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Please join us. Why take a risk?

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Please join us. Why take a risk?

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Some people take risks more readily than other people. And risks can be a little scary, whether they involve making a major career change and/or cross-country move, asking for a promotion or a raise, declaring your affection to someone else when you’re not sure how that person feels, or when it necessitates speaking up to someone whose behavior has been making you unhappy. Risks come in all sizes and shapes.

Some people take risks more readily than other people. And risks can be a little scary, whether they involve making a major career change and/or cross-country move, asking for a promotion or a raise, declaring your affection to someone else when you’re not sure how that person feels, or when it necessitates speaking up to someone whose behavior has been making you unhappy. Risks come in all sizes and shapes.

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Please join us. Why take a risk?

  1. 1. Why take a risk? Some people take risks more readily than other people. And risks can be a little scary, whether they involve making a major career change and/or cross-country move, asking for a promotion or a raise, declaring your affection to someone else when you’re not sure how that person feels, or when it necessitates speaking up to someone whose behavior has been making you unhappy. Risks come in all sizes and shapes. The first thing to remember is that it is impossible to avoid risks - life is full of them. First of all, there are Imposed risks: things that happen to us that we can’t avoid – floods and tornadoes come to mind – with the possibility of leaving you feeling helpless and victimized, as do financial disasters, broken relationships, and any situation you can’t control. That sense of a loss of control is what makes stress so stressful – in fact it is the key factor in determining whether we view an event as stress or as a challenge. Then there are Chosen risks: Actions you deliberately take to get something you want or to get away from something you don’t want. With a chosen risk, there is always the possibility of embarrassment, failure and loss. Why would anyone choose to take a risk when it may be accompanied by lots of anxiety? It can result in a rich reward and – think of this, you will never know whether you could have gotten what you wanted if you never try. Even if the outcome isn’t exactly what you want, the long term consequence of that risk-taking act can be positive because you become more resilient and able to deal with imposed risks more easily. Do you feel safer when you don’t take a risk? Research indicates that, at the end of their lives, people don’t worry about what they have done. They worry about what they have not done. As John Greenleaf Whittier said, “For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, “It might have been.” Here’s a little exercise to get you started: Think of a risk you would like to take. What is the worst thing that could happen? This is called the “worst case scenario.” Why would you want to think of that? Because it is the bogeyman that is keeping you from even thinking deeply about taking the risk. Facing it is necessary if you want to move forward.
  2. 2. On a scale of 0 to 100, what is the probability the worst will happen? Take a minute to think about this. You may find, to your surprise, that the probability isn’t really all that high, but you have been acting as if it is 100%. If the probability is less than 50% that it will turn out badly, you are in a good position to go ahead. It is probably a lot less than 50%. Finally, can you handle the feelings, or are you undermining yourself by saying, “it will be soawful if this doesn’t work out?” Will it really, or are you being dramatic? Risk-taking doesn’t have to be scary or dramatic; it’s a skill, and it can be learned and practiced, just like any other skill you might want to acquire in order to enrich your life. Next week, we will look at how to set up a risk so it is not so risky at all. Lynette Crane, M.A.(Psychology) and Certified Life Coach,is a Minneapolis-based speaker, writer, and coach. She has more than 30 years' experience in the field of stress management. She currently works to provide stress and time pressure solutions to harried women, those women who seek "Islands of Peace" in their overly-busy lives. Her talks to groups of what she calls "harried women" are receiving rave reviews. Visit her website at http://www.creativelifechanges.com/ to see more in-depth articles and to view her programs.

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