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Only The Risk Takers Are Free

Updated on October 15, 2009




          We can never get anywhere in life if we do not become risk takers.  There is simply no way around it.  We've all heard the axiom 'nothing ventured, nothing gained.  This is another way of saying that we must become risk takers if we want to journey the path of success.  One of my favorite books says that 'to get to the fruit you have to go out on a limb.'  That about sums up the need to become a risk taker, and a daring one at that, let me add.


          The good news is that we are in good company.  Many successful inventors, pioneers, scientists, artists and other daring people were brave, bold and daring enough to take risks.  A few names come to mind:  Christopher Columbus.  Amelia Earheart.  The Wright Brothers.  I think of somewhere that I read that Dolly Parton basically gathered her guitar, some songs, clothes and headed to Nashville to pursue her singing dream.  Now look at Dolly Parton.  There are many others who have set examples for us.  Myself included.  I remember how petrified I used to be just to ask a girl out on a date.  I was so uptight and fearful back in those long ago days that I wound up in counseling.  I recall the counselor saying to me one day.


          "I there any girl that you are attracted to and would like to go out with?"

          "Yes, Anita Simmons.  I really like her.  We talk and lot and have lots of laughs but I am just too scared to ask her out."


          "Are you saying that you are afraid of rejection?"


          "Of course that is what I am saying."


          "Okay.  I understand.  We are probably all afraid of rejection and we have all probably been rejected at one time or another, and will be again.  Be open to trying something different, Michael.  Instead of letting your fear of rejection immobilize, tell yourself that in spite of fear, you are going to ask Anita out.  The worst that can happen is that she will turn you down.  Then you at least have the satisfaction of knowing that you made the effort.  And you will know that she is not interested in dating.  Then you will be free to ask other girls out."


          "You are right."


          So trembling and voice somewhat quaking, a few days later I asked Anita out.  And she did not reject me!  We went out for a few dates, had some great times and then decided we would prefer to just be friends.


          The great news is that once we take a risk, it becomes easier the next time.  That does not mean it cannot still be difficult or cause us anxiety.  I have been a risk taker for many years, and I still find myself feeling fear, doubt and nervousness when it's time to take another risk.  To illustrate that this is an ongoing reality that we learn to live with and accept I will share a recent personal story.


          My book of love poems titled Dawn's Kiss was accepted by a publisher in May 2009.  This was a big accomplishment for me because it took a lot of energy, work and effort on my end to get the nerve to send out poems for a publisher to consider filling a book.  To make things worse and me even more doubtful and fearful, a writer who I correspond with told me a few days earlier that two things do not sell:  Poetry and Humor.  My first reaction was this big knot in my stomach and feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I have been a poet for years and years.  I have poured my heart out and bared my soul and have written over two hundred love poems.  All to no avail?  Would nobody want to publish my love poems?

          Instead of giving up something else happened and I confess that this came as a surprise to me because my writer friend who I have been corresponding with for some ten years is a very famous Cincinnati science fiction writer who has been a full time writer for over forty years.  He has won all the major awards there are to win, and he is constantly being nominated for awards and winning them.  His output is amazing.  That aside, I decided that nobody knows everything.


          If there was a chance that my writer friend was wrong, I wanted to be the one to prove it.  So I went through my files of poems and sent out three different sets of poems, each containing some twenty poems.  I figured that at best a publisher might want to publish a chapbook with maybe fifty poems if I were lucky.  A few weeks later I hear back and the editor said to me.  Mr. Dennis, we think that your poems would make a lovely book.  Please let us know which set you would like for us to use.  The 'love poems' immediately came to mind.   Not only did they agree to publish a book but they wanted to publish all two hundred of my love poems in one book.  I was floored and delighted all at once.  Yes, I know the marketing and the distribution is the next big step for the success of any book and that brings me to my next encounter with fear, anxiety and doubt again.


          My publisher switched distributors so I was not able to contact my local bookstores.  I had to wait until I could tell them where they could exactly purchase the books from.  Although I wanted this to be a done deal, I realize that part of me did not mind the wait because deep down I was petrified of calling bookstores and asking them to carry my book.  And then to ask them if they would have me do a book signing.  And then to call media outlets to see if they would promote and advertising my book signings at various bookstores.


          I admit that I am an extrovert when I need to be, but this all made me uneasy.  After all, Dawn's Kiss is my baby.  My heart and soul labor where I bare and share many of my deepest thoughts, feelings and experiences with love.  What if they reject my baby?  How could I deal with such disappointment?  So as the days progressed and I still did not get the word from the publisher on the progress with the new distributor, I began to get antsy.  I knew in my heart and soul that I had surmounted the first hurdle.  I had gotten the nerve to put the poems in categories and to send out the queries to various publishers.  Next I had heard back from a publisher.  Not only did they accept my poems they wanted to publish all of my poems.  That was a tremendous success, I told my inner child.  Be proud of yourself and keep moving ahead.


          So I made myself email the publisher.  I heard nothing for two weeks.  Then I became angry.  "They are too busy and just not interested in promoting my books," I raged.  Even though they insist to the contrary, they are probably nothing more than POD, a publish on demand publisher.  Give them another chance I told myself.  You know how emails sometimes get eaten up in cyberland.  So I emailed them.  About fifteen minutes I heard from the publisher as well as the chief marketing specialist.  I was good to go.  The bookstores can order my Dawn's Kiss from the two major distributors or from the one the publisher uses.  "Woo hoo," I exclaimed, then the butterflies started fluttering.


          There was no more being on hold here.  I had no excuse not to call the local bookstores now.  Everything was set in order.  I could feel the knot forming in my solar plexus and the giddiness that accompanies when I am filled with anxiety.  How could I pick up the phone and call the book store managers?  They are probably too busy or not interested in a local author.  They probably could care less about love poetry or Michael Dennis.   Then I heard this little voice in my head say, 'hey, you never know until you try."  Only the risk takers are free." 


          "Only the risk takers are free," I whispered a few times.  And I knew.  Although I might be trembling and shivering with fright, I was going to make those phone calls to the local bookstores.  I told my inner child I would wait three days.  Today was Thursday.   I would wait until early next week.  Perhaps the managers are less buy then and more receptive.  Perhaps not.  It does not matter.  It's okay to take a little break sometimes and give ourselves some time to adjust to new circumstances. 


          So this weekend I am doing just that.  Yes, I admit fears how will I deal with rejection if the book stores don't want to carry my book or have me do a book signing.  Yet another part of me says, Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  Thirty something years ago you took a risk and asked Anita Simmons out on a date.  She did not reject you.  And if Jo Beth, Barnes and Noble or Borders does, well there are more where that came from.  


          That thought made me smile and I knew that in spite of my anxiety that there would be excitement to come.  I picked up a copy of Dawn's Kiss and smiled.  I loved the beautiful cover with the morning sun approaching over the horizon and the pink, purple and yellow pastels across the sky.  The book designer had done a good job.  I am reminded once more that it is not the outcome that is most important.  It is the journey.  May we take each step with joy and gratitude and know that whatever happens, we will still be risk takers.  For only risk takers are free!


Michael Dennis (513) 281-5696 - author Halfway to Heaven and Dawn's Kiss, - Cincinnati, OH.  Profile: Psychic, Spiritual Medium, Author as seen on Fox, CBS, Jerry Springer, heard on MOJO, MIX, Q-102 radio in Cincinnati, Michael Dennis offers a variety of Psychic Readings to meet your needs. He offers In-Person, Telephone and Email Readings. To order his books or to book a Psychic Reading please contact him directly.  Please visit his website at for more information or email him at 












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    • Mike Dennis profile image

      Mike Dennis 8 years ago

      Intense is putting it lightly. But then again the MUNDANE ORDINARY EVERYDAY LIFE always felt so limited and narrow to me. I've always sought DEEPER HIDDEN and even "occult" esoteric meaning out of life. Otherwise what is its purpose. Get up. Eat. Go to potty. Go to work. COme home. Watch TV. Eat dinner. PLay with pooch. Go to bed. Not for me. But I try to keep light hearted too and manage to have some fun. It's not all serious. like the GREEKS, find balance with MIND BODY SPIRIT, That is what I endeavor to do.

    • Mike Dennis profile image

      Mike Dennis 8 years ago

      Intense is putting it lightly. But then again the MUNDANE ORDINARY EVERYDAY LIFE always felt so limited and narrow to me. I've always sought DEEPER HIDDEN and even "occult" esoteric meaning out of life. Otherwise what is its purpose. Get up. Eat. Go to potty. Go to work. COme home. Watch TV. Eat dinner. PLay with pooch. Go to bed. Not for me. But I try to keep light hearted too and manage to have some fun. It's not all serious. like the GREEKS, find balance with MIND BODY SPIRIT, That is what I endeavor to do.

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 8 years ago from San Diego, California

      Wow, that sounds intense.

    • Mike Dennis profile image

      Mike Dennis 8 years ago

      Thank you, kind soul. Yeah, spent a lot of time today calling the CINCINNATI LOCAL BOOKSTORES about carrying my books. I have to work the local level. Hopeyou will check out MORNING COFFEE WITH GOD when it comes out in early 2010. That was quite an experience to say the least; it was all inspired from dream alteres states/visions, whatever you call it and the conversations wound up becoming an entire book. woo hoo.

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 8 years ago from San Diego, California

      I agree! I've always lived under the motto Why not go out on a limb? That's where the fruit's at. Very cool association between taking risks and freedom. Another cool association I've come to adopt is from the ancient Greeks who said, "You know a free man because he tells the truth," which is similar to your thoughts and taking risks. Telling the truth is often a risk in itself. Congrats on the books by the way!

    • Mike Dennis profile image

      Mike Dennis 8 years ago

      My pleasure. Now today is my BIG DAY to call two bookstores to see if they will carry my book of love poems, Dawn'S Kiss, and I have the butterflies fluttering about in my stomach. Guess that's just grist for the mill as Baba Ram Dass used to say. Ever onward!

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 8 years ago from United States

      Such a heartening personal story! So many will be inspired. This is good work. Thank you, Mike!

    • Mike Dennis profile image

      Mike Dennis 8 years ago

      Thank you poetlorraine. I'll keep writing and you please do the same.

    • profile image

      poetlorraine 8 years ago

      hi thanks for leaving a comment on my hubs, i have been reading all about you in your profile page and now in this hub.... keep writing, i for one enjoy your work

    • Mike Dennis profile image

      Mike Dennis 8 years ago

      Thanks Rob, for the comments. You are very deep and I hope your WRITING SHIP COMES IN. My Cincinnati SF writer friend is MIKE RESNICK. Award winner of KYRINYAGA. and Lord knows what else. I can't keep up with him, but he keeps forking out the NOVELS and the awards and nomination come rolling in. I do want to have lunch with MIKE ONE DAY and thank him for all his pointers over the last 10 years I've been emailing him. He has a soft side for upcomign writers, though he won't help me get published. Darn it. Lol. I have to make that happen like he did and keep at it.

      He's one of the MOST PROLIFIC WRITERS I've ever heard of. What a joy to know and correspond with him. The way it hhappened was a 'fluke'...but a call of DESTINY, I THINK.

      Keep writing and let's trade hubs and join fans.


    • robertsloan2 profile image

      robertsloan2 8 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      This is beautiful. It's an inpsiring story. I've got way too many trunk novels and way too few novel submissions. Health troubles have interfered for many years now but I'm back into the process of editing and shipping out the best of them and looking forward to this year's Nanowrimo event.

      Your path is interesting and we share many similar influences, I think, especially since I probably read quite a few of your friend's books. Wish you'd mentioned which science fiction writer that is, so I could know what influence you're talking about. Many SFF writers are prolific and hard-working, skilled and effective. I've had a few mentors in my day too and it would blow me away if this was someone I knew.

      One of the big things about risk is to put it in perspective. When you've had death threats and violence, when you've lost housing and lost everything at too many times, the risk of getting something like a rejection slip is minute. It's no big deal. It's on the order of the supermarket being out of your favorite fruit or something -- keep going and ship it out, do the work well and the right publisher will buy it.

      That's a lot of how I deal with that fear of rejection. Because out in the real world things like getting turned down for a date or getting turned down while selling something are pretty dang minor and irrelevant.

    • Mike Dennis profile image

      Mike Dennis 8 years ago

      Thanks for your comments. Yeah, yesterday was kind of "AN EMOTIONAL DAY." Shows my inner child still has some issues. I did not call any bookstores yet. I am giving myself this weekend for a visit to a friend in Eaton, OH, and of all things, I have a book signing at the EATON WALGREEN'S for DAWN'S KISS. I had one there in July and sold one book of poetry and 3 of HALFWAY TO HEAVEN, my angelic visitation story and childhood etc. So that will be neat. I will call the LOCAL BOOKSTORES early next week. It's the publisher's job to PROMOTE THE BOOK at the national levels, but they want us to work the LOCAL BOOKSTORES. Do they have to be persuaded? I think our presentation and media kit could influence them, but the bottom line is they either want to carry my book and sponsor me with a book signing or they don't. The adult me knows that. My inner child frets and sometimes takes things personally. So WE (lol our inner selves) deal with it. It's all part of the journey.

      How did/do you promote your wonderful book?

      So you want a hub about BERENICE. I will put that on my TO DO LIST....She is a 'big part of me.' Have even been possessed by her in the past during my dark times. I will get into that in the HUB. I'm gone all weekend so won't be back til MONDAY.

      Have a great weekend. michael

    • LaughingRain profile image

      Alysia McAlister 8 years ago from Arizona

      question: how many bookstores did you call? just the ones in your locale, or the whole country? Do they have to be persuaded? seems awfully hard to promote one's self.

      thanks so much telling your story.


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