Your capacity to embrace risk directly impacts your ability to maximize your professional growth. Risk-taking allows you to learn more about yourself, assess your strengths and weaknesses, and make connections that you had not previously made or could not see. Why should you take that step out of your comfort zone?
If you are ready, you’re too late.
No matter how qualified you are, if you wait too long to pursue an opportunity, someone else will take it. You can’t, won’t, and shouldn’t be ready every time a new opportunity comes your way, so you need to be able to come to terms with the fact that waiting to feel prepared is not always your best option. Sometimes, you need to jump in headfirst and take things as they come and at face value, rather than wade in and let opportunities pass you by.
The only way to learn is to do.
“You learn by doing” is how the saying goes. I had a client whose career growth took an exponential turn when he realized that he did not have to “know it all” to take action. He also recognized that he needed to give his team the space to start working and learning the ins and outs of a project for themselves before expecting them to have a full grasp on everything. Remember that being in the trenches is the only way you will win the battle.
It’s better to regret doing it than not doing it.
Generally, we regret the opportunities we did not take, the things we did not do. One of my clients, in the midst of her transition from corporate to the world of entrepreneurship, once told me that her biggest fear was that if her business didn’t work out, she had wasted her time. She later realized that, whether or not her project was successful, she would have acquired unique, invaluable skills that she could apply to any of her future ventures. In this case, she quickly shifted into a learning mindset à la Nelson Mandela: “I never lose. I either win or learn.”
If you have the vision, test the ability.
If you can dream it, you should chance it. If you fear that there are too many obstacles between your vision and you, think first of how you can put your “feet in the water.” How can I take on a larger project to be ready for the promotion I want? Can I test pilot the product I want to launch? Can I shadow a professional in the new field I want to move into? Answering these questions might be the first step on the journey of maximizing your potential.
Becoming comfortable with embracing risks is something else that you’ll pick up on this journey from your comfort zone to your most successful professional self.