How to get more comfortable taking risks

Last week, I asked you what was so hard about change, and what was something you were really stuck on changing. And, the responses were fascinating.

They ranged from relationships….to careers…but one stood out to me in particular: Risk-taking.

How do you get more comfortable taking RISKS?

I believe in order to answer that question, we have to define what a ‘risk’ is.

Because usually, we think of a ‘risk’ as something extreme. Like jumping out of a plane or quitting your job tomorrow and living in Thailand. (And now that I’ve been to Thailand, that sounds like a horrible idea.)

One of my favorite ways to think about risks is from Laird Hamilton–the guy who surfed a 100 foot wave, and who every time I hear in an interview, I turn to my husband and say: I just love Laird. Because, Laird is adorable.

In Laird’s book, he talked about his surfing journey and how he’s able to do what to others seems impossible.

And this one thing he said about risk, changed how I thought about it forever:

“There’s no surfing if you can’t swim”

It seems so simple, right?

But when we think about the word ‘risk’, our first thought is: Let’s just get up on the board and surf! Classic, ‘just do it’ stuff.

For someone like Laird…who is surfing crazy waves daily…you would THINK he would have ‘just do it’ advice written all over him. But guess what? Laird house rules are you need to be a great swimmer before you even get on the board.

So this changes things.

RISKS are not crazy nutty things. They are steps outside of your comfort zone, coupled with artful analysis of how to do them right.

But there’s another important aspect to risks, too. And it’s the place from which we make the decision to ‘take a risk’ in the first place.

Often, ‘taking a risk’ comes from a very intense state–whether it’s complete desperation or blind excitement. We feel this crazy sense of urgency that’s practically blaring the ‘Just Do It’ horns.

But true risk is actually a very slow unfolding. It is a series of things that leads to moments where you think: “Oh…that’s what I have to do now. I’m scared, but here goes one foot in front of the other.”

It comes from a much quieter place inside, without the desperation or the blind excitement.

So to get back to the original question: How do you get more comfortable taking risks?

Based on what I’ve said here…what do YOU think? Leave a comment below.  I’d love to talk and help give a nudge if that’s what you need.



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