Few people succeed without taking risks, no matter how scary these risks may seem. We fear we’ll sound incompetent, be shut down, or even crash and burn. Despite the potential failure involved in any risk, more often than not, risk-taking translates into satisfaction and success. Here are six reliable ways to overcome a fear of risk-taking.
1. Start with small risks
Chat with a stranger at a networking event. Speak up at a meeting. Pitch an original idea. Each small step should decrease your fear, increase your confidence, and stretch your comfort level with risk-taking.
Before, say, asking for a raise, picture your conversation with your boss—from beginning to end. Imagine his or her objections and how you would counter them. By the time you have the conversation, it should go significantly better than if you hadn’t thought the entire scenario through.
Imagine each step of a project: What complications might arise and what steps might you take to counter them? Develop a vision for what your successful project will look like and use that to gain the energy and excitement to carry on.
4. Learn from mistakes
Successful people know that a) mistakes and failure happen to everyone; b) mistakes are how we learn, and c) that learning leads to success. So let your mistakes guide you to make better and better decisions.
5. Keep trying
What if you do your absolute best, yet still fail? Welcome to the club. Pick yourself up and try again … and again. If you take risks you believe in, eventually, you’ll succeed. And doing nothing can be as great a risk as doing something.
6. Don’t listen to nay-sayers
“No one else has been able to do it.” “It’s impossible.” “You’ll never succeed.” everyone can offer a laundry list of reasons why you’ll fail. Don’t let them stop you from pursuing and achieving your goals. Surround yourself with “yeah-sayers.”
Remember: The greater the risk, the greater the potential for success. And the more comfortable you become at risk-taking, the more opportunities are likely to come your way.