Earlier this year, my sister-in-law and her uncle came to visit. They were recounting their recent adventure of sky diving. When my father exclaimed that he was open to doing that, you could have knocked me out of my chair. This, from a former helicopter search-and-rescue pilot who had always said, “I’ll never jump out of a plane; I’ll stay where I can control it.”
It got me thinking about control and risk. What is risk? How do we decide when to take risks? When does being in control serve and when does it hinder?
Just the sound of “risk” sounds ominous. In fact, words from the dictionary that describe “risk” include: danger; unpleasant; threat; loss; harm; unwelcome. No wonder it’s easy to run from risk.
But what if we focus on the synonyms for “risk” which are: unpredictability; chance; possibility. While these words have a sense of the unknown, they don’t predetermine the outcome to be negative.
That’s a mindset that serves when it comes to being with others. For example, when I’m in a meeting where ideas are being shared, if I’m not sure how my thoughts will be received, I take a risk by speaking up. And there are times when I know that my comment will not be received well, and I share it anyway. Why? Because taking that type of risk is in service of the situation or someone involved, even if it potentially upsets some people.
To take a risk or not … that is the question. By speaking up, are you taking a risk about what others may think? By not acting, are you taking a risk by not being true to who you are? Everyone has their own decisions to make.
And remember the bonus … taking a risk can result in a winning outcome for everyone.
This Week: Ask yourself where you might be holding back … in saying or doing something. Then write down what’s holding you back. What would it take to move forward? What risk are willing to take? What if it goes the way you want? What’s the worst that could happen if it doesn’t?
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