Risk is all around us. Life is a series of calculated risks. Everything you decide to do has a margin of risk. No outcome is ever 100 percent certain but it pays to calculated risks to advance your life and career.
“Fortune favors the brave.”
The biggest risk is not taking any risk at all. Geena Davis notes “If you risk nothing, then you risk everything.”
He who risks and fails is better than he who decides to do nothing.
I took the biggest risk of my life seven years ago. Instead of taking the traditional path of applying for a 9–5 job, I started pursuing meaningful work. It was uncomfortable. But I did it anyway. I have never looked back. I have been exposed to incredible opportunities on the path of self-discovery.
Playing it safe is comfortable. It makes you feel in control. It gives you a sense of security. But it kills your creativity.
There are two kinds of people:
- Those who take risks and explore opportunities to make a dent in the universe. Those who see failure as an option and embrace every obstacle as the way forward.
- And those who take pride in security. Those who seek stability, affiliation, comfort, work worth doing and the assurance it will be okay.
The world needs and rewards both.
But stability does not guarantee fulfillment. If you want to create meaningful work, your only choice is to embrace risk and work with it.
Goethe once said, “The dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety.”
There is never a perfect time for you to take action.
There is never a perfect time for you to launch a project, an idea or show your work. The timing will never be perfect for you to write a book, change your habit, or embrace a new habit.
Once you acknowledge this, you will get a lot more meaningful work done every day.
No matter how many chances you take in life, you will still feel the fear every time you take on a new project, pursue meaningful work or start something new. The good new is that the fear becomes familiar. You get used to it. And it doesn’t stop you from making a change.
Denis Waitley says “Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.”
Taking risks is how you become better at what you do.
In her book, Stop Playing Safe: Rethink Risk, Unlock the Power of Courage, Achieve Outstanding Success, author Margie Warrell says pursuing a bigger purpose in your life will demand fearing regret more than failure. Margie writes:
“Embracing risk is key to succeeding in the bigger game of life. Those who lose aren’t those who have dared greatly and fallen short of the mark. They are those who played so safe that they never lived at all.”
You must embrace some level of discomfort if you want to create interesting work. If you want to make a dent, the risk is not the enemy.
The biggest hurdle is making a step
“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.” — John F. Kennedy
The first step is to take one.
Many people don’t trust themselves enough to take a step into the unknown.
But everything is unknown until you try.
Making that important decision to take a step is hard. It’s the biggest hurdle to achieving anything worthwhile in life. Fyodor Dostoevsky said “Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.”
You can be as big and successful as you can possibly imagine if you build that mindset you need to step outside the safe zone and still feel comfortable.
“The reward is in the risk.” said Rachel Cohn.
You have everything you need to make an impact in the world if you can get past the excuses. You don’t even have to start a new project. What you need is something you can emotionally and deeply connect with. Something that brings out the best in you.
In Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffers encourages us to move from a place of pain, paralysis, and indecision to one of power, energy, enthusiasm and action. She says:
“Every time you encounter something that forces you to “handle it,” your self-esteem is raised considerably. You learn to trust that you will survive, no matter what happens. And in this way your fears are diminished immeasurably.”
Everything you do has two possible outcomes: Either it works or it doesn’t. Being able to live with the possibility of either is essential if you are going to move forward in life.
Life has its highs and lows. taking a risk comes with excitement and terror. Fear is only natural when taking a risk. Obey you gut and take a chance today. Your success might depend on it.
You will do more interesting and meaningful work when you are not afraid of uncertainty. And you will do more boring work when you’re afraid to lose what you have.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” ― Helen Keller
Don’t think too far into the future when you decide to take action. Use what you have right now and take that calculated risk to advance your work.
If you’re thinking about it too much about the risk of failure, chances are you’re killing it.
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