September 28th, 2010
Risks are actions, with little chance of succeeding, that require significant effort, resources, and/or time. However, if they are successful, they will have a major impact. Truly innovative solutions that make a significant difference in your life, organization, or/or community are almost never found without some risk taking. Although we don’t advocate risk taking merely for its own sake, it can be an essential component to really creative solutions. Remember the old adage… the greater the risk, the better the reward.
The fear of failure is the greatest inhibitor to risk taking. When you are concerned about taking a risk, outline what the risk is, why it is important, and what would be the worst possible outcome, and how you would deal with the failure. Learning how to deal with failure helps us to break away from the pattern of generating solutions that are “safe”, but less than innovative. Failure accelerates the learning process by generating new information.
If you are unsure or feel that you are still not willing to take these risks, I recommend doing these activities that will make you more comfortable with risk taking:
- Ask a question into a large lecture
- Go somewhere you have never gone before
- Try a new sport
- Volunteer to be the organizer of a group activity
- Take a challenging course outside your area of expertise
- Challenge established patterns of doing business in your organizations
Remember, to truly be considered a risk, activity must have a chance of a negative outcome. To get in the habit of taking risks, you will need to develop a thick skin not being too sensitive to criticism. Any time you take a risk most likely there will be someone out there to criticize it.