In life we are told to take risks. In the same breath, we are also taught to be careful, to not push our luck, or to watch out for the danger. Which is it? Are we supposed to take the clear path in our lives or venture off and become risk takers? While we all have our own journey to travel, here is a quick guide to help you decide if you need to steady your course or to sprinkle on some risk.
When looking at taking new risks it is important to redefine the way you view risk. The dictionary definition of risk states that it is, “a situation involving exposure to danger.” When we look at risk by its literal definition we all would want to run and hide from anything that puts us even close to danger. However, the “danger” that comes along with risk can come in hundreds of forms. It can be the fear of losing something valuable like trust, money, an opportunity, or even change the course of your life. With those items at stake, why would anyone ever take a risk? It’s because of one word: reward.
Without risk there is no reward. Taking that new job was risky. You could have hated the environment, your boss, or your co-workers. But on the flip side of that opportunity came better salary, new opportunities and a chance that you could love that job more than any other you’ve had. It all comes down to if you are willing to take that risk. What is most unnerving is more often than not the higher the risk the higher the return.
And now that we have talked about what risk is and why we even take risks, let’s take a look at whether or not you have found your perfect level of risk in your life. Here are the questions you need to ask yourself.
What do I gain by taking this risk?
What do I lose?
What is my heart telling me?
Why these three questions matter so much when talking about risk is because they help you evaluated both the factual and emotional side of risk. By looking at what you gain from risk, make a list of everything good that comes out of the risk you are considering. Is it starting a new business? Changing up friends? Taking that opportunity? Write down specifically why that interested you in the first place and if everything went your way what that would look like.
Now that you have all of the wonderful aspects of your risk written down, on the other side of the page write down what you have to lose. I have found in my experience that this list isn’t very long, but that it is impactful. Be honest with yourself. That means writing down all the negative things that could happen if the risk you want to take doesn’t go your way. Being honest with yourself also means that you don’t give way to your fears and write down hyped up statements like, “I could lose everything!” What does that mean? What specifically do you have to lose, if anything at all? Hint: If this side of your list goes on and on, it’s not a good risk to take!
Lastly, and most importantly see what you heart is telling you. You now have two columns underneath your proposed risk you want to take. You can see the logical and factual sides of your risk. What are your emotions telling you? Do you feel draw to this? Starting my own life coaching business was a HUGE risk but it made me want to get up in the morning, made me happy to be working, and gave immense meaning to my career. Is your heart telling you the same thing? Or does your uneasiness trump all of your excitement? It is normal to be nervous and even scared to take a risk in your life, but it should never be so terrifying that it takes away all the possible joy that could come from it. If you find your heart is screaming at you, begging you to shove aside your fears, then go for it boldly!
Risk is all around us. We have choices to make, and some risks are little and others are life altering. Make sure that if you are considering a new and exciting risk in your life that you take the time to get out a piece of paper and ask yourself these 3 questions. If you are being honest with yourself, trying to listen to your heart, and open to every possibility then you will start to know when the risks you want to take are needed and necessary to propel your life to the next level.