I’m the type of person that would rather regret something I did do versus something I didn’t. I figure, at least I tried; at least I can take a lesson and grow.
The concept of not taking any risks and therefore risking more, is so powerful. I work with a number of clients who are challenged with indecision because they don’t want to make a misstep. They think it will set them on a trajectory that will take too long or take them too far away from their intended goal. So, instead of going to for it, they stay in indecision.
What’s the cost of not taking risks when you’re growing your business or trying to progress your career? Typically, it’s a safe, steady climb to a plateau vs. an exponential jump to a much higher mountain peak that may have some up and downs. And while there’s nothing wrong with the former, the latter can really propel you further, faster.
My former colleague wanted to grow in her career. About a year and a half ago, she left her organization for a role that looked good on paper as a managing director of a small company. She had some initial reservations about the position but took the plunge. After only 10 months into the role, she realized it wasn’t a good fit. She began looking for another job right after this realization. She recently landed a new gig in a higher paying position that is also better aligned to her long-term career goals.
A year and a half ago, it was a risk for her to leave her stable position to take the managing director role. She knew the risks up front and her gut concerns about the role ended up being true. Yet, she was optimistic and did it anyway.
Ultimately, her current position hired her because of the experience she gained over the 10-month managing director assignment. Although it was a short stint, the experience she gained was invaluable.
Accepting a position with clear red flags is a risk most wouldn’t have taken. Yet, it was a calculated risk that paid off. Because… what’s the worst that can happen?
I often coach my clients on the worst-case scenario. When given a decision point, I ask them to play out a total catastrophic outcome.
It goes something like this… “If I switch positions, I might hate it. I may learn nothing, and I may get fired”.
And I say, “Then what”?
They reply, “I would start looking for a new job and likely get one because I have pretty decent skills. If it’s not the perfect job the first time around, I can always keep looking until I find something I like.”
“And what might you gain from an experience like this”? I ask.
“A different environment, relationship building, exposure to new skills, an ability to execute and think differently.”
Exactly! Doesn’t sound too bad, does it?!
So next time you’re weighing a decision that has some known downside, consider the worst-case scenario and then see if you can loop yourself back to all the possible upsides. You’ll see that taking calculated risk can be well worth it!