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Why risk it?

Why risk it?

How many times have we heard that?  Parents, family, well meaning friends, spouses, all saying “Why do that? That’s way too dangerous.” In the end if you don’t go for it, you wind up feeling stuck.  Unfulfilled.  Maybe there’s a better way.  Let’s look and see.

Why Don’t We Risk?

Research shows the main reason we don’t risk is fear.   Fear of embarrassment, rejection, injury, death, or financial loss.  Even, as speaker Marilyn Williamson says, “of being wildly successful”.  How many of us believe we aren’t worthy of success?

The irony is engaging in the simplest every-day activity can be more dangerous than what you think is taking a huge risk.

Recent research shows fear of flying is one American’s top fears. According to The Week (July 8, 2013), your chances of dying in a plane crash are 1 in 11,000,000.  Yet, most of us drive cars every day and never think about it.  Did you know your chances of dying in a car crash are 1 in 98 according to USA Today?

Why Should We Risk?

Risk gets a bad rap. When you think about it, risk is a necessary component of life.  There is a saying in business, “Where the risk is zero, so is the profit.”

I believe people take risks for the following basic reasons:

  1. The desire to accomplish a goal.
  2. The desire to challenge ourselves.
  3. The desire to improve ourselves.
  4. A decision based on outside pressures.

The first three are good reasons to take a risk. Notice how they come from within.

The fourth?  Not so much.

I was thinking about reason #4 the other day as I rode up the chair lift to go skiing.  Eight years ago, I had friends visiting from out of town.  We only had one day to ski together. Conditions weren’t good. There was no fresh snow and the runs were icy.  I should have taken a pass and stayed off the slopes.  But, I bowed to outside pressures.  The result? I had an accident and wound up having surgery three days later.  I learned a good lesson that day.

How do we risk?

Pick a Goal


What happens when you pick a goal for the right reasons?  Do you have something you’ve always wanted to do?  Of course you do.  Write it down.

Overcome Fear

The Military has a saying, “Expect the best but prepare for the worst.”

Ask yourself, “If I do this, what is the worst that could happen to me?”

Here are some possible answers:

  1. I could die.
  2. I could be injured.
  3. I could be rejected.
  4. I could lose a lot of money.
  5. I could finish, but not be successful in the eyes of others.
  6. I could fail.

No matter what your answers are, write them down.

Answering these questions will give you information about why it might make sense to take the risk and take action.

You could say, “Well, if that’s the worst that could happen, I can handle that.”

The antidote to fear is action.

Action Steps

  • Think about your goal.
  • What is the first action step you need to take to achieve it?  Write it down.
  • What’s next?  Write that down.
  • You see one step naturally leads to the next.  The secret is not to over-plan.
  • Leave yourself room to maneuver if something goes wrong.  Because it will.

And…that’s OK.  Because failure gives you feedback you can to use to change direction and stay on course.

Looked at that way, failure is a good thing.  Every failure gives you feedback you need and guarantees success. The only way you can’t reach your goal is to quit.

Thomas Edison ran over 10,000 experiments before he found the material to use as the filament in the electric light bulb.  When asked how it felt to have failed that many times, he replied, “I haven’t failed.  I have successfully found over 10,000 things that don’t work.”

Just go for it!

Pick your goal.  Plan for the worst.  List your steps. Take action.  Fail.  Get feedback. Take more action. Get more feedback. Keep doing that until you reach your goal.

And fear?  You’ll be surprised at how it fades away.