“This is a huge risk! Are you sure you want to step into this?”
A phrase that all of us will hear at some point in our lives. As much as familiarity and the known can wrap us up with warm comfortable blankets, often life begins at the end of your comfort zone and taking risks is an inherent part of it. Risk-taking is defined as doing something which has intentional interaction with uncertainty and with unpredictable outcomes. As frightening as it sounds, here are some things you can consider before taking a risk.
Purpose is what pushes us to take the actions necessary to achieve something. It often can be said to be functioning as motivation for you to keep going when things don’t always work out or when you face obstacles along the way. Ask yourself if this is what you truly want before taking the risk.
Most of the time when the risk being taken doesn’t align with your purpose, the tendency to be discouraged or give up is high when we encounter failure. For instance, you might be easily disheartened if building a business is just not something, you’re passionate about, but taking a huge risk to do it anyway will result in you being doubtful of your abilities or mentally exhausted when you encounter a setback.
It's no secret that risk comes with some sort of sacrifice or investment, and this can disclose you to potential failures, embarrassment or even rejection. Thus, it’s important to do your homework on what you’re getting yourself into.
Let's say you’re someone who wants to be a parent and start a family but you’re terrified of the responsibilities that come with being a parent that you feel like you might not be able to handle. Thus, maybe you can first take the time to educate yourself by reading parenting books or attending workshops. Through education comes the understanding of the potential downfalls you might encounter or the circumstances that you need to be prepared for. You wouldn’t want to have children without mentally preparing yourself to lose your sleep for the first few months.
Also, this can help you come up with a reasonable plan with minimized additional risks. Maybe instead of quitting your job, you might want to choose to build your business while having a stable income so you can take the hit in case something goes wrong.
We're often pressured to do a lot of things due to the expectations others have on us or purely because of the ‘you need to accomplish this by a certain age’ social construct that exists, or sometimes it’s the other way around where you avoid taking the risk because it’s something out of the norm and therefore not encouraged. However, taking risks while succumbing into that pressure or not taking it because you fear the judgments of others can backfire greatly.
Ask yourself, who are you taking this risk for? Does it align with the future that you want to build for yourself or the dreams that you want to achieve? Or is it merely to seek approval or validation from someone else?
You need to understand that no one that you’re trying to impress or get approval from will have to deal with the consequences of your action of taking the risk. Forget about what others will have to say about your decision because you’ll be solely responsible for the repercussion. Taking risks for the sake of impressing others, or not taking risks for fear of people’s judgements, will only hold you back greatly and limit yourself of your potential.
Always make a list of pros and cons; because even if a risk can be so tempting to take solely because of your desires, this exercise can help you let logic step in. If the cons outweigh the pros, you might want to look into whether you really want to take this risk and if you’re prepared to face the problems when things do go wrong.
Also, just because you bravely took a risk, it doesn’t mean that you need to go all-in by taking the consequent risks if you don’t have to. For instance, let’s say you gathered the strength to start a business and you’re looking for opportunities to grow it. However, although you have a myriad of choices for collaborations, doesn’t necessarily mean you need to take each and every one of them, which can overwhelm you greatly. You might want to take the time to weigh the individual risks on its own worth.
We’re always going to come across risks in various aspects of our lives and it can undoubtedly carry a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. By asking if it aligns with your purpose if you can minimize the potential downfalls, who you’re taking the risk for and if it’s worth it, risk-taking can be made manageable and calculated. Life doesn’t come with a manual and making mistakes is ingrained in learning. Thus, when failure approaches, make sure to welcome it with open arms and learn from the experiences to make better choices in the future.