Growth Requires Risk. How to Make Yours Intelligent Risks.

Everyone wants to grow. We all want to: improve, progress, and evolve, right?

We are now exactly 5 weeks from New Year’s Day. You may have already started to plan for 2018 and set your goals. No matter what will be on your New Year’s resolution list though, one thing is certain, if you want to grow, you will have to take risks.

Conventional wisdom used to be that if you were risk-averse, you could simply “play it safe” and settle for the status quo. Some people still believe that it is possible to avoid change and risk, and do what you’ve always done. They are wrong.

The new reality of our ever-changing world requires continuous evolution and adaptation. Changing is no longer optional. With change comes risk, but today it is far riskier to stay static than it is to change and grow.

So if you are going to have to take risks, how do you make sure that you are taking smart risks? After all, there is a difference between taking a smart risk and completely throwing caution to the wind and making irresponsible choices.

As a business owner, I’ve taken many risks. A few of them have been supremely stupid. I once ordered 600 t-shirts for an event 3000 kms away, without a plan for how to bring the extras home, and ended up visiting Kinkos at midnight, and paying a fortune, to ship back 550 shirts!

I’ve also taken some smart risks, like leaving a steady job to begin my career as a speaker and coach. So how do you ensure that you take smart risks? Of course there is no fool-proof plan, but here are a few things to consider:

  1. Weigh the Upside vs the Downside: Is the potential benefit significant? You don’t want to take significant risks when the potential benefit isn’t.
  2. Can You Afford to Lose?: If the risk you are taking involves the potential to lose something, and it probably does, can you afford that loss? No potential upside is worth it, if you can’t afford the downside. Recently people have been lamenting that they didn’t invest in Bitcoin when it was $400 (at the time of this writing it is valued at $12,000+). Here’s the thing, if you could not afford to lose $400 times however many bitcoins you would buy, then sure, maybe you should have invested. But if you couldn’t really afford that money, you had no business investing, and so you don’t worry about the money you could have made.
  3. What Can You Learn?:┬áSometimes the biggest benefit of a risk is the potential to learn. I recently decided to host my first public event. After speaking for nearly 15 years at more than 400 events for clients, I’m finally going to hold my own.

    This is a risk. I’ve never done this before. I’ve never had to get people to buy a ticket to hear me speak before. The risk is there, but it is offset not only by the potential success and income, but by everything I can learn from doing this event. (If you’d like to know about the event, it is invite-only. Send me an email [email protected] and if you’re a good fit, I will send you a link).

So the next time you are faced with a choice to take a risk or not, consider the ideas above and you will stand a better chance of taking an intelligent risk.

What is the smartest risk you’ve ever taken?

Category: resilience, success |

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