How to Find Those Risks Worth Taking
Live your life to the fullest
If every day seems to start and end the same, and you never accomplish your bucket list items, then you might be in need of a change.
Change is terrifying to many people, but it doesn’t have to be a mistake. Change leads us to undiscovered treasures in others, and ourselves. But it's important to determine in advance which risks are reasonable for your stage of life, and what you should avoid. For instance, if you're a single mom, quitting your job and moving your family to the East Coast might not be the best idea. But if you have backup financial support, or a network of friends to rely on, then it might be exactly the right move.
Finding out the risks worth taking are part of what makes life satisfying. Our experts will show you how to do it.
How to figure out which risks to take
If you’re settled into a comfortable life, then it’s even more concerning to take a leap of faith. Whether it’s leaving a job, or a relationship, or moving to a new city, risk can lead you to new, and hopefully better, things.
Start with your passion. “Passion is our driving force and forces us out of the comfort zone like no other emotion can. With that said, we must take calculated risks so that as we make jumps to further ourselves we do not cause injury to ourselves or others,” said Dr. Judy Rosenberg, a clinical psychologist and founder of the Psychological Healing Center.
If you’re single, without kids the risks you take can be more dramatic because you’re not impacting the lives of others.
“When we are fathers or mothers and have much responsibility, we must understand that what happens to us will have extreme reverberating effects. If you want to make a jump in career, start by keeping your day job. Any entrepreneurs will have to be careful about pulling the plug on their bread and butter money. Some can do so because they have family or other types of financial support,” she said.
It is possible to take too great of a risk. “When making any change whether it is career or personal make sure you have plenty of defenses to weather the storm. Money, emotional support and any plan B that is necessary to make sure that you can sustain yourself. It is a good idea to keep time lines and dead lines so that whatever it is you are risking has an end point if it does not manifest. That does not mean you cannot revisit the topic at another time. Sometimes however, a reality check is necessary and you need to reshuffle the deck at least for the time being,” Rosenberg said.
Five guidelines for risk taking
Bill Treasurer, CEO of Giant Leap Consulting, author of Right Risk, shared his insight on the best way to determine which risks to take to ensure a higher probability of success:
Passion. A right risk is something we care about intensely. Right risks are often ordeals, and ordeals involve suffering. The word “passion” comes from the Latin verb pati, literally translated as “to suffer.” By arousing the strongest, most untamed parts of our nature, and stirring up the wild mustangs in our soul, our passion gives us the raw energy and wherewithal to suffer through the anguishing moments that often accompany right risk. Ask, “What about this risk energizes me?”
Purpose. A right risk is taken out of a deep sense of purpose. Purpose serves to harness our passions and give them direction. They are rich with meaning. They stand for something beyond sensory or ego gratification. Ask, “How will this risk make me a more complete person? How will this risk further my life’s purpose? How will it help me get to where I want to go?”
Principle. Right risks are governed by a set of values that are both essential and virtuous. As mentioned, risks are essentially decisions, and when facing a decision of consequences, principles form a set of criteria against which the risk can be judged. The principles that right-risk takers often use as the basis of their decision-making include truth, justice, independence, freedom, mercy, compassion and responsibility. Ask, “By taking this risk, which of my deepestly held values or ideals will I be upholding?”
Prerogative. Right-risk taking involves the exercise of choice. Right-risk takers view the power to choose as a privilege, and then honor it as such. By consistently making choices at a conscious level, they are better able to make superior judgment calls at an instinctual level — in fast-moving situations. After all of the input of naysayers and yea-sayers are considered, the right-risk taker makes the final judgment as to whether the risk is right for him or her. Ultimately, a right risk is an exercise of free will. Ask, “Am I taking this risk because I have to, or because I choose to?”
Profit. The right risk should come with a real potential for gain. Risks are, well, risky. And in exchange for assuming the potential risk of hardship, you are entitled to some real and unequivocal upside gains. Notice, however, that profit is the fifth “P”. It’s the criteria that should be assessed last, otherwise you’ll be in danger of getting too enamored with the pot at the end of the rainbow, which can distort your
decision-making. Ask, “What gains do I hope to reap from this risk?” and “How enduring are the gains likely to be?”
When making any change whether it is career or personal make sure you have plenty of defenses to weather the storm.