Some people identify as born risk-takers, but for others, taking risks in life requires lots of time and thought. Taking calculated risks in your career can have great pay-off. Fortunately, for those who are a bit more hesitant, the art of calculated risk-taking can be learned.
Let’s begin with the basics: what exactly is a calculated risk? Anytime a choice pushes you outside your comfort zone, it is considered a risk. When you weigh all the possible outcomes, or calculate the negative results versus the reward of your choice, you can call it a calculated risk. From a Las Vegas gambler to a preteen wanting to talk to his crush, people take calculated risks each day. Especially in business, the most successful people do not risk it all on just a feeling. Instead, they take time to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of every decision.
Are you ready to take more calculated risks to advance your career? If so, here are a few helpful practices and behaviors that you can implement today.
Emotions drive the majority of human choices. Emotions such as fear of failure or excitement about reward can dominate the brain’s ability to apply logic to situations. While leading with logic over emotion is easier said than done, it can be learned. Ultimately, you must examine all the ways you can fail (and the lasting repercussions) and weigh them against the greatest rewards of your decision.
So, how do we overcome dominating emotions? Begin by researching all parts of the risk to find any red flags or possible issues. Seek multiple resources, advisors and experts in your field. For example, a sports bettor doesn’t risk it all on his favorite team or the projected winner according to one source. Instead, he leverages all available resources to make the best choice. Thorough research is imperative to successful risk taking, but you must know when to stop researching and take action. Once you’ve done your homework, you can move forward with your calculated risk.
Practice Taking Risks
Practice may not make perfect, but it will make improvements. Learn to take small risks in your daily life. With smaller risks, the outcome is less important. Rather, you will learn to manage emotions and lead with logic instead. Not sure where to begin? Strategy games like poker, can help you learn to weigh your odds and reframe the concept of failure. Learn to play poker today to gain skills that will transfer to your career. As you practice making better, informed decisions on a daily basis, the more likely, and better, you will be at taking calculated risks in your job.
With any risk, there is potential for failure. Understand that along the way, some choices may be wrong and there will be consequences. Become comfortable with making mistakes and learn to respond: change the plan of action then get back on course. On the other hand, there is potential for great success (that’s why you’re considering the risk, of course!). Celebrate beneficial outcomes graciously with coworkers, friends and family.
There is no doubt that taking risks can be both beneficial and detrimental for your career. Learning to calculate the outcomes and then take action often requires practice. Start with small risks and work up to larger risks with greater payoff. Eventually, you will learn the art of calculated risk-taking and ultimately see growth and success in your career.