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Taking Risks

Think of an entrepreneur or a historical figure who inspires you. Do you have someone in mind? Maybe you’re thinking of Nelson Mandela or Martha Stewart or Albert Einstein. Maybe you’re thinking of Rosa Parks or Benjamin Franklin or Elon Musk.

What do all of these seemingly different figures have in common?

They were willing to take risks.

It’s easy to stay within your comfort zone and not venture too far outside the lines. But where does that get you? Nowhere extraordinary.

Even if you think you’re adverse to risk-taking, hear me out. Your risk-taking doesn’t have to put your career or wellbeing in jeopardy. You don’t have to throw all your money at an idea in order for your actions to count as “risks.” What you DO need to do is move forward, boldly (and that means something different to everyone).

What does risk-taking mean in YOUR life?

Does it mean finally asking for that well-deserved raise? Does it mean approaching your boss with a fresh, innovative idea? Does it mean reaching out to a co-worker who isn’t terribly popular around the office?

Or, does taking a risk involve something a little more extreme, such as making a career change or standing up to an abusive boss or coworker?

No matter how risks present themselves in your life, they are worth taking. Why? I’ll give you four reasons…

1. Opportunities abound for the person who takes a risk.

An employer is much more impressed by someone who dives into the unknown, and word will spread quickly about your willingness to venture into new territory. This will snowball and provide many more opportunities for you.

2. Failures are temporary, while regrets linger.

“When speaking to people in their forties and beyond, many tell me that if they could do their career over again, they’d have taken more risks, settled less and spoken up more often,” writes Margie Warrell in this Forbes article. It is always better to have tried and faltered than to have never gone for it.

3. You’re probably overestimating the odds against you.

Warrell points out that we tend to magnify the negative consequences in our minds, to the point where we no longer think about positive outcomes, which makes for a warped view of reality.

4. As a rule, you are capable of more than you think you are.

This is probably a result of having been conditioned early on to always be modest. But it’s okay to recognize your strengths and feel confident about them. And you’ll never know your ability until you take risks.

 

How will you move boldly forward today? How will you embrace opportunities for risk-taking instead of running from them?

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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Couple driving convertible car in countryside, waving arms,  rear view

Photo Credit: ryanindaswamp.blogspot.com

I am very fortunate to have a family beach house in Delaware and try to spend some time there each summer.  This year I was able to navigate three weeks at the beach, which has never happened before.  That was my stretch…both managing before I left to have everything in order and then slowing down while I was there to really appreciate the ocean, the smells, the sounds, the food, and sand in my shoes.
This year my husband found it necessary to fly back to Minnesota early and I was facing the long drive back alone. While in a conversation with a college friend, we both expressed disappointment that we were not going to see each other this summer. I mentioned the long drive back and then, it struck me! Her company on this trip would be awesome and a great way to catch up.  I posed the question, “Want to go on a road trip?”  Her response, “I’ve never been on a road trip but it sounds like a great adventure. I’m in!”
The trip went faster than it ever had, 1,100 miles of talking, laughing, sharing, questioning and comparing.  It was great.  She had never been to Minnesota, (good thing this trip was in August!) so it was fun to show her the place I call home. She stayed one additional day and then flew home.  I received a text from her when she landed in Baltimore: “That was fun, where are we going next?!”

The moral of the story: It’s healthy and beneficial to stretch outside your comfort zone, whether that means talking to a stranger on the sidewalk, applying for your dream job, or writing a book. Look for opportunities to learn, grow, and reach for those stars. You’ll be happy you did.

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