There’s a fine line between taking a calculated risk and being a reckless gambler – and you can win or lose big, either way. However, in today’s business world, it’s necessary to take risks in order to remain competitive and ahead of the game. If you have decided to up-level your business or life in some way, you must take some calculated risks.
How do you do this so you don’t lose your shirt?
Risk-taking is a key factor in your ability to lead yourself and others into the future. It affects your direction, decision-making, choices, and actions. It’s the difference between becoming a Vera Wang or Elon Musk – or a Jane Doe or Joe Blow.
Deborah Perry Piscione, author of Risk Factor, reports that risk-taking to win can be cultivated. Piscione, a member of former congressional and White House staff, as well as a media commentator for several key news channels, now supports some of the greatest risk-takers in Silicon Valley, where technologic history is made. She and some of her colleagues have conducted research that reveals the “DNA” of bold risk-takers, and they have discovered several key attributes, all of which can be cultivated.
These traits include such things as refusing to accept the status quo, being in touch with a much greater purpose in life, valuing talented people and understanding how and when to collaborate with them, and being able to effectively execute an innovative idea or direct others as they do it.
Indeed, in my coaching practice, I’ve observed 5 ways accomplished risk-takers differentiate themselves from gamblers:
But at the foundation of cultivating these traits lies the ability to break through old fears that currently keep you in place. It is fear that keeps you from considering those decisions and actions that are outside of the box, and those which will take your business and career from safe and small to extraordinary.
So it’s back to confronting and overcoming the fear, right?
Wrong! This is where most people get stuck. The common belief is that we must confront the fear to overcome it, when in fact, it’s a matter of confronting the false assumptions that keep the fear in place.
Consider this: Mara (a real client, but not her real name!) is a successful attorney in the region, who first approached me to help her scale her business. She had worked with a business coach to formulate an excellent plan, but couldn’t seem to take any steps to move forward. When we explored what was holding her back, we discovered that she feared failing to scale successfully. Her assumptions that held this fear in place were that she would then lose credibility in the business community, lose her current business, and be unable to make any income in the future.
“Mara, is it true that if you don’t scale successfully that you will lose credibility and business?”
“Actually, no,” she hesitated. “My current clients and focus would remain strong. I guess that if the scaling did not succeed, most people wouldn’t even see it.”
“So let’s set up a plan of action to help you to confront and test out of these faulty assumptions.”
Testing out of faulty assumptions is a careful process of determining bite-sized action steps to stretch one’s risk-taking abilities. It’s a proven method in the adult development field that is akin to consistently dipping the toe in the proverbial waters just an inch farther than the comfort zone. Each time we take one of these incremental steps forward, we flex the confidence muscle and show ourselves that we are safe and that success is possible.
How did this work for Mara? Over the next few months, I helped Mara to break down her plan into bite-sized actions, and her mind learned to accept that Mara would be safe and viable in the business world while taking the risks necessary to scale – and succeed. I’m happy to report that Mara enjoys a scaled business today, allowing her more influence and greater impact.
Patti Cotton works with high-potential executives and professionals to engage, elevate, and equip them for greater leadership and outcomes. She possesses more than 25 years of leadership both stateside and abroad, in diplomatic relations, and corporate profit and not-for-profit worlds, and is an internationally-certified coach, leveraging her experience and training to help executives around the world to master their inner leader for extraordinary results.
To learn more about How to Play a Bigger Game or Patti Cotton, Please visit www.patticotton.com or contact Shelly Harrison at Luminary Leaders at 909-519-3712.