We were recently meeting with a CEO of a medium-sized business. Our conversation focused on how she could get over her fear and take the risks she knows she needs to take in her business. Her language was language of “jumping off a cliff,” “taking the leap,” and “I’ve got to risk the business.” It was language that accurately reflected her experience but didn’t accurately reflect what she should do next.
When you reach a point in your life, your career, your relationship, really in any aspect of your life, where you need to take a risk and you feel paralyzed to do so, pause. Yes, here is that Fundamental Pause™ again. Leaping off cliffs is rarely a good idea if you are not prepared, but it can be exhilarating and successful with thought and careful preparation.
- Pause and ask yourself “Is what I am about to do in alignment with my goals?”
- If the answer is yes, take some time to identify exactly what are you hoping to achieve. Get clear about this—write it down.
- Once you know what you are trying to achieve ask yourself, what are the possible costs? What is the worst-case scenario? Write these down as well.
- Looking at the information you’ve written ask yourself: Are the benefits of what you could achieve worth the possible costs?
- If no, start to consider other ways to get to your desired outcome.
- If yes, and the benefits are significant enough, it is time to take action. And, you should create a risk plan to minimize the risks you identified.
- Get key advisors to help you look at ways to move forward and to manage the risk.
- Identify how to get information—in real time—about the impact of the movement.
- Identify some damage control scenarios in case things start to head toward a worst-case situation.
- Reassure yourself that you can change your mind if you get good, solid data that says you need to stop.
- Remind yourself that you may have moments of fear (that aren’t based in reality) as you move forward but that you will not let the fear stop you.
Within every opportunity, there is some risk and within every risk, there is opportunity. It’s the nature of life, business, and relationships. And, you can work with that risk if you pause and are thoughtful about how you proceed.
If you have a story of successful risk, we’d love to hear it and we’d also love to hear the stories of failed risk and how you have moved forward.