All business owners take risks.
You had to take a risk to start a business, and as you know; the opportunity to take risks is always present and often doesn’t get any easier.
The reality is, to move your business forward you will ALWAYS need to take risks. Right now it may be that one risk that turns into your biggest opportunity.
It’s easy to sit back and look at someone else’s situation and easily see a certain risk that makes sense to take. It’s a different story when you’re the one who has to bear the risk. Emotion; particularly the emotion of fear, becomes involved in the decision.
Looking back in my life, it is the biggest risks that I’ve taken that have provided the most reward emotionally, mentally and financially. And I’m sure it’s the same for many of you. To help you move forward and approach risks with some element of logic, I’ve outlined the key stages you’ll find yourself going through. I certainly find that when you can be objective about your emotion it helps to offset some of the fear. Fear is rarely rational. That certainly doesn’t mean we should ignore it. It is a very helpful emotion. Sometimes we just need to put it in perspective.
Take a look at this emotional journey and see if you can identify with the steps. Use it for future risk-taking opportunities to help gain some perspective:
1. The Dream State – The ideal situation is easy to visualize. The results are manageable and the upside is all blue sky
2. The Peer Reaction – You voice the idea to some friends and colleagues who all think it’s a great idea as well. They encourage you to move ahead. The flip-side is that people tell you you’re crazy, it will never work and the risks are too great.
3. Reality – Regardless of the peer reaction, you start outlining a plan and as the steps become more clear, and you can visualize the way it will go, all sorts of worst-case scenarios start to pop into your mind.
4. Backing Out – Okay, so this might not have been the greatest idea start with. Now the downsides seem likely and living the reality is unthinkable.
5.Calling You on It – If your friends are anything like mine; they don’t let you off the hook easily. When you voice your decision to not carry through with the plans, your good friends are quick to call you on it.
6.Taking the Leap – You muster the courage to carry through with your plans. Sure, it’s not all smooth sailing, but within a short time frame it becomes very clear that the massive downsides first visualized are not going to happen. Even though things have not gone exactly according to plan, you’ve found solutions as you go through the process. You’ve leaned that navigating the fallout is an organic process and that you have more skills and abilities to deal with the situation then you first gave yourself credit for.
The reality is that with every decision, regardless of the level of risk, it is impossible to forecast how it will play out. All we can do is best identify the possible risks and look at what actions we would take if those risks eventuate. Nine times out of 10 when you look at a worse case scenario, you can still put a plan in place to get yourself back on track. And those worst-case narrows usually have less than a 1/10 chance of happening, versus the upside which usually has an 80% plus chance of happening. So if we look at the logic here and say “am I going to let a possible 10% worst-case scenario stop me from having an 80% chance of ideal scenario?”.
When you put it that way, it becomes a no-brainer.
Of course we always need to think through our decisions. The trick is being as level-headed and objective about the emotions associated with the decision as is humanly possible.
Have you ever spoken to someone and walked away feeling like they just didn’t “get it”? Technology has been an incredible boon to business over the past few decades, but it has transformed the way we communicate at work in ways we are still trying to understand. Especially with the recent changes we’ve seen as