SUGAR AND SPICE ADVICE
Taking risks is something most of us engage in at one time or another. Taking risks is a necessary part of life. Risks offer opportunities for growth and learning. Not all risk taking is smart, though. Some risks are dangerous and foolhardy, like zigzagging in and out of traffic at 100 mph or attempting to climb Mount Everest without any hiking experience, or investing your savings account into what appears to be a pyramid scheme. Risking life or limb while taking a risk is something that very well could not be worth the attempt.
What about those risks that are worth taking? These are the ones that are beneficial, such as pursuing a dream, buying that first home, or going back to school. How do we make our dreams come to fruition? Simply by doing a little assessment and taking reasonable risks. So how do we decide what is a healthy risk, and what isn’t? Try these ideas:
Weigh the risks and rewards. What could you lose? What could you gain? I don’t know how many of you remember the daredevil, Evel Knievel. (I am aging myself.) He’s the motorcyclist who decided to jump the Snake River Canyon in Idaho. Think about what he could have lost in that gambit. Now think about what a person could gain by going back to school. A better job, more pay, possibly better work hours, self-satisfaction in a job well done. Lose a leg or a life or a have a career you love? You decide.
Don’t let fear of failure dissuade you. At risk taking time negative thoughts pop into one’s head discouraging a person from even trying. Thoughts like, “You are too old,” “You are too tired,” “That is going to be hard,” or “People will laugh at you if you fail.” The comfort zone is called that because it takes no effort and makes a person feel safe. But sometimes you just have to leave your comfort zone. Staying in your comfort zone does not guarantee happiness or personal growth. It is okay to venture out of that comfort zone now and again, really. Looking at it from the cynic’s point of view, what if you “fail?” You never fail until you refuse to get back up. Even if the goal wasn’t totally achieved, something beneficial was learned along the way. Experience won this way is not something to be scoffed at. It can be a leg up on your next attempt and you will succeed.
Prepare and plan and you will improve the chance of success. Do your research. What does the risk involve? Is this a good time to take the risk? How will family and friends be impacted by this risk? What about fitting in this risk with my current working hours? The old adage applies here: Fail to plan then plan to fail. Remember to use the SMART system for setting your goals.
Here’s the SMART way of goal setting in a nutshell:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Time-Bound
Chop your goal into reasonable parts. Have faith in yourself. Don’t’ give up. And don’t forget to congratulate yourself as you complete each step. It will be worth the effort. You’ll see.
Wishing you health and happiness!
(Thank you to Kaiser Permanente for some of the information in this post.)
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