Why Not Take More Risks?

Recently I asked a coaching client what they would do differently. “Take more risks,” she replied. It was just the right answer at just the right time. Not only was it right for her. It reminded me of one of the most important rules of my career.

Risk is necessary for advancement.

I know it seems metaphorical, but every journey involves some risk. And what is life but a journey? There is no way to predict what is going to happen to us on this journey. No matter how hard you try you cannot eliminate the possibility of failure or even disaster.

It Is Not A Failure

Failure is a word I use sparingly. It gives the wrong connotation to your efforts. Not succeeding at something is not failing. It is just learning how not to do something. Great professional baseball players only hit the ball once out of every three times they are at they plate. Are they “failures?” I think not. If so, they get paid quite well to fail.

When I thought about the answer “take more risks” I realized I had been going through a period where I was risk averse. And it was having an impact on my career. Taking risks is how I got here. I started out of law school with no job and no clients. I started my own practice. Was that a risk? You know it was. But without that risk I would not be where I am today.

Fear of failure is one of the most debilitating factors in life. It has stopped so many good people from making great advancements. Fear is a natural phenomenon. Learning how to control fear takes work and practice. It can be done.

If you really want to live a full and rewarding life you must learn to take more risks. Take them in your professional life. Take them in your personal life. And when you don’t succeed, and that will happen sometimes, look at it as an experience that has taught you something valuable.

I have tried many things in my life. Not all of them have turned out the way I planned. I realize, though, that at this moment I am as happy and fulfilled as I have ever been. Each event in my life has brought me here. Yes, some of them have been very difficult to endure. But I made it through. And so can you.

Take more risks.