Risk Relationship

Ten years ago, my friend Jake and I were doing some arnis (stick fighting) drills for a photo shoot for his self defense school and he accidentally hit me in the face, splitting my eye open.

The moment I saw the blood pouring into my hands, I said to my friend Kevin the photographer, “Quick, take a picture!” as I knew someday it would come in handy.

That day is today!

Jake is someone I look up to for his boldness and his willingness to spill blood, both literally and metaphorically. In business and life he has ruffled his fair share of feathers and, in my opinion, this has been fundamental to his impressive success.

I know that my own worry of upsetting or disappointing people has been something that has held me back from fulfilling my own potential and so now, as I expand beyond my comfort in this area, I am looking to people like Jake for inspiration.

“What if I were willing to spill blood?” I have wondered.

As I contemplate and explore this I find two striking insights.

First, in most cases, blood actually never gets spilled. The risk is much lower than we think.

Second, and most strikingly, spilling blood doesn’t necessarily end a relationship.

In fact, the moment Jake split my eye open he dropped his sticks and lunged forward with avid concern for my wellbeing. I remember his response even more than getting hit and although we don’t see each other much these days, when I think of Jake, this moment of his concern is the one that represents what our friendship is. He was always there for me. He cared.

What if risking breaking a relationship was exactly the thing that was most likely to make it stronger?

To ‘risk relationship’ then takes on a powerful double meaning.

How can you risk relationship with someone today?