them.

You’re always afraid, you’re constantly anxious, and you think that that’s just how it is, that you don’t have a choice. But you do have a choice, and I dunno if you can hear like the passion, I’m just so passionate about this. You have a choice. You do not have to live your life in fear, right? We wanna understand our nervous system, we wanna understand the trauma we’ve been through.

We wanna understand that there’s some reactions that you’re always going to have, or maybe you’re gonna have for a while. But that doesn’t mean that you have to be afraid of everything forever, like. Losing your baby is not a life sentence to fear. It really isn’t. And the cost of not embracing risk is incalculable.

And what I mean by that is we can’t know, right? And this is when we look back, a lot of times we will like, we don’t wanna look back when we’re older and say, oh my goodness, like I did not live. I didn’t live because I was afraid of dying, or I was afraid of being hurt or I was afraid of everything. What is the cost of that?

No, I’m not saying go like do something crazy dangerous. I’m just saying it could be walking in the baby aisle that you just like are avoiding this entire section of Target. Because it seems so risky. It, it’s so scary, and it’s like, what is the cost of that? How are you living your life trying to avoid something that seems scary when it really, you’re not living your life?

I just turned 42 and even though I still feel pretty young and I, but I also have a lot I can look back over in my life and I can see where I missed out because I was scared or nervous or unsure. And the easiest thing to do was say no, and to stay in my comfort zone into. To stay home like this. Really small example is I, when I had my first daughter, we lived on a military base, and if you’ve ever been in the military, like you gotta make friends fast, and I had some amazing friends and they would get together for game day.

I can’t remember if it was once a week or once a month. But they would always invite me and I would be like, oh, my baby has to have a nap. Like it was so important to me that she could eat and that she could nap exactly on time. And she was a very like, She was kind of tricky to nurse and I for some reason was like still super uncomfortable to nurse in front of these people, even though they’re all like young moms.

Like nobody cared. But I remember just thinking, I have to go home. I have to nurse my baby and I have to put her down and she has to sleep otherwise like my whole day will blow up. And because of that, I missed out on the fun, I missed out on those relationships I missed out. On so many things, and I always look back and say, why did I do that?

And it’s just because like I was doing my best as a young mom, um, figuring things out. But you know, just even things like that, like where are you holding yourself back? What are you saying no to? And I want you to think like you probably already have something in your head that you’re like, oh my gosh.

Maybe it’s like going for a new job or going back to school or like even traveling, right? Traveling seems really scary right now. Sometimes I can tell you my flights, everything was great. We had no problems and I was so happy. Um, and I just like manifested good weather and I was like, it’s gonna be perfect cuz it could be super rainy in the spring in Geneva.

But, but yeah, it’s like, So what? Like, so your plane gets delayed, you figure it out. You’re gonna figure it out. You’re gonna be okay. You might have a terrible story that will be really funny later, but you’re gonna be okay. So what are you saying no to? And then I want you to ask yourself, what is your harness that you can absolutely trust?

What is that thing that’s gonna tether you to know that nothing is going to happen and it’s okay to take these risks? I really believe that tethering yourself to your higher being, to God, to Jesus, to whoever you believe in. It can be huge to just say, I trust the plan that this higher being has for me.

I trust the universe. I trust that my life is always gonna be what it’s supposed to be, and there’s nothing I can do to mess that up. I cannot mess this up. I can’t make the wrong choice. And then I really want you to sink into trusting yourself. What if you are the harness? And this is where I think coaching comes in, and this is where I’d like to invite you.

If you’re resonating with this and you’re thinking, Amy, I am living like a half of a life because I’m afraid of everything, or there’s this thing I wanna do and I’m just so afraid and I don’t know how to get over that hump. I don’t know how to jump off the edge of the tower. You gotta learn how to trust yourself, and that’s what we do in coaching.

I’m gonna show you that like you can handle any emotion, you can handle any curve ball that comes to you. And you can live your life normally. Not being afraid of curve balls all the time. Like have you ever walked near a baseball diamond? Especially like city recreation where you got like, there’s diamonds everywhere and some of ’em have like nets and some don’t.

And some have big kids. And some have little kids, and you’re just like, you never know when you’re gonna get smacked in the head with the ball. I don’t want you to live like you’re walking through a little league baseball park. I want you to understand that you can walk with confidence, that you don’t have to be afraid that something’s gonna hit you all the time, like your life.

It can be so amazing. But you gotta embrace some risk. You gotta jump off the zip line. You gotta let your kids jump off the zip line. And if you don’t have kids yet, I’m telling you. If and when that happens for you, you are already ahead of the game. Like you can decide ahead of time. I am gonna let my kids take risks cuz I, and I am gonna let them learn because it’s the best way we learn.

And I can tell you that the kids, as I watch them, they figured this out. They did amazing and they had a great time. Even the ones who struggled, even the ones who were scared and they learned so much, and it’s just so valuable, and that’s what I want for you. And as adults, sometimes we just, we don’t put ourselves in places where we can take risks.

So that’s my homework for you is where can you take some risks, whether it’s doing something that’s gonna pump up your adrenaline, uh, or doing something, going for something you want, going for a goal. Or it could even be like letting your kids go on the swings at the playground, because I know that sometimes these in our mind are just so big and scary and you know what?

They might get hurt. You might get hurt. But when you have. The, that base inside of you that you know you’re gonna handle it, you can do anything. I truly believe that for you. So if you’re thinking. Uh, Amy, I wanna do this. I just don’t know how. Please come talk to me. There’s, uh, link in the show notes. Come and talk to me.

It is a really safe space. All we’re gonna do is talk about what you’re struggling with and how I can help you. If you’re interested in coaching, I will tell you how you can do that. If not, then we’ll just have a great conversation. I can point you in some directions and you keep listening to the podcast, but.

There is a difference between listening to this and actually implementing it and joining my program and working with me, and I want the best for you. And so if you need to kick in the pants, please come and talk to me. I love you. I’ll see you next time. Are you tired of feeling like your baby’s death was somehow your fault?

Go to and get my free mini course. How to Stop Blaming Yourself After Loss.

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