I was asked once if I am a risk taker. My response was "NO, I’m not. I take calculated risk, but I don’t consider myself a risk taker."
Later, I thought about the question more and realized that while I don’t see myself as a “risky person,” I am a risk taker. Yes, I do my research and get as much information as a I can before I make a decision, if time allows, but yes I am a risk taker.
The question immediately brought to mind my definition of risky behavior, one that is not well-thought out or planned. I am a planner. I write everything down and ponder my options. However, after my pondering, I jump in with both feet and work my plan. My friends and family would definitely call me a risk taker.
I’ve left jobs without another in place, because I was called to another place in life. I’ve moved hundreds of miles away from family and friends – twice to seek new challenges. I travel abroad alone. I invest in people and causes that I believe in, even when no one else around me does.
I’ve even been called “brave” a few times. I don’t see any of the things I’ve done as brave or risky, adventurous perhaps, always planned and definitely scary. I think the biggest takeaway is that I do things, even well-thoughout and planned things, even when I’m scared.
I think and plan and pray about things before I do them, but there’s still a bit of fear. The fear of failing can be stifling to your growth, so I manage my fears by planning, researching and getting as much data as I can and praying.
My faith is strong and my resolve to succeed is strong, so fear has to take a back seat. It’s still riding in the car with me, but it’s not driving me around.
In business, risk is a part of the strategy and it’s the only way to grow your organization. There are many kinds of risks and strategies to mitigate them. These strategies can be applied in business and personally.
The types of risks include financial, environmental, legal, and relational risks.
First, in taking any risk, it’s important to identify as many of the risks associated with the project or personal decision.
Second, analyze the risks. Look at how the decision will be impacted financially, environmentally, legally and relationally.
Third, evaluate whether the risks is worth the taking, do you have the finances, time, capacity or talent to succeed?
Fourth, treat or fix the factors. If you don’t have the finances, make a plan to earn, save, or borrow the necessary funds. If you need a different skill set, acquire it yourself by getting the education or credentials or hire someone with the experience and knowledge in that area.
Last, monitor your progress and track milestones towards the finish line. Pivot quickly to correct any missteps along the way, change courses if necessary, but keep going. Many people quit just as they’re about to succeed.
Life and business is about agility. Nothing stays the same and change is normal. Yes, it’s risky and yes it’s scary, but I urge you to do it, even when you’re scared. Follow these steps, and the risks, won’t seem so scary in the end.