How You Can Take Risks with Confidence and Improve Your Success Rate
“You must accept that you might fail; then, if you do your best and still don’t win, at least you can be satisfied that you’ve tried. If you don’t accept failure as a possibility, you don’t set high goals, you don’t branch out, you don’t try, you don’t take the risk.” ~ Rosalynn Carter
“It’s such a risk!” These words are sure to make your palms sweat and your heart beat faster. In our brains, which are designed to protect us, the word ‘risk’ means DANGER. I, however, like to think of risk as a currency, just as much as money in the bank is currency. It allows us to trade up in life. We decide a new opportunity, experience or choice is worth letting go of something that doesn’t make us as happy any more. We wouldn’t think of taking a risk if it didn’t tempt us with something we want. But how do we get from paralyzing fear to being able to take risks with more comfort and peace of mind?
Realistically, taking each step is a risk…you don’t know if you’re going to trip and fall. In fact, as a toddler, you’ve experienced those trips and falls frequently. But you wanted that toy on the table, so you learned, practiced, got stronger and developed confidence in your own ability. Now you don’t give walking a second thought.
Therein we learn the secret to building our ability to take risks comfortably…keep your eye focused on your goal, be willing to fall, pick yourself up, and try again.
At the heart of taking risks is the uncomfortable place of not knowing the outcome. But when you trust and have faith that, no matter what happens, you’ll be okay, it takes the risk out of taking risks. Take to heart what Neil Simon said…
“Don’t listen to those who say “You’re taking too big a chance”. Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor, and it would surely be rubbed out by today. Most important, don’t listen when the little voice of fear inside you rears its ugly head and says ‘they’re all smarter than you out there. They’re more talented, they’re taller, blonder, prettier, luckier, and they have connections.” I firmly believe that if you follow a path that interests you, not to the exclusion of love, sensitivity, and cooperation with others, but with the strength of conviction that you can move others by your own efforts—and do not make success or failure the criteria by which you live—the chances are you’ll be a person worthy of your own respects.”
Taking a risk is not the same as gambling. A gamble is a shot in the dark; a risk is a shot in the light. You can lower your risk “price”, or raise your risk tolerance, by working on the following mindset principles…
- Fear of failure is an epic fail. When we turn our fear into curiosity and a desire to learn something, we shift our mindset.
- Moving forward is my happy place. Even immovable boulders change. Change is inevitable, so we’re better off if we can embrace it. Remain open and willing to adjust. It’s when we’re wedded to a specific outcome that we become afraid again.
- The goal is to embody my purpose. Keeping your life vision in focus will help you avoid being side-tracked. When an action is aligned with your purpose, it won’t feel risky. It will be exciting! And you won’t be tempted to act solely to please other people. The action you’re meant to take will feel like the natural thing to do. Listen to your body wisdom.
- Every day I will practice taking small risks. It’s empowering to accumulate each new win. So keep a running record of times you pushed past your comfort zone and succeeded. It will give you courage to try bigger risks, when the time is right.
- When challenged, I will incrementally reduce the amount of risk. Foresee the scary bits, and think of workarounds that make you more comfortable. Rather than jumping the canyon, build a bridge.
- I will work hard to build a safety net. Changing your career doesn’t feel so risky if you’ve saved money, paid down bills, and have reliable income still coming in. And when you have people who keep you grounded and help you see how far you’ve come, you’ll be encouraged to keep moving forward.
- I want to increase my competence and expand my experience. Pablo Picasso’s mindset is worthy of imitation — “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”
We all have a relationship with risk. Whether it’s comfortable or not depends on how you read the signs. After all, risk is simply a road sign that alerts you to an opportunity to grow! By using the above suggestions, you’ll set yourself up for greater success.
We all travel our paths at our own pace. If the risk feels right for you, take it and don’t hold back. If the risk feels too risky, don’t dismiss it, until you’ve examined it under the full light of reason. Without the cloud of fear, you might find that it’s exactly what you need to do. If not, then let it go without regret.
When you embody your purpose, you’ll make more good decisions than bad ones. Will you be taking risks with more ease, in the future? If you’d like to explore this further, download my free report, 10 Steps to an Embodied Practice. The principles within it can be applied to both your life and your business.