Everything we do in life involves risk. There’s no growth of any kind without risk. We start running risks when we get out of bed in the morning. We take a risk every time we cross the street. Risks are good for us. They bring out the best in us. And, you cannot achieve happiness or success without taking risks.
Everything that you care about in your life depends upon risking. And the truth is that most people don’t even think about risking, and they’re risking all the time. Almost everything that you do that can result in moving yourself closer toward where you want to be in life involves risk. To put in another way, almost everything you do that’s going to get you closer to the things you want involves to possibility of a loss. And if you you’re not aware of what you could loose, then you’re not aware of how you can protect yourself from losing it.
All risks follow a similar pattern: First you find out that you’re in a risky situation; then you have to decide what you have to do to get out of it; then you assess the risk and the danger involved in the risk; then you go for it, putting the hammer to the floor, until you reach the point of no return and you have to save yourself. And then you finally adjust to the new position.
When people say they’re afraid of success, they’re not really saying they’re afraid of success. What they’re afraid of is not holding on to the place they are in, their comfort zone. Most people get into trouble by failing to adjust to a position that is outside of their comfort zone.
Achieving success requires hard work and it requires you to work even harder to maintain it. When you’ve achieved success, everyone is watching you, waiting to see where you make your mistakes, ready to move up and take advantage them. The people who are afraid of success are afraid that they aren’t good enough to reach success in the first place, and that’s why they don’t take risks.
Before you take any risk, you have to analyze the possible loss contained in the risk. If this sounds scary to you, it’s probably the thing that stops you from taking the risks that you need to take to go where you want to go.
Taking a risk is like jumping over a chasm. Instead of measuring the width of the chasm, most people will walk up to the edge, look down and are overwhelmed by the depth. You do not jump the depth. You jump the width. If you’re so afraid of what you could lose if something goes wrong, you paralyze yourself so that you lose your sense of forward motion at the time when you need to take the risk. You need to practice on flat ground. Figure out how wide that chasm is, and take a couple of leaps.
It’s hard to do this in real life. But in real life, what you do is start planning. You make a worst-case scenario and a best case scenario. But you have to be careful, because at the moment of truth, when you face the actual risk, you’re caught up with the truth, not with your estimation of your worth or power.
When you take a risk don’t make the mistake of exaggerating your worth. Never overestimate your strength or your ability to respond. You have to come from strength, but you must come from the full body of your strength and not plan on using excess resources that you hope to have. When you take a risk, you can count only on what you have at that particular moment.
What this means is that sometimes the risks you have to take are not always the risks you want to take. Sometimes you have to take a risk to get into the position where you can take the risk that you want to take.
Risking is important to all parts of life, not only financial but also emotional. When you think of the relationships that you care about most, the thing that you risk is rejection for expressing how you really feel. But if the relationship you’re in is one in which you cannot express how you feel, then is it a good relationship for you or the other person?
The best relationship is one in which you can simply be yourself, in which you’re welcomed in as the person you are. In a relationship, if you have to give up a part of yourself in order to be there, you have already given up and lost the part of the relationship that you’re risking for.
To keep your relationships alive, you must take risks all the time. You must be willing to say things like, “I don’t like that, " or “this isn’t what I had in mind, " or “this is what I want to do, " or “this makes me uncomfortable. “ You need to be able to take the risks and state who you are in terms of what you feel.
The ability of your relationships to have value depends on the truth of your feelings that you are comfortable in expressing in the relationship. A relationship in which you have to lie about your feelings is not a relationship worth risking for.
If you’re looking for approval from the people around you, then you’re limited by other people’s approval. The person who will praise you for something may lead you off the correct path.
The correct path is one where you’re pleasing yourself, where you’re the person who is the judge of the worth, merit, and the good feelings that something gives you. You have to ultimately take the risk to live a life where you’re the judge of how good the things are that you’re risking for. When you risk to please someone, you risk loosing your self-esteem and your path.
In the business world, risking is what life is all about. You have to analyze the problems that face you. You have to take risks often with limited resources. You’re worried about the people who are slow in paying you. You’re trying to expand the business and your career. You wonder if you should take out ads and how you should position your business in the marketplace. And everyone is trying to sell you something.
The need to take a risk, the need to move ahead, and the need to succeed, especially in business can undermine you, if the need is greater than your ability to say no to a certain risks. You have to have a plan and know exactly what you want. And if you don’t, then sometimes the best risk is the risk not taken.
Here’s the basic rule you must remember and follow, whether you’re in business or dealing with people, or raising a family: The right risk brings you closer to the right life.
The right life, is the life where you feel more like yourself. Where you are doing what you want to do, not what people tell you to do. Where you recognize that you were given a gift when you came to this planet, and that your job is to discover what that gift is and develop it. And once you’ve discovered your gift find as many ways as you can to give it back. Any risk you take must in some way, enhance your ability to discover your gift, to develop it, and to raise your chances of giving it back.
When you look back over your life, you’ll see that everything good that has ever happened to you depended on your doing something that came from yourself. Not pleasing others, but pleasing yourself. Some gift that you gave back. So giving your gift and risking are important in understanding who you, and achieving happiness and success in life.
You have to take all the risks necessary to develop your gift so that you can be happy, because being happy is the payoff for discovering your gift. There is no happiness in just making more money. You may not agree with that when your bills are piling up around you and financial pressures are mounting. But money is not the answer. Once the novelty of money is gone, you feel a kind of emptiness and despair, because you have to live within you.
Taking risk requires that you believe that you have something that’s special about you. Don’t confuse this specialty with arrogance and conceit. Feeling special is about having a sense that you were put on this earth for a purpose. All of your risks should reflect that purpose in some way. They should get you closer to the place where you’re more yourself. They should make it easier for you to be free in expressing your feelings. Being emotionally free in expressing who you are, and doing the things you love, is the final payoff for taking all the right risks.
Copyright© 2005 by Joe Love and JLM & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.
Joe Love draws on his 25 years of experience helping both individuals and companies build their businesses, increase profits, and achieve total success. He is the founder and CEO of JLM & Associates, a consulting and training organization, specializing in personal and business development. Through his seminars and lectures, Joe Love addresses thousands of men and women each year, including the executives and staffs of many of America’s largest corporations, on the subjects of leadership, self-esteem, goals, achievement, and success psychology.
Reach Joe at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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