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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

How to Take Calculated Risk to Achieve Success

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Mandie Holgate

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

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

8 Time-Tested Confidence Buildinng Habits You Can Start Now

8 Time-Tested Confidence Buildinng Habits You Can Start Now

Confidence is one of the greatest things you can learn and practice. But it can be confusing, overwhelming and hard. It is a skill and it does take practice but by making some things into habits, you can help your confidence blossom. 

Confidence is “a belief in one’s own self and one’s ability to succeed.” It is made by a simple process:

First, you have to want to achieve a goal or improve, then you are afraid of the change. But you do it anyway, fail and do it over again over until one day, you aren’t afraid of it anymore. You are confident in your ability to succeed at a task.

Just like learning to ride a bike or any skill really, you took a deep breathe and you tried, you fell off your bike and cried, but eventually, you got back on.

Until one day, you cycle without even thinking that you are going to fall off. It is same for any area of your life, if you want to be more self confident, do more things that scare you and incorporate these 8 essential habits into your daily life.

1. Reminding Yourself of Your Victories

Stop reminding yourself of your failures that you habitually do it — putting yourself down, criticizing yourself and over-exaggerating your failures. It is time to draw a line in the sand and start letting that old mindset go, it is undermining your confidence.

It’s scary and new and you may feel afraid, but it is the best choice you will make. Instead of reminding yourself of your failures and how you aren’t good enough, remind yourself of your wins, all you have overcome. Remind yourself of all the good you have done and all the good you can do.

Focus solely on the positive and what you can do and when the hating thoughts come up, just let them pass by or argue with them.

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If it says “you aren’t good enough.” You say “actually I am.”

“You aren’t perfect.” You say “No I am not perfect but that is more than good enough, I am enough just as I am, I don’t have to be perfect.”

Your confidence depends on it so get into the habit of reminding yourself that actually, you are pretty great and have a lot of reasons to be confident.

2. Ask Yourself: What Did You Learn?

Moving forward with changing your inner narrative, you have to start to ask the question: What did I learn?

With practicing confidence, you come across a lot of failure. Instead of beating yourself up and going “why me?” Ask yourself:

“What did I learn? How did that not work? What can I do better?”

Nothing undermines your confidence more than you beating yourself up all the time. Instead of focusing on how you have failed and not achieved the result you wanted, make it a habit to ask yourself questions so the next time around, you can try again from a new angle. Ask yourself how you fell off the bike so next time, you can avoid potholes.

By getting in the habit of questioning your failures instead of bullying yourself, your confidence will become unbreakable because failure won’t shatter your confidence. Just keep learning and keep moving forward.

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3. Don’t Judge Others

This is such a key habit when it comes to building confidence. When we judge others, especially negatively, we create a negative cycle in our head that encourages insecurity. When you judge someone negatively, it makes you think that someone else is negatively judging you. Breeding this type of insecurity will only ever undermine your self esteem and confidence.

People are wonderful but they aren’t perfect. It isn’t their job to perfectly adhere to the way you want the world to be. So to put it simply, don’t judge and let people be as they are. Don’t get caught in that negative mental cycle.

On the flip side of this, you have to understand that people are going to judge you and that their opinion of you, is none of your business. You can’t control how other people choose to see you, you can only control how you judge others. Don’t play a game you can’t win by trying to control other people’s thoughts. It’s like trying to play chess underwater at night. If you tried really hard, it could possibly be done but what is the point.

4. Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone

If you want to get into a habit that will help you become more confident, this is it. Everything you want is on the other side of your comfort zone; this applies to confidence.

You gain confidence by challenging yourself and overcoming obstacles. Don’t shy away from challenges and things that make you uncomfortable. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Get into the habit of saying “Oh this makes me uncomfortable, better tackle it head on then” and get in the habit of saying Yes and No: Saying Yes to things you would like to do even if it scares you and No to things you would not like to do.

By saying Yes to things you enjoy and challenge you, you grow in confidence as you overcome them. By saying No to things you don’t want to do, things that bring your down or make you feel low, confidence can also bloom. By standing up for yourself, you assert yourself and your self confidence can blossom.

5. Have the “I Can Handle It” Mindset

This is a beautiful habit to get into in general and it will help your confidence bloom and your anxiety go down.

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Get into the habit of having a I Can Handle It Mindset. You have overcome so many things in your life but we still have the overwhelming fear that we can’t handle bad things coming your way.

But you can, you can handle it because you have handled it time and time again. Stop telling yourself that you can’t and start telling yourself that you can. Whatever comes your way, whatever adversity. You Can Handle It. With this habit, confidence can blossom and grow because you are unstoppable.

6. Find Validation From Within

If you rely on other people for constant validation and praise to give you a confidence boost, you will struggle. As soon as they don’t validate you, you will feel less confident than before. This is whyThe Desire to Be Liked Will End You up Feeling More Rejected.

Get in the habit of validating yourself, whatever you want to hear from someone else, say it to yourself. When you accomplish something, pat yourself on the back, don’t go looking for outward validation. This simple change of supporting yourself and search within for the support you need will help your confidence bloom!

There is one very simple logic to this, your happiness and your confidence are your responsibility. Why would you put your life in the hands of someone else? It isn’t their job to make you happy or validated, it is yours. You also can’t control them at all, which means your confidence and self worth are completely out of your control.

Change that. Find support and validation from within – Don’t Wait for People to Praise You. Do It Yourself Every Single Day.

7. Get Fit

Fitness is the perfect habit to get into if you want to grow confidence because everytime you go, you get better. You grow, you learn new things, you fail and then you amaze yourself with what your body can do, over and over again.

Nothing has helped my confidence bloom as much as taking up a sport. There are so many options for you. Running is the perfect example, the first one is awkward, hard and exhausting. But the next run is a little easier, a week later, you start looking forward to it and then finally, you are running 5K without stopping.

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If you want to get into a habit that reminds you that you are capable, find a sport that interests you and start.

8. Practice Gratitude

Now this isn’t groundbreaking I know, but gratitude is such an important habit to get into if you want to be more confident.

When you practice gratitude, you put yourself in a much better headspace which will in turn, help you feel more confident. Most importantly, when your confidence gets knocked by something or someone, you can always come back to gratitude and be happy for all that you have. It helps keep you aligned and focused on all the good and positive in your life, stopped all the negativity from creeping in and keeping you down.

If you practice gratitude once a day, your life will change because it reminds you of the reality that you are good enough as you are — that is never up for debate.

Try these 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

Final Thoughts

These habits might be small but they can create an intense boost to your confidence and your rebound when you have had your confidence knocked. You are exceptional and you should be confident in your ability to do things and in who you are.

If you are still struggling with that, spend some time working out what you’re afraid of and go and do it right now, overcome it and remember that you are unstoppable.

More Confidence Boosting Tips

Featured photo credit: Olivier Rule via unsplash.com

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