A serious conflict can occur if you are a risk-oriented person operating in a risk-averse environment. It can be confining and, among other things, boring.

I have felt this way at various points in my life, and when I did, it was accompanied by feelings of slow-to-no growth and/or not fully utilizing my potential. I have found this to be true for others as well, i.e., family members, clients, coworkers and community leaders. Although this sometimes occurs, it does not have to be the case.

A solution can often be found in becoming more comfortable taking risks and accepting unexpected results. C.S. Lewis shed light on this: “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.”

Are you a Natural Risk-Taker?

Some of us are natural risk-takers who challenge the status quo, welcome obstacles and love new opportunities.

The rest of us are more security-oriented. We respect or admire risk-takers; but we appreciate stability and comfort as well. We want to feel in control when possible.

Both types of people are valuable. Risk-takers change the world; risk-averse people keep the world safe. But just as risk-takers need limits (they shouldn’t take all the risks they face, all the time), non-risk-takers need to learn to take risks occasionally.

Why don’t we all just play it safe, all the time? Because this stifles growth.

Risks can Lead to Big Rewards

If you want the payoff, you have to take the risk.

  • Taking a risk will either pay off or it won’t, but either way, experiences help us learn important lessons for the future.
  • When you’re taking a risk, you’re likely to stretch your creative muscles to look for ways to make it work.
  • What you’re willing to risk can say a lot about what you value.
  • When risk ends in a positive way, it can boost your self-confidence.
  • Research suggests it’s more likely you’ll regret not doing something than you’ll regret doing something, even if the risk doesn’t go well.

Learning to get Comfortable with Risk

Becoming comfortable with risk-taking and potential failure is possible, but takes work. We must first determine our personality regarding the various measures of risk-taking and accepting possible outcomes.

  1. Our personalities are developed over a period of years and related to experiences throughout our lives.
  2. These situations often result in subconscious mental conditioning. An example is a child being told “no;” not to touch the stove. This could recur as a virtual voice replaying the scenario in their heads when they reach adulthood. They end up “playing it safe” in situations unrelated to the stove.
  3. Another example is if someone was fired or reprimanded at work for making a mistake. This could result in the individual “playing it safe” in an effort to avoid a similar experience. As a result, very little if any growth may take place and their potential may be not fulfilled.

Connecting with a coach and getting feedback on behavior may help begin the process of identifying conditioning and setting goals to break it. This can be accompanied by enrolling in a program that offers the opportunity for assessments and a development process occurring over a period of weeks or months.

Goal-Setting and Action Steps

A strong process is one which includes goal-setting and action-step components. As you make progress, your confidence will build, and you will find yourself taking more risks.

You may also become more accepting of decisions that result in a lack of success. Ultimately, personal fulfillment and growth will occur as you shift to a mindset of accepting and learning from all types of experiences.

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