5 Tips for Smarter Risk Taking
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
Being a risk taker can be uncomfortable, but successful people know that taking calculated risks are often required in order to pursue new opportunities and gain confidence. Consider going out of your comfort zone to tackle public speaking, learn a new skill, or pursue a promotion. All of these activities have a level of risk, but may be worth the benefits which include new opportunities and financial rewards. If you want to improve your ability to take more risks, here are several tips to help you move forward.
- Have a plan for assessing risks. When weighing a big risk, the first place to start is by writing out a list of the pros and cons. Considering all of the positive and negative outcomes together will help you assess whether the risk is work taking. You may also want to walk through the risk scenario with a trusted friend or professional colleague.
- Focus on faith over fear. The fear of failure stops many people in their tracks when it comes to risk taking. Pushing past this fear and having faith in your abilities will allow you to take more risks that could potentially take your life or career to the next level. Focus on the potential positive outcomes, reflect on your unique expertise, and fill your mind with positive self-talk, to help you release your inner risk-taker.
- Consider the upside of change. Change can be scary and risk-taking often involves possible unknown changes to your life. However, if you feel your present situation has you stuck on the same page, it may be time to take a risk which can help you turn the page. For example, if you are not fulfilled in your job anymore, or need new challenges to grow, consider what work life may be like if you move to a new department or company. If a move could facilitate a more fulfilling job, it might be worth the risk.
- Take small steps. If a big risk feels like you’re putting too much on the line, think about taking small steps that can lead you in the same direction. You might not feel like quitting your present job is doable for instance, but you could take on a small side business to test the waters before making a big leap. Making changes in incremental steps can help you build your confidence as you move slowly toward a bigger change.
- Find a successful risk-taker mentor. All of us know people who seem to navigate through their fears to take risks and tackle new goals. Maybe they started their own business, launched a new program, or advanced their education. Reach out to them and find out how they take on the challenge of risk-taking. You can also find executive coaches or counselors who can help risk-averse individuals find ways to take smart, calculated risks in life and business.