Get acquainted with risk

Snakes are never going to be my best buddies. Ever since childhood I have had a deep-seated fear & loathing of the things. But whilst avoidance might keep me feeling safe, my lack of desire to do anything further serves to maintain an unimpressive level of ignorance about the subject.

Like snakes, hitch hiking should be handled with a degree of care. However, the true reality of roadside risks and perils are a fair distance from media headlines. Unfortunately, the tabloids would have us believe that mortal danger is around every bend in the road – and then readers respond accordingly.

As a result of media messages (combined with government legislation) people are seemingly becoming more risk averse – or more significantly, avoid risk altogether. And mass avoidance of risk is a real economic time-bomb; if people at a younger age avoid (rather than manage risk effectively through complementary activities) just how well prepared are they to start a business and deal with all the subsequent issues?

Manage risk

Learning how to manage risk well necessarily means being exposed to new situations and dealing with difficult and even dangerous issues – regularly! Good outdoor education for example is an excellent environment to learn and discover new talents, confront weaknesses and ultimately build self-confidence so that barriers in our minds are broken down and more can be achieved elsewhere.

Author Pema Chodron wrote in her famous book ‘When things fall apart’ that rather than running away from situations we don’t like, we should ‘stay a while’ and get used to our new surroundings. By immersing ourselves in difficult situations we begin to adapt and ultimately are far better prepared to deal with unsettling issues, writes Chodron.

Research shows that successful entrepreneurs have the ability to stick at what they are doing – through thick and thin. This necessarily means they are better prepared and able to handle the difficult times and manage the associated risks.

So if you like the idea of starting a business but don’t like the risks involved, start practicing with some small risks and build your confidence from there. Meanwhile, I’m off to the local zoo to volunteer to help in the reptile house…

Key Learning PointsOur ability to manage risk almost defines what we are capable of achieving. Extending ourselves equips us with new skills and develops mental strength; two key attributes of people who create and grow businesses.