Choosing what risks to take

I had an experience this week whereby I had to decide about which risk I was willing to take – whether to risk making it home without the charge in my electric car running out or to risk overcoming my discomfort with new technology and learn how to charge the thing!

I posted about this on LinkedIn this week, so you can go there to see which choice I made if you’re curious!

The whole experience has got me thinking about the role of risk taking in our lives.

Truth to tell, there’s always a risk!

No matter which choice we make, no matter which direction we take, there’s always a risk.

And people don’t always understand this. Typically we think the only risk is if we decide to do something new or different.

Let’s unpack that a bit together today because this is important for you. I know you have some risks lining up in your life! How do I know that? Because you’re human! And we are always being called to grow.

And the decision to answer that call to growth always involves risk. We can never know with absolute certainty what the outcome will be when we decide for something new or different and that feels scary.

As a result, a lot of the time we stay stuck in indecision, fearful of making a change and perhaps telling ourselves we are “a bit risk averse”. Maybe you also tell yourself you just need to do “a bit more research”, talk to a few more people or even just “wait a bit longer” to see which way the wind is blowing.
In my own life, one of the most obvious ways I dithered on making a move was looking to the economy to determine when would be the best time to leave my job and start my own business.
The problem with locating the decision outside of ourselves is that anything “objective” can never tell you what’s right for you, only you know that. While I waited for the economy to tell me when was a good time to make my move, I stayed in my job for years longer than was probably a good fit for all concerned. During that time, I witnessed unprecedented growth in the economy, followed by a terrible crash and recession and everything in-between. At no time did it ever feel like the right time. In the end, I left when I made the decision myself to go.

What is curious about my thinking throughout all those years is that I only ever considered the risks of leaving my job – the risk to our family income, the risk of losing my pension and benefits, the risks of failure and falling flat on my face.

At no time did I ever consider what the risks were from staying in a job that no longer lit me up. Looking back now, I can see exactly what the risks were because I lived them – I became increasingly unhappy, I was angry and frustrated and took it out on those I most loved; I lost confidence. I became more and more a stranger to myself. I stopped liking myself, I stopped liking my job and I had a much muted experience of life. I was surviving, not thriving.

When I finally left my job nothing was ever as difficult as I imagined it would be. Yes, there were scary days and tough times, but I always made the income goals I set for myself. I found ways to finance the training I wanted to undertake. I learned how to be my own tech support (thank you Google!). I wasn’t perfect at much of it, but I was doing what I loved, getting better every day and growing in confidence again. I became happier in myself and nicer to everyone around me. I grew to love my life.

Not only that, but in very tangible ways our lives got better for everyone in my family – the holidays, the cars, the concerts, and experiences. I was more available to my kids and at home more. I’ve had business and coaching awards that previously I’d only dreamed of.

You’ve probably heard about these through my blogs or workshops, the details aren’t important on one level and you’ll have your own dreams. What’s important here today is if I hadn’t taken the risk to try something new and go after what I knew I wanted, I’d have risked never experiencing any of these outcomes. Outcomes that have enhanced my life 100% and that I am grateful for every day.

As a result, I can say now, with certainty, that there is always a risk! Stay or go, do or don’t do, ask for what you’d love or don’t ask; reach out or don’t reach out. There is a risk to all of it and I’m sure that in pretty much every scenario, the risk of the status quo is bigger than the risk of going after the outcome you’d love.

Why would I say that? Because growth is what we’re designed for, so it will always serve us to move in that direction. And also because in life, there is no such thing as status quo. If we’re not growing we’re decaying or atrophying. It doesn’t serve us. And unlived life will always make itself felt in some area of our experience, in our relationships, in our finances or time freedom, in our health, in our careers.

I don’t say this to scare you, I say it just to be clear about all risks.
Even when life is good and you have lots to be grateful for, don’t let your good be the enemy of your great! Always keep an ear open to the call to growth and respond.

So where are you being called to grow in your life currently?

Are you listening to your longings and discontents?

Are you willing to take a risk and go after what new and better looks like for you?

And if you’re feeling afraid or that it is too risky for you to make changes, are you also really acknowledging the risk and the cost of doing nothing?

As Anthony Russo says on #bethechange:

Never taking risks is the greatest risk of all:

Those willing to take risks have the power to change their life and the lives of those around them. When you don’t take a risk, you risk much more than those that take the leap. Not taking a risk can have the side effect of overall failure and unhappiness.

Striving for something more, now that’s a life worth living. A life full of risks, a life full of failure, a life full of heart break but also a life full of possibilities, growth, opportunity and in many cases… greatness. Strive for greatness through Risk. You can, you will, you must.”

If you’re ready to strive for more I invite you to join me for the Vision Workshop Live in Cork on 19-21 April 2024. This is a 3-day deep dive on the fundamentals of transformation, including how to overcome the fear of taking a risk on your dreams. Super Early Bird tickets and all details are available here.