Conversations at the Crossroads.

Risky Business

Risk is a common theme in the conversations I have with clients contemplating change, whether the proposed changes are professional or personal. It doesn’t always show up immediately, because many of us hold back on sharing our fears hoping that they’ll subside if we tuck them away. But when fear of failure or loss is present and firmly entrenched, it will eventually make itself known.

Sometimes it is explicitly expressed:

“I have always been risk-averse.”

“It feels like a risky move.”

“There’s a lot at stake.”

When it’s more subtly masked, risk-aversion may lead us to endlessly rationalize staying in situations we find less than ideal.

“Perhaps I should try harder to make this work.”

“Everyone tells me I have a dream job.”

“Maybe I won’t be happy anywhere.”

On whatever timeline and in whichever manner it shows up, there’s no question that risk-aversion is a significant block that must be confronted to move forward.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “risk” as “the possibility of loss or injury.” It is certainly no surprise that in considering what we have to gain by making change we would also evaluate what we believe we might lose. The key is making sure that aversion to risk doesn’t cause us to shut down the whole change operation prematurely, without giving new possibilities a fair shot or at least seeking to better understand what we’re feeling. We can learn a great deal about ourselves when we explore what we’re afraid of and why. And with new insights and information, we inevitably find ourselves better equipped to make meaningful decisions.

In this new periodic series I’m calling “Risky Business,” I will share some approaches on facing risk-aversion that have proven useful for my clients. Look for these in your inbox in the weeks and months to come. In the meantime, maybe this post will inspire you to consider your own perspectives on risk-taking, and the times and situations in your life when you feel most resistant or unable to change. I’ll be eager to hear about your reactions and real-life application of these approaches.

With support and encouragement for your journey,

Founder, The Crossroads Coach

Published February 19, 2013