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How far should you go (when taking risks in your career and life)? [Wise Wednesdays]

Last week, I was asked how much risk to take on when stepping out of a comfort zone and shared a few thoughts online.

If you’re trying out a new approach or tool, how do you know when you’ve gone too far? For example, if you’re practising bold asks and expressing yourself more freely rather than censoring yourself out of fear of what others may think, how do you know how much to share? [Read on or watch the video]



First, let’s remember that we live in times of heightened uncertainty which is intensifying our emotional life. Second, a certain amount of risk is inevitable in life. You cannot side-step it. If you do, you’ll find that your life shrinks and that you feel constantly anxious or simply collapse and freeze in an avoidant stance trying to keep everything under control. So the real question becomes: can we trust ourselves to engage with risk wisely? As Rachel Botsman puts it: trust is a responsible engagement with the unknown. But you might ask: what is trust in this context? You might put it this way: risk requires (self) trust, and trust is an intentional and intuitive engagement with the unknown. 1) Intentional because you bring awareness to the sense of risk you’re facing and notice how you feel and what you think. From there you can unpack, reframe and release fears that no longer serve you. 2) Intuitive because many decisions you will have to make are multifactorial – there are factors that you cannot control and factors you’re not even aware of. You cannot rely purely on rational thinking or emotion. Intuition is your best tool for complex decision making under significant uncertainty. Taking risks will bring unexpected results: some that you’ll like and others that you won’t (at least at first). But it will build your muscle for courage, refine your risk appetite and improve your risk management leading to the feeling of a fuller and more vibrant life. Have you ever taken a bigger risk than you could chew? What happened? What did you learn?

Have a great week,

Amina

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