Advertising

Last Updated on December 4, 2020

How to Take Calculated Risk to Achieve Success

Advertising
How to Take Calculated Risk to Achieve Success

Risk is something we all have to face in our lives, but appreciating its value and impact is not always easy.

I asked my social media friends whether they felt that risk is a good thing and 100% said yes. But I know from my clients that this doesn’t equate to 100%. Not all people take every risky action they could to achieve more and live a life that fulfills them.

For example, one client needed a coaching session to get them to take the jump into self-employment. They knew in their head that with over 20 years at the pinnacle of their career, they could do it. But they needed their coach to be the one that took the training wheels off and said “let’s do this!”.

We don’t all take the risks we should in life.

What makes a risk feel too big? What external impactors change our perception of risk and what’s the difference between good risk and bad? When should we be risk-averse? And how can we work out the difference and step up to take the risks that could change our lives (for the better)?

In this article, we will look at what calculated risk is and how you can learn to utilize it to be successful.

What Is Calculated Risk?

Let me ask you:

Would you cross a 3 lane road of fast-moving traffic? The answer is likely to be “no” right?

What if I asked, would you cross 3 lanes of traffic at night? Still a “no”?

What about if I said, would you cross 3 lanes of traffic that had a pedestrian crossing?

See how the risk changes?

A calculated risk means that it is the same road with the same cars, but we’ve gone from a risk that we are unprepared to take to one that has an element of controlled and expected outcomes.

Would you quit your job right now and set up a business on the street corner in an hour’s time? No, of course not.

However, would you quit with a plan of action in a set period of time? Possibly.

The thing about calculated risk is that humans have to deal with their perceptions of reality, their emotions, feelings, and even beliefs to be able to take on risk.

Advertising

That is why you may see 100% of people saying to take the risk. But if questioned further, there is probably at least one occasion for each person where they should have taken a risk but they didn’t.

I’ve seen people turn down contracts, delay traveling, delay saying “yes” to marriage, delay quitting their job, and even delay having their hair chopped off because they’ve not been able to calculate the risk with an outcome that they deem will be satisfactory.

Are All Risks Calculated?

In a speaking engagement, I once re-enacted the moment when the hero of the film is hanging on for dear life on the side of a mountain.

They can’t go down, and there’s no way out. The baddies are shooting at them from every angle and you may think “there is no way out of this!”. Then, miraculously, they let go, tumbling through the air, landing in a helicopter that flies into view being flown by the gorgeous and incredibly clever sidekick.

Risk is a bit like that.

The first time James Bond, Jack Reacher, or Lara Croft let go and went in a new direction, they were probably experiencing massive levels of fear. However, by overriding that fear, they were able to create a new definition of what is possible. It’s not called “mission: impossible” for nothing.

But how can we know when it’s a good idea to jump and when it’s going to lead to impending doom?

Interestingly, children seem to be risk blind for a while. It is adults that stand behind them shouting “don’t do that, you will fall and break your neck!” Do children stop doing stupid things? A and E departments would argue no.

But if we didn’t take on risks, we’d never learn to walk. The first time you pulled yourself up with your legs and stood there jumping up and down with a grin that says “Look what I can do” was sheer joy, not so much fun the next time you tried it and nearly removed your nose.

Most parents will have a story of how their child made their hearts leap with absolute terror as they did something stupid, but risk needs us to test its limits or we will all be stuck in baby gyms unable to reach the cool toys.

The reason some people achieve great things is that they are prepared to test their risk limitations.

How to Grow Your Risk Tolerance to Achieve More

Here, I aim to break down what you need to keep your eyes peeled, how to fix what you find, and what you need to do so that you can calculate risks and achieve more.

1. The RRIS Method

R – Research Everything You Aim to Achieve

But you should also know when to stop researching and get on with it. The amount of clients I’ve worked with who are so ready they could be the most intellectual person on the planet on their area of expertise is too high.

It’s easy to get in the trap of “doing just a bit more research” to get you out of taking action. So, do your research and use the other tips to help you to take action on your knowledge.

R – Rationalize Your Reality

I often hear clients say things that once said back to them, they quickly (and often embarrassingly) see that it’s just not true. They’ve twisted reality to enable them to stay safe.

Advertising

Question what you believe to be true and the results you perceive to be impossible to avoid. Do you have evidence to prove your reality or are your thoughts just enabling your comfort zone to stay the same size?

Comfort zones are like big thick duvets – glorious in the middle of winter with the rain battering the windows and you are curled up safe and warm, but hideous in summer when the same duvet can wrap itself around you, becoming a sweat trap for your legs.

If you know that a comfort zone is twisting your reality, you can be either of the two versions of my clients:

  • The one that likes to get so far out of their comfort zone that they can’t see it anymore. They do big actions putting into action the right support to achieve them. Learn and move on.
  • The one who would literally feel stuck in fear if you offered them option 1. Therefore, they like to do things in small tiny morsel sized bites. If this is you, arrange to challenge your beliefs around anything in your life (not just related to the calculated risk to achieve more).

If you like structure, start the day in a way you wouldn’t. Get dressed before you brush your teeth, listen to a different radio station, and choose a different route to work.

Silly things that make you think about what you are doing can help you see that different is not bad. Different can be exciting, new, rewarding, and so much else. And tiny steps can be right for some.

I – Ideas Can Reduce or Inflame Our Capability for Calculated Risk

Before you do anything, somewhere in your head it was a thought. When you appreciate this, you can see that before you take on any risk, you have to have the ideas behind it to come out successful.

Ideas like this will be exciting, life-changing, and will work and make my career.

What phrases would you create to describe the result of your idea? If you notice they are negative, where’s your evidence?

Clients often tell me that I make them take risks. As a coach, that’s impossible. My job is to enable them to see what they really want and overcome the beliefs and obstacles towards it.

Once we are faced with our facts on our skills, past successes, and capabilities, we can’t help but ask “what is stopping you?”

By doing this, you are creating a solid foundation to get great results because your ideas are positive and not made up of illogical untruths like “it won’t work”, “what if I fail”, “it’s not done like that”, or “I will end up looking stupid”.

S – Success Over Scares

It is a calculated risk and therefore, something that is worth investing in and going for when our level of fear is reduced and our belief about success is raised. Where do you stand on this scale?

Scared! vs Success!

Now add in the following words to the above scale. Where would they sit?

  • Staying safe
  • Stuck
  • Low self-esteem
  • Stopping myself

Can you see how there is a big gap between scared and success? And between the two there will always be elements of feeling safe or stuck and worrying about whether you can do it or not.

Advertising

The important thing to remember is that you will never completely bridge the gap between being scared and being successful. A little fear is good for you.

I’ve never had a speaking engagement where I don’t feel a little nervous. Nine years ago, that wasn’t nervousness – that was absolute terror. And I once read, “it’s not stage fright, it’s performance energy.”

What description would you like to use do describe your calculated risk? If you were to say it out loud, would it be a positive sentence or one that reduces you to fear?

Your words and finding your place on the scared to success scale could define your likelihood of success.

2. The Know-It Kit

Taking the risk is scary, from the client that wanted to confront their boss for 10 years and make a suggestion that they knew flew in the opposite opinion of their boss, to the singer who is too scared to stand in front of an audience. The important thing is to remember that you are in control of the risks you take and the know-it kit can help.

Know the Times You’ve Been Successful

Many clients will tell me that their fear is overriding their beliefs about what can be achieved. At times like that, it’s no good to think of something different and expect it to magically make it seem easy.

Get the facts on your side. As much as your heart will fill your head with negativity, hanging on to the facts of what you’ve already done in life is something you can’t argue with.

Know the Skills You Have

As I’ve said above, when we take on risk, we need to know that we’ve got what we need to get the results we want.

Know That Mistakes Are Good

No exceptional rise to success didn’t have setbacks. No great inventions didn’t have failures (with many of those becoming inventions in their own right).

Knowing that mistakes are an opportunity to learn can ensure that you take action even when the fear is raising its ugly head.

International Vocal Coach Gemma Milburne shared,

“I think many of the greatest singers are the most willing to take risks. You have to risk going out of tune, making mistakes, sounding awful, in order to get REALLY good at singing. As a vocal coach, a lot of what I’m doing is helping singers to face that ‘mental’ risk that’s in a person’s head.”

Know the People You Can Trust

When everything is in place, you’ve got the evidence, you’ve done your research, you are accountable, focused and ready for action, sometimes just a chat with the right person can be all you need.

Who is in your Know-It Kit? You can trust them to say what you need them to say. And not just “you will be great dear, go for it.” Be with the right people who will challenge, empower, and ensure you’re ready in every capacity to make it happen.

Before a petrified public speaker has taken to the stage or before a client has walked into a room to go for their big dream, I’m often the one they text as they walk in for that last-minute reminder that they’ve got this.

Advertising

Know the Way You Have to Feel

Lastly, don’t forget that even with the right words from the right people, it is still down to you.

Sometimes, cultural beliefs and feelings can slip into our mindset. Other people in the same industry can tell us “it’s never been done like that,” and it can knock our focus and derail our thoughts.

How do you need to feel to get the results you want? If I told a person from 200 years ago that they could fly anywhere on this planet on the same day, I’d likely have been locked up.

Our beliefs change with time and experience. Do you want to be the person that creates the thoughts and beliefs of the future? Or wait for someone else to take the risk (and the glory!) and leave you wishing “I wish I’d taken that risk”?

Final Thoughts

Looking back to myself years ago, Mrs. Nervous Wreck lacking in confidence. . .

She looked up at the chandelier that was taller than her house and tried to focus her thoughts. No amount of “thinking positively” was working and she just wanted her spleen to burst so she could end up in hospital safely away from this extravagant room and all these people.

How could she ever thought it would be clever to speak to a room full of her peers?

Less than 5 months prior to this moment, she’d stood in front of just 25 business owners and faffed and fumbled through her words, feeling like a complete fake, wishing to never see any of these people ever again.

Heck, even a career in a local fast food place would be better! She’d made a memorable impression but for all the wrong reasons, and one of the audience had taken great delight in reminding her of her epic fail, so what had driven her to do it again?

That was me, but for some reason, I’d decided to take the risk and speak on another stage in front of more people.

In many ways, I was hardly recognizable from 9 years ago to today when I’m described as “one of the best speakers I’ve ever heard” and “changed my life in one hour.”

Clearly, my ability and attitude to speaking to an audience changed. But what else?

It was how I faced my fear and how I grew my risk tolerance to achieve more.

By taking my advice on how to take calculated risks, you will gradually find yourself becoming braver and embracing more opportunities. You’ve got this!

More Tips about Fighting Fears

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

Advertising

More by this author

Mandie Holgate

International Coach, Best Selling Author & Speaker inspiring people around the world to success.

50 Words of Encouragement for Moving Forward 7 Types Of Emotional Baggage And How To Deal With Them How to Control the Uncontrollable In Life 6 Types of Fear of Success (And How to Overcome Them) Self Awareness Is Underrated: Why the Conscious Mind Leads to Happiness

Trending in Success Mindset

1 How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome 2 What is Tenacity and How to Use It To Be Successful 3 7 Ways to Eliminate Your Excuses 4 How To Organize Your Day For Success 5 How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Published on October 14, 2021

How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome

Advertising
How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome

Do you ever worry about being exposed as a “fraud?” You’re not alone. It’s actually quite common for people to feel like imposters. In fact, approximately 70 percent of people admit to having experienced impostor syndrome[1] at some point in their lives — a Twitter poll found that 87 percent of people have experienced this.[2] Even successful and famous people like Tom Hanks, Howard Schultz, and Natalie Portman suffer from imposter syndrome.

But, what exactly is imposter syndrome. And, more importantly, how can you silence it?

Originally coined in 1978 by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance, Ph.D., ABPP, and Suzanne Imes, Ph.D., the term “impostor syndrome” describes symptoms that include being unable to internalize accomplishments and being afraid of being exposed as a fraud.

The individual may also be plagued by chronic self-doubt and believe that they’re unqualified for success despite evidence to the contrary. Inadequacies, fears of failure, and disbelief that success is a matter of luck or timing are also common.

If you don’t address this phenomenon, feeling like an impostor can prevent you from achieving ambitious goals. Moreover, those experiencing these feelings tend to over-prepare or procrastinate — which obviously hinders productivity and reaching goals. And, as if that weren’t bad enough, imposter syndrome prevents you from pursuing new challenges and opportunities.

Do you feel like you’re suffering from impostor syndrome? If so, don’t beat yourself up. After all, there are effective ways to overcome these feelings in a healthy and proactive way.

1. Don’t Hide It.

“Firstly, acknowledge it,” advises Claudine Robson,[3] the Intentional Coach. “You give strength to imposter syndrome by letting it continue to peck away at your confidence unchecked.” It can only be banished if you acknowledge it as soon as possible and break the silence.

Advertising

“Then you need to separate your feelings from facts,” Robson adds. “One thing imposter syndrome does very effectively is to mix up your perceptions of reality.”

If you can, take a step back and look at the situation objectively. “Recognize when you should — and when you should not — feel fraudulent,” she says. Appreciate and acknowledge the task, intellect, and insight that have led to your success.

You might even be able to take action by recognizing that the reason you feel fraudulent is that you’re new to a task. “That gives you a path forward; learning is growth, don’t deny yourself that.”

2. Implement the STOP Technique

In her book Cognitive Enlightenment, Melinda Fouts, Ph.D., outlines a technique to overcome imposter syndrome using what she calls the STOP technique.

“STOP is an acronym for ‘silence the oppressive player,” Fouts explains in Forbes.[4] “You need to eradicate this tape that is playing 24/7, whether you are conscious of it or not. It plays loudest when we are tired, hungry, or feeling defeated.”

Steps to implementing the STOP technique and rewiring your brain are as follows:

To replace the tape of not good enough, you need a “launch sentence.” “I’m more than good enough” would is an example of a solid launch statement.

Advertising

Put your launch sentence in prominent locations, such as your car’s dashboard or computer. How come? The reason is that as the tape plays, you won’t be able to remember your launch statement.

Continue to say “stop” until you recall your launch sentence, says Fouts.

Put your launch sentence into your own words and pontificate.

While going about your daily tasks, like while driving or exercising, practice your launch sentence so you can recall it when you need it in the future.

“I am told this sounds simple and it does,” she adds. However, this technique is challenging when your negative tape is playing. You will not want to replace the tape every day while your brain is rewiring itself. “It is these moments you can’t give up.”

3. Distinguish Humility and Fear

When it comes to hard work and accomplishments, there’s humility, and then there’s fear. In other words, having a high level of competence can lead one to discount its value occasionally. However, as Carl Richards wrote in an article for the New York Times,[5] “After spending a lot of time fine-tuning our ability, isn’t it sort of the point for our skill to look and feel natural?”

The problem is that we feel unworthy from time to time. But, as Seth Godin explained in a blog post,[6] “When you feel unworthy, any kind response, positive feedback or reward feels like a trick, a scam, the luck of the draw.”

Advertising

Feeling worthy without feeling entitled is possible. And, finding the right balance between them is critical for overcoming impostor syndrome. “Humility and worthiness have nothing at all to do with defending our territory,” Godin continues. “We don’t have to feel like a fraud to also be gracious, open, or humble.”

4. Keep a “Brag Sheet”

When you were sending out college applications, did you build yourself a “brag sheet?” If not, here’s a clean description from Shawna Newman,[7] “A brag sheet is very similar to a student resume – it highlights your accomplishments, key experiences, leadership skills, and employment throughout your secondary education.” In short, “it’s a quick reference guide with all the details and achievements for someone trying to get to know you better.”

While it may be awkward at first, you can apply the same concept when coping with imposter syndrome. Just compose a list of your accomplishments, activities, skills. That’s it. Just remember Godin’s advice and also be humble and gracious.

As an added perk, besides being an effective way to talk myself up, I’ve also found that this has helped me stop comparing myself to others. Instead of harping about other people’s milestones, I’m honing in on what I’ve done.

5. Celebrate Wins, Period

Speaking of accomplishments, they shouldn’t be categorized as small or big. After all, you feel as if you don’t belong when you have imposter syndrome. So, the more you celebrate your wins, the more confident you’ll become.

Furthermore, accept compliments without qualifying them and practice listening to praise every day. Finally, become kinder to yourself by saying at least one kind thing to yourself daily. And, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.

6. Assemble a Legion of Superheroes

“You know how corporations have a board of directors to — in theory — make them stronger, maintain checks and balances, leverage resources, and help advance the organization’s vision?” asks inspirational speaker, speaking coach, and creative consultant Tania Katan.[8] “Why not assemble your own board of directors to leverage resources to help make your career stronger, keep you in check and balanced, and advance your vision?”

Advertising

“My friend Alison Wade, president of conferences, training, and consulting at Techwell, calls her personal board of directors her “front-row” — those are the people she invites to sit spitting distance from the stage, cheer her on, challenge her, and review her performance,” Katan writes.

As for Katan, she calls hers a “legion of superheroes.” The reason? “I dig the idea of joining forces to do good in the corporate galaxy.”

It’s important to have a diverse group of individuals who will defend you. Ideally, they should be varied in all dimensions, such as cultural background, way of thinking, and skills.

Katan recommends that you meet together frequently, whether if that’s once a week or every quarter. “Share your experiences, fears, creative ideas, aspirations,” she adds. “Celebrate each other’s accomplishments.” You also need to both support and challenge each other. “Discover what you are capable of doing when you combine your powers.”

7. Visualize Success

Follow the example of a professional athlete by imagining yourself crushing that presentation or project. You’ll enjoy the relief from performance-related stress. And, more importantly, it can help you avoid focusing on the worst-case scenario.

Final Words of Advice

While there’s no single formula to cure imposter syndrome, the tips listed above are a start. After all, your success depends on your ability to fight the negative effects of it. For example, feeling unworthy over time can lead to crippling anxiety and depression if left untreated.

If you’ve tried the above, then make sure that you speak to someone about what you’re experiencing, whether it’s a mentor, peer group, or licensed professional. And, above all else, there’s a place at the table for everyone — no matter what your inner voice is telling you.

Advertising

How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Featured photo credit: Laurenz Kleinheider via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next