There’s Value in Skinned Knees: The Importance of Risk


A guy with a gun hollered. “Don’t touch it!” These are the words I’ll never forget hearing while visiting a modern art museum in the Midwest. As the kids walked through the exhibits, I noticed a small wooden box the size of a crate sitting in a vast room, encompassed by red velvet ropes, with a vivid spotlight highlighting its treasure.

Wow, what was the story behind this exhibit? Was it King Tut’s footstool? Why was this rugged wooden box on prominent display? Before I could catch her, my four-year-old ran under the ropes and tried to sit on it. You’ve never seen such a nimble six-foot-five security guard race across a room so quickly. With embarrassment on our side, we hurriedly grabbed whoever’s child this was and set on a journey to find her mother. 

skinned kneesMy curiosity got the best of me. What is the backstory on this box? I wondered. Why is it being protected with such urgency? I then read the description. The box had been dragged behind a truck for over a mile to show the wear and tear a rough ride can create. I thought to myself, hey kids, look, it’s mom on display. Talk about a conversation piece. My face shows laugh lines that tell stories of good times with friends. It showed the grey hairs on my head that surely came from visiting the Grand Canyon when kids pretended to jump—“Hey mom, whoa, whoa!”

I suddenly understood the importance of the rugged box on display. This box, in all its character, represented me. Give this box more security, people. It was obviously more important than King Tut’s chair. Someone thought it worthy of protection; it quickly became my favorite exhibit, reflecting the realism of what happens when life drags you down. You get knocks and bumps along the way. When we carry a child in our womb for nine months, fly overseas to adopt a child, foster a child, raise our cousin’s kid—however we became a mom—life has a way of softening those sharp edges, teaching us to lean in, love harder, and persevere more. The journey is full of trials, tribulations, and skinned knees, as well as victories and successes, for this is where true beauty lies. 

What if you hadn’t adopted that child or raised your cousin’s kid? What if you hadn’t taken that job, hiked that mountain, moved cross-country, registered for that conference, or written your first article. There’s so much good that comes from risk.  If you fail, get back up. If it doesn’t work out, take notes and re-route. The perfect circumstances will never arrive. Someday is not on the calendar. But there’s one thing for sure, you only have one life to live.

skinned kneesQuestions To Prompt You to Greatness

  1. How have you allowed fear to slow you down, and what gave you the courage to warrior on? 
  2. What form does your fear take—anxiety, control, perfection? Identify it and when it pops up.
  3. What pursuit have you placed on the back burner? 
  4. What baby steps can you take to move forward on this endeavor? 
  5. What is the worst thing that could happen? What is the best-case scenario?
  6. How will you feel in five years if you don’t pursue this dream? If you do pursue it?

Answer these questions to discover how you can turn those what-ifs into possibilities, allowing tough moments to create transformation. Here’s to chasing your dreams and Living Your Best Life.

Stephanie Pletka is an author, speaker and entrepreneur, whose passion is to inspire women to chase their dreams and write their story. Author of Living Your Best Life, Stephanie lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband and four kids, exploring the beauty of the West.


  1. Oh Stephanie! I just love you to pieces. Thank you so much for giving us a little bit of you in this book!

  2. It’s my pleasure. I love Scottsdale Moms Blog. We both have similar passions, to inspire women to greatness, to remind them they are enough, to chase their dreams and write their story. Thank you Kate for being a champion of women.

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