I’m not exactly known for taking risks.
A friend once told me that I had to plan to be spontaneous. And it’s true. I am a person who needs structure, who revels in knowledge, and has a great fear of unknowns. I’m definitely risk averse.
Recently I stepped beyond my comfort zone. I blazed a new trail and learned that risk-taking isn’t so bad.
Over the past few weeks, I did the following:
- Hired a contractor I’d never used before on a rather large garage repair project just before I left town.
- Invested money in a business project (which is tough for a cheapskate!)
- Flew on a plane for the very first time in my life.
- Navigated metropolitan transit in a major U.S. city (which is a lot for this girl from the woods!)
- Met people in person that I had previously only talked to on the internet.
- Networked with some incredibly talented people.
And guess what? I survived. I think I can say I even thrived stepped outside my comfort zone, took some risks and learned a thing or two.
Get comfortable with risk
For those of us who are risk-averse, it can really be a challenge to make the leap! While I knew I couldn’t know every detail or anticipate every situation, I felt better with a little bit of information filed away. If you’re facing a big unknown, just knowing who you can rely on to help you if things get tough or where you can find information can be a great comfort. A little bit of knowledge makes for a smarter, more calculated risk.
Share your fears
It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to tell someone you don’t know what will happen. Sharing your concerns can help put your mind at ease. You can share ideas, look for solutions, and find an empathetic ear to listen.
Change your attitude
I often spend a lot of time worrying about all the bad things that can happen. This negative attitude has sometimes prevented me from getting things done. I’ve started to shift my focus to imagining all of the good things that could happen. I am working on visualizing success instead of failure. When you can see the positives when making decisions, it quells the fear. I don’t think I’ll ever become a starry-eyed dreamer, but at least I won’t fall to my inner curmudgeon.
One step at a time
I often get caught up in the feeling that I need to do being working on everything at once. When that happens, I end up feeling very stressed about making a lot of decisions at one time. I can remind myself to step back and set smaller, bite-sized goals. I can tackle a little bit of risk at a time so that it’s not so overwhelming.
When I got off the plane this week, one of my first thoughts was “I did it!” I felt like a little kid who just took her first ride down the big slide at the park. The whole experience has made me realize that I can do so much more than I thought I could.
I know that there are many areas of my life – including financial – in which I could stand to take a few more risks. The results just could be amazing.