It sounds simple, but taking risks is often hard, especially for women who have been trained their whole lives to be careful, don’t get dirty and don’t make mistakes. The truth is risks are necessary for any kind of growth. Learning how to take more risks is important to live a fulfilling life full of memories, joy, and a sense of accomplishment.
Here’s a few things I’ve learned along the way when considering taking a new step.
1. 1. Trust Yourself.
That’s easier said than done. Especially if you feel like you’ve let yourself down in the past. You must believe thought that there is a greater depth to you than you currently recognize. Believe that you can find the internal resources to do what is necessary to get the results you’re hoping for.
2. 2. Release Perfectionism
That’s a hard one. If we’re doing something like starting a business, or beginning a weight loss program, we all recognize that we have to have some level of excellence in order to be successful. The problem arises when we expect perfectionism at the beginning rather than understanding that excellence is a process over time. Excellence allows for mistakes and failures but allows the opportunity to fix them. Understand that in whatever you desire, there is time to fix things and that you don’t have to have all the answers to start.
3. 3. Find Community
When I was in graduate school studying Counseling, I was heavily impacted by the psychotherapist Irvin Yalom. He taught a truth that I carry with me til this day. That is, the need for connection is a fundamental need for every human. When we are faced with the idea of taking a risk, we need at a very elemental level, others who believe in us and possibly have gone down that road as well. You might find that many people around you are not very keen on the risk you’re about to take. They would never do what you’re planning to do, so they just don’t get it.
You will need your community. You will need people who get you and what you are trying to do. Make finding or creating a community a priority.
4. 4. Make Friends with Fear
If you’re not used to making big life changes or taking risks, you will not like that big knot that starts forming in your stomach. You might even think “something” is telling you this is a bad idea. That something is fear…and it’s not always telling you NOT to do something. Most of the time it’s there to remind you to live in a status quo way. Fear and risk go hand in hand. You will not ever feel 100% calm when faced with a risk. Become familiar with that risk feels like and allow the emotional waves of anxiety fear brings to rise and fall.
5. 5. Do Your Research
In 2016 when I was considering opening a restaurant, I was aware of the statistics on restaurant failures. But here I was anyway considering it. To face the fear, I did extensive research on why restaurants fail. I came up with a list of 10 of the most common reasons. From there I created plans on how I would avoid these. Many times, when we have ideas, we don’t want to look closely at the consequences of the risks we want to take. Instead, we allow the fear of the risk float around in our minds. Looking the fear and risks in they eye and coming up with plans helped me to feel more confident moving forward.
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Remember that in the end, you get this one life. You get this one time to test how far you can go in life. When your time is up, it’s up. Be sure you are taking the risks that have been put in front of you because they were meant for you.