Making a decision to Risk can be a painful one. We have all felt the painful defeat of going for something, anything…and losing. Even the idea of risking something with the possibility of pain can be enough to stop a person in their tracks, and choose to risk nothing at all. The risk is the possibility of experiencing pain, shame, defeat, and judgment. How do you move forward knowing there is possible pain and disappointment waiting to meet you on the other side?
Here are five ways to help you develop the skills and practice to understanding how to take risks. They are no small feats. But then what type of risk ever was? Like Brene’ Brown says in Gifts of Imperfection, “You learn courage by couraging,” well…you learn risk by risking.
1. Being comfortable being vulnerable and able to put yourself in harms way
This is the hardest of them all. Choosing vulnerability is something we humans are not good at. We are guarded by nature. Our culture is one that isolates us to make us fearful, judgmental and alone. Choosing to show up your most authentic self, without apologies is a true act of resistance. There is risk involved since we are so afraid of rejection. If we can acknowledge our fear and shame around this, we can see that courage, compassion, and connection is what we risk in the end. Those things are ultimately what we want. And I for one, am willing to risk to have them in my life.
2. Risk being a part of something greater than ourselves to explore our own potential
The world is full of infinite possibilities. This is a view I choose to take. It’s an abundance mindset. What makes each of us unique and different is our thinking and how our behaviors line up with our thoughts surrounding those opportunities. Our actions and what we choose to do with our thoughts defines how and when we choose to take risks. Being a part of the bigger conversation helps you to connect to something bigger than YOU. When you feel that connection, it makes the risk not only easier to take, but worthwhile.
3. Moving through Pain
This one sucks until you come out on the other side. I don’t know about you, but when I experience pain, all I want to do is hide and avoid all potential future encounters with it. I want to self-protect at all cost. BUT… this is where the good stuff is. *Pain is how we grow* Think about it…when you are pushed, prodded, made uncomfortable, angry or hurt (aka, put in painful situations), that’s where you have to really look at yourself, who you are in that situation or relationship, and either change, grow, and adapt, or remain in pain. Risk can be painful. But with pain comes growth and positive adaptation.
4. Be patient and take time building the skill
Being a risk taker is not something you are born with. You have to put yourself in situations where you are able to practice and hone the skill. Take small risks to practice taking bigger risk. Choose a new skill to work on. Go to a dance class. Try rock climbing. Take a cooking class. These are potential low stakes for you to practice your risk taking, before a big risk comes along. It helps to build a foundation of trust in yourself in making new decisions. Then you will be able to really flex your risk taking muscles when the opportunity arises.
5. Explore and experiment
Risk taking can’t be done in a bubble. Nobody else can learn your lessons for you. There are life lessons you must learn on your own through trial and error. And with every trail and every error, it gets a little easier. Taking risks can be a messy endeavor. It can also be a great adventure of self discovery and testing personal limits.