February 16, 2022
Author: Heather Lowey
When’s the last time you took a risk? A big, scary, audacious risk. Now, think about the feelings involved. Were you apprehensive? Scared? Exhilarated? Afterwards did you feel full of energy or accomplished?
Andrea shared why risk taking is important in daily life, and yes, even for the rule followers in the room. She also highlighted ways to begin flexing the muscle on taking risk if we find ourselves feeling pretty risk averse.
In fact, it’s this system of facing risk head on which led Andrea to run for State Senate this year. A statement she never dreamed would cross her lips. Enjoy Andrea’s story.
ANDREA AND HER FAMILY
Not only is Andrea running for Indiana State Senate, but she is also a grade school Principal, a mother, and a wife. Her husband, Ryan, and two daughters, August and Addison, are not only supportive of her, but are actively taking this journey into politics with her.
A self-prescribed rule follower growing up, her two siblings make fun of her to this day about her rule following ways. Even in their youth, Andrea didn’t want to take risks in something as seemingly simple as the kitchen.
“You have a recipe, so you know how much to put in of everything. I was the one following the recipe to a tee. My sister on the other hand is throwing everything in without even measuring. I’m like WHOA, what are you DOING?”
While we may not initially think following a recipe in the kitchen as a risk, Andrea points out this is a great place to start. In fact, with her own daughters, flexing the risk muscle truly began in the kitchen. She shared photos of her girls testing their limits and experimenting with various foods and processes.
Andrea works hard to model a calm and cheery demeanor while these experiments are happening so the girls feel safe to take risks. Admittedly, there are times mom is freaking out on the inside though!
RISK AVERSE TO RISK TAKER
As a Principal, Andrea’s school focuses on the development of children in several areas, but a key one being the ability to take risks.
She began her talk by putting a few fill-in-the-blank phrases on the screen:
THE SQUEAKY WHEEL GETS THE GREASE.
THE DUCK THAT QUACKS THE LOUDEST GETS SHOT.
Two culturally different statements about speaking out. The first one, an American phrase regarding the reward for speaking out. Championing the behavior. The second phrase, a Chinese one alluding to remaining quiet and not pushing back too much or there are serious repercussions.
Her point of this was not only to show the cultural differences in a common phrase, but also to show how rules are engrained in us very deeply.
For instance, if you grew up in a household or culture where the phrase “the duck that quacks the loudest gets shot,” taking a risk in speaking up is going to feel like a HUGE risk to you. And rightfully so!
Andrea went on to share how risk taking is a muscle.
“You must practice it, engage in it, and continue to utilize the skill to keep it sharp. In fact, become comfortable with the discomfort.”
Andrea suggests for any risk averse person to start small and build on the skill. She admits being a pretty play it safe person. Although in college, found playing lacrosse an exhilarating experience!
As an adult, to continue building on the risk-taking skill she first began with indoor rock climbing, eventually moving to snowboarding, and now has taken up playing the ukulele. None of these activities were things she would have ever imagined herself doing as a child.
She credits these incremental steps with the ability to then function in a new environment.
Her family went through these incremental steps and it’s what lead them to action in politics and eventually Andrea running for State Senate.
In 2020, wanting to make a stand against racial injustice, the Hunley family began by standing on the circle in downtown Indy with a sign. Not an official protest, but what felt right for them. Then they attended a protest at military park. Soon after, they began volunteering to support local artists painting murals downtown.
Her daughter Addison took this volunteering very seriously and even volunteered on her own to act as security for artist Matthew. Addison told her parents, “He needs me today,” and acted as his security and media relations partner as he painted his mural.
Andrea credits her inspiration to do more to co-worker Carly. Carly staged a walk-out to take a stand on gun control in 2018. This act supported Common Sense Gun Control which has become a key in Andrea’s platform.
Weeks after attending a protest with Carly, Andrea was asked to speak last minute and from the heart at her church about Common Sense Gun Control. A few weeks later, she was asked to talk about this in front of the House Chamber at the State House.
Before she knew it, she found herself announcing a run for State Senate representing district 46 in Indianapolis. And while this act felt like a big risk to Andrea, it was one she built up to and continued to stretch herself to get to this point.
Is she nervous? Absolutely. But in her mind, the bigger risk is in sitting back and not taking action.
Andrea wishes to see collaboration with her fellow politicians. Challenging each other to take the risk of voting against party lines when it makes sense for her and them. Even run the risk of being seen talking to those you disagree with. There is much to be learned from each other, even when we disagree.
When asked about the time commitment taken for such an endeavor, she suggests find joy in whatever you are giving of your time. It then makes it worth the challenges and risks to you.
In summary, Andrea had a few key points in taking risk:
- Practice failing small. Then remind yourself – I survived!
- Collaborate with others.
- Be inspired by your own risk taking.
In the words of Maya Angelou, “I believe that the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity, is daring to dare.”
Want to connect with Andrea? Find her @AndreaHunley_IN on Twitter. Find out more about her campaign and how to support her at www.andreahunley.com.