What is risk and how do you define it? Is the word itself even in your vocabulary? What comes to mind and what emotional state does the word “risk” trigger inside you? How comfortable is that “place” for you and therefore how often do you go there?
We make decisions every minute of every day. We choose everything – from the simplest “coffee or tea” choice, to those more life changing and profound changes, the job or a life partner. Some of them are quick and automatic, made unconsciously. Some we contemplate analyse and consider for months or longer.
What is risk?
Risk seems to be that place, that gap between what’s known, the facts, evidence and reality AND our vision and expectations for a future.
The smaller the gap, the more confident we feel in our decisions and the more likely we are to feel excitement over fear. There seems to be a balance needed. It can be achieved as a result of seeking and identifying the “here and now” first. We want to know what facts are right in front of us, what evidence to analyse and what our circumstances are today. Only then can we look into the future. The vision must be reality based and then what we have now becomes a foundation and a building block of our future success.
What’s in between? The risk – the unknown, potential exposure, maybe even danger. When some of my clients describe “the risk”, the gap is expanded and what’s in it amplified by their imagination. It seems like a scary place that our internal voice of “safety” attempts to protect us from – “Don’t go there, you don`t have sufficient resources, you can`t trust yourself”. And often we don’t go, convinced that our foundation is not strong enough. Without even looking, without even testing if this is true.
Some of our predictions for the future are just our imagination. We picture ourselves failing and our project or plans gone astray. It’s a form of caution that is perhaps most fatal to our happiness, success, life satisfaction and a sense of fulfilment. As adults we need to strive to make better informed decisions. Otherwise like children we’re protecting ourselves from imaginary “monsters”.
Look and test what’s true. What happens when we do that? Most of the time, clients realise how much better the “here and now” is. A reality check is not only there to help identify all that’s available to us but also by doing it we gain confidence and become more courageous in our choices. The place of risk becomes smaller and less significant because we feel better equipped to face the unknown.
I am a big fan of reality! I witnessed the power of it during many coaching session. I saw amazed clients impressed by their own ability to shift focus from the scary and unknown to “I know a lot and I have a lot to make better informed decisions and shape my future”. It sounds very simple yet incredibly powerful.
The place of risk does not stand a chance of solid reality check. For one of my clients recently, more than anything else, it brought peace and a sense of calmness. She realised that checking reality is going to be her strategy going forward. She realised that just because the future is sometimes unpredictable, that is not synonymous with the future being scary. Risk may become an opportunity or a great challenge that we are prepared to face but preparation must come first. Courage will follow.
Image courtesy of khunaspix
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