Risk Aversion is the Impediment to Growth
Yesterday, our CEO, Tim Ogilvie, sat down with us to have one of his semi-regular "fireside chats." The topic was "EntrepreneurYou"— tips for being more entrepreneurially-minded. As I reflected on his stories of personal success, failure and moments of truth, one lesson stood out from the rest: If you can get over your fear of embarrassment, you'll be more likely to take risks for the things you believe in. As an innovation consultant, I often find myself encouraging our clients to take risks over the course of a project, but as of late, I realized I don't follow suit in my own life.
With Tim's call to action fresh in my mind, I put together a list of the top five reasons to just get over yourself and take a risk.
- All the good things in your life came into being because you took action. In other words, nobody has ever gotten anything by doing nothing.
- A life without risk is a life without growth. We learn (and therefore grow) the most when we are up against adversity, pushing ourselves to the limit.
- Live your own life, not the life people expect you to live. When you know what you believe in and stand up for that point of view, you create a new reality for yourself, even if it is only temporary. If you try something and it doesn't work out, you can always take another risk, make a change, and create something entirely new.
- If you're learning something new, you can't be failing. Each action or risk we take is a hypothesis of what our future could be. Even if the hypothesis proves false, you've still learned something valuable.
- The payoff of taking a risk is greater than than the embarrassment of failure. Embarrassment and other emotions are only temporary states but, for better or for worse, taking a risk always has a lasting impact. When it come to taking action, don't let emotions overpower your well-formed gut and intuition.
As much as these principles apply to individuals, they also apply to innovation and growth projects. So when's the last time you took a risk that resulted in an unexpected outcome?