Looking back on my life I realize that taking risks in my personal life (and the lessons I have learned) have proven to been equally as important as taking a risk in business. The following story explains how I have looked in the eye of risk and won the stare down.
When I was 8 years old I took my very first real risk in life – a risk that almost got me killed. At the time I had no idea of what the word risk meant. All I knew was my parents and friends would always tell me, Don’t do this or don’t to do that. Being that young, I always heeded their advice. There was always a curiosity, but the consequences just seemed to be too much.
I began to realize that most of the people telling me to do these things had never actually gone through the experience themselves, as they were simply just repeating what they had been told, despite the fact that they would say it with such conviction as if they had done it themselves. I began thinking that, if nobody is going through the experience, then how do they really know what the outcome will be? As I thought through this more, a rebellious little boy was born.
Going Off The Deep End
I remember this day still so clearly and it would be one that I will never forget.
I was about nine years old. My dad signed me up for swimming lessons every summer – he believed knowing how to swim was a necessity in life and I actually started to like it once I got the hang of it.
The swim instructors would always say, ‘Do not go into the deep end without an instructor.’ I would think to myself the other kids seemed to be doing just fine – nobody was yelling for their life or screaming uncontrollably, so I decided to venture to that end of the pool. I was in the deep end and everything seemed fine. Whats was the big deal, I asked myself? After I had been in that area of the pool for a few minutes I decided to look down under the water, and the floor of the pool seemed so far away.
My mind started getting the best of me and I desperately went into panic mode flailing my arms and yelling, ‘I’m drowning! I’m Drowning!‘ The instructor jumped into the pool and yanked me out. I was exhausted and shaking like a leaf. The next day I thought about what had happened, and one thing kept bothering me about the incident – I was swimming fine and only panicked once I looked down. Why? I had always been able to stand in the water – my safety net, so to speak. It was part of what made me confident to swim – my comfort level. Once that was removed, my confidence was gone even though I was swimming seconds before the incidence.
What I learned was that;
- Taking a risk is the only way to experience new things – Perspective!
- The risk itself is not the issue. It’s your approach to it.
- Curiosity, not evasiveness leads to progress
- Risk taking builds confidence – successful outcomes and failures
Since that incident, I have always approached risk differently. Do I still get butterflies? Absolutely! I have learned to utilize that experience in business – after all, whether it’s business or personal, it’s a human challenge.
Over the years working with companies and creating my own, I’ve come to understand that taking a risk in business is the only way for it to become successful. This ability is not something endowed to you or something you’re born with – It’s your ability to move from curiosity to courage.
Today is the best day to understand if taking a risk in business is something you’re doing enough of. Risk doesn’t mean death – it means taking another step into a place that you may not totally understand but believe it will be for the betterment for your business.
Are you a Risk Taker or a Risk Faker?
Taking a risk in business does not come without certain challenges that you will have to confront along the way – Here’s 5 common excuses you will have to meet head-on with tenacity and courage;
- You will have doubts
- You will want to turn back
- You will question yourself
- You will look for excuses
- You will want to quit too soon
We will all go through these stages when taking a risk in business, it’s normal. The question becomes, are you creating mountains out mole hills? That’s our defense mechanism – make it much bigger than it is and you won’t do it. I challenge you to look at it for what it really is and make a personal mandate of seeing your business goals through. Taking a business risk can, and will be the reason you succeed. A little courage will take you a long way.
If you’re not living closer to the edge, then you’re taking up too much room :-]
Work Hard, Work Smart & Stay Hungry!