Without risk, growth is impossible.
Stop and think about that statement for a moment. It’s in our nature to avoid risk. Dr. Britt Andreatta in Wired to Resist discusses the “Habenula: Our Failure-Avoidance Center”, and how it functions to release certain chemicals in the brain that in essence reward success and punish failure. Yet, when you really get down to the bottom line, you’ve got to be willing to risk something—whether it is risking your reputation, finances, time—in order to really grow.
You need a mindset that is willing to embrace risk. A mindset that is striving to take that next step. To keep going. A mindset that understands that otherwise you won’t be able to move forward.
This is true both for your career and your personal life. As I think back over my career, I wouldn’t be where I am today without being willing to take risks. This is true for both my time working in a big company as well as when I decided to start Michael Hyatt & Co.
The people who find success and continue to advance are those who keep pushing for better. Whether they tackle a project that seems impossible, push to break record sales goals, start a new product line, and so on. Whatever the goal, people with a mindset that embraces risk understand that you can’t allow a fear of failure to hold you back.
I know that this seems scary. I want to give you four practical principles you can use to help yourself become more comfortable with risk. Keep in mind, when I’m talking about risk, I’m not saying you simply throw caution to the wind and take a crazy, irresponsible leap. No, what I’m talking about is an intentional, focused risk that will help you achieve your goals.
- Failure is something to be learned from, not feared. When it comes down to it, so many of us allow our fear of failure to dictate what we do. The fear of what will happen if we fail becomes so big in our minds that we aren’t able to see that this fear is actually a failure in and of itself. You’ve got to take chances, make mistakes, and learn from them in order to really grow.
- Life is always moving. For many of us, our driving force is to avoid change. And yet, when you really think about it, that’s impossible. Life is always moving, always changing. It’s up to you to take a risk and step forward, to determine the direction you want to go.
- Practice taking small risks. Now I understand that this may seem a bit silly. I believe that by practicing embracing small risks, you will find a shift in your focus. You will no longer be quite so focused on the potential “bad” outcomes. You will find yourself empowered by small wins along the way. Giving you the courage to embrace bigger risks when the time comes.
- Surround yourself with people who measure the ‘gain not the gap’. It’s important to have people who can give you perspective along the way. I’m sure you have heard many times in your life that the people you spend time with matter. That they are either people who lift you up or bring you down. When we are talking about learning to embrace risk, you want to have people who help you to see how far you’ve come. Maybe you didn’t hit the goal you set, but what you learn along the way is also worth the risk. These people can help you see “what is possible now because you took the risk that otherwise wouldn’t have been.”
What risk will you take this year? I challenge you to commit to raising your risk tolerance. You never know what you will miss out on if you don’t.
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