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Learning to take risks

Growth is impossible without risk.

Stop and think about this statement for a moment. It is in our nature to avoid risk. Dr. Britt Andreatta in Wired to the resistor discusses the “habenula: our center for failure prevention” and how it works to release certain chemicals in the brain that are essentially rewarding success and punishing failure. However, if you really get to the bottom line, you need to be willing to risk something – whether it puts your reputation, finances, or time – to truly grow.

You need a mindset that is willing to take risks. A mindset that strives to take that next step. Keep going. A mindset that understands that otherwise you won’t be able to move forward.

This applies to both your career and your personal life. When I think back on my career, I wouldn’t be where I am today without being ready to take risks. This applies both to my time in a large company and to my decision to found Michael Hyatt & Co.

The people who succeed and develop are the ones who keep pushing for improvement. Whether they’re tackling a project that seems impossible, aiming for record sales, starting a new line of products, and so on. Regardless of the goal, people with risky mindsets understand that you can’t let the fear of failure hold you back.

How to increase your risk tolerance

I know that seems scary. I want to share your 4 practical principles that you can use to become more familiar with risk. Remember, when I talk about risk, I am not saying that you are simply exercising caution and making a crazy, irresponsible leap. No, I’m talking about intentional, focused risk that will help you achieve your goals.

  1. Failure is something to learn from, not to be feared. When it comes down to it, so many of us allow our fear of failure to dictate what we do. The fear of what will happen if we fail becomes so great in our minds that we cannot see that that fear is actually a failure in and of itself. You have to take risks, make mistakes and learn from them to really grow.
  2. Life is always on the move. For many of us, our driving force is avoiding change. And yet, if you really think about it, it’s impossible. Life is always moving, always changing. It’s up to you to take a risk and take a step forward to determine the direction you want to go.
  3. Practice taking small risks. Now I understand this can seem a bit silly. I believe that as you practice taking small risks, you will notice a shift in your focus. You won’t be so focused on the possible “bad” results. You will be empowered by small wins along the way. Give the courage to take greater risks when the time comes.
  4. Surround yourself with people who measure “profit not the gap”. It’s important to have people who can give you perspective along the way. I am sure you have heard many times in your life that the people you spend time with matter. That they are either people who lift you up or bring you down. When we talk about learning to take risks, you want people to help you see how far you have come. You may not have reached your goal, but what you learn is well worth the risk. These people can help you see “what is possible now because you have taken risks that otherwise would not have taken.”

What risk are you taking this year? I urge you to commit to increasing your risk tolerance. You never know what you will be missing out if you don’t.


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