If You Aren’t Taking Risks, You’re Missing Out

By March 15, 2015 March 25th, 2015 LinkedIn Influencer

When I look back at some of the companies I’ve invested in and the career moves I’ve made there are times I have to ask myself, “How could I have taken that risk?What was I thinking?”

Risk in business, as in life, can be managed, but not avoided.

From crossing the street, to pitching an idea in a meeting– risk exists all around us.

If you try to avoid risk, you’ll never achieve all that is possible within your abilities.

I believe it’s a special kind of fear that compels risk takers to lean in, and take action. Those who take risk thrive in fear of doing something for the first time. Even among the most driven executives and entrepreneurs, fear of trying something for the first time is rooted in at least one or more of the following:

Fear of being wrong.

Doubts about the goal’s significance.

Fear of being socially isolated.

When I made the decision to compete on this season of Dancing with the Stars, not one but all three of these fears were racing through my mind.

Regardless of how well I can waltz (not well for the record!), even if I win the whole thing or last one week on the stage, I’ll probably end up asking myself,

“How could I have taken that risk? What was I thinking?”

The answer? It didn’t seem risky at the time.

So when, not if, you find yourself with the chance to do something for the first time, remember these 5 tips. Maybe it won’t seem that risky after all, and maybe you’ll achieve something great (or learn to cha cha in the process).

5 tips for doing something for the first time:

1. Look at all of your options.

Remove as much of the unknown as you can and you’ll eliminate an equal amount of the fear in making a decision.

2. Accept your status as a novice.

If you’re uncomfortable, you know you’re doing something right. Don’t beat yourself up, and don’t let your pride get in the way. Learn as much as you can before you start and during your challenge.

3. Build a support network.

Create a network of people who will stick by you in the worst-case scenario, check on your progress and serve as a source of knowledge or feedback along the way.

4. Define the worst-case scenario and look for a dividend from failure.

What is the worst that can happen if your decision doesn’t lead to success? How long will it take you to recover? Which is worse— a short detour or a life of mediocrity?

5. Remember: Action is better than Inaction. Do it.

Remember, if you stay on the mountain and do nothing, you will freeze to death. You have to try, fail, learn, and do it over again in order to grow and succeed.

Try something new and you’ll be amazed by what you can achieve.

To your success,