Looking back on your career and life to
date, where do you wish you had been a little daring, trusted in yourself more
or have been less doubtful in the chances you took?
Anything come to mind? When I speak to
people who have spent years in their current jobs, many tell me that if they
could start their career all over again, they would have taken more risks, try
new things and spoken up more. In short, they wished they’d been more
courageous in the risks they’d taken. Perhaps you relate.
Often we know what it is we want to do, but
we still don’t do it. Why? Because we are naturally risk reluctant and
afraid of putting our vulnerability on the line. The status quo, while not
particularly satisfying, can seem like an easier, softer, less scary, option.
We find it much easier to settle with the status quo, keep our ideas to
ourselves and our heads down rather than make a change, take a chance, speak up
or engage in “courageous
When measuring up whether to take an action
that could leave us vulnerable we have an instinctive tendency to
underestimate three core elements in assessing risk.
1. We over-estimate the probability of
something going wrong
We tend to focus more on what might go wrong – what
we might lose or sacrifice – than what might go right. The reality
is that the risk of something not working out is often not near as high as we
estimate and the odds of it working out well, are often far better.
2. We underestimate our ability to
handle the cost of risk
This goes hand in hand with the above, but is more focused on our capability
over all. Too often we let our misgivings about whether we have what it takes
to succeed get the better of us. The result is that we often avoid taking on
new challenges and pursuing new opportunities. Because we don’t trust
adequately in our ability to rise to the challenges they involve.
3. We discount or deny the cost of
inaction and sticking with the status quo
We tell ourselves “It’s not that bad” and mislead ourselves with the hope that
our circumstances will somehow just get better over time and things will just
‘sort themselves out. We come up with excuses why the “status quo” is safe
and sensible. In reality, things that aren’t working out well for us now only
tend to get worse over time, not better, and issues remain unaddressed in our
careers and tend to grow larger, not smaller.
These three different elements working
together helps to explain why so many supposedly smart people find themselves
living in such a restricted circle of their potential. Feeling dissatisfied in
their careers and living lives they would never have chosen, much less have
So how do we overcome our instinct to play
it safe in our career and identify which risks are worth taking?
Start by asking yourself these three questions:
- What would I do if I were being more courageous?
- How will inaction cost me one year from now if I do nothing?
- Where is my fear of failure causing me to over-estimate the
size of risk, under-estimate myself and holding me back from taking a
career risk that would serve me?
Whatever answers comes into your mind, take
note! They are pointing you to a brighter future that you can only create
when you commit to taking bolder, more decisive and courageous actions.
“You are capable of more than you think.” Lao Tsu
How about you take a risk in your career
and start your new job search today! We have great Finance jobs, IT jobs, Engineering
jobs, Freight jobs and Supply Chain jobs. Contact one of our specialist
consultants today to discuss your career opportunities.
Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net by