The definition of risk according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is the “possibility of loss or injury.” When I looked it up, that wasn’t what I was expecting. It’s such a simple definition and yet, we have a variety of uses for it. When I think of injury, I assume bodily harm and when I think of loss, I think of tangible things like loosing money. But the words loss and injury are not defined here, so they can have many meanings. It can mean injury to your pride or to your confidence, it can mean loss of relationships or time.
Risk also has a range of danger to it. For example, you might be a picky eater, but you are traveling to a different culture and it would be a waste to eat American fast food, so you take a risk and try a new food, like escargot. The risk is relatively low, you may not like it and spit it all over your dining partner and risk injury to your pride or you might get food poisoning and loose the contents of your stomach. The risk of great harm or loss to your person is low, compared to something like skydiving.
Larry takes risks for food!
We all take risks and there are payoffs to taking those risks. What if you tried the escargot and LOVED it. You learned something new, enjoyed a different culture, and added another joy to life.
I took a risk in starting this blog. It’s a fairly low risk: I’ve invested minimal amounts of money, a bit of time, and confidence. I won’t be bankrupt if this all fails, but if it does, it would be a hit to my ego because I’ve put my knowledge, family, and myself out there for the public to read about. That’s the funny thing about risk, if that risk doesn’t pay off, the injury or loss, no matter how big or small, still hurts. That pain of losing money or pain of being embarrassed, just hurts.
Today I’ll be taking another risk; attending the BlogPaws Conference in Kansas City, MO. You might think, “that’s not a big deal Joelle, it’s actually really exciting!” And you would be right on both accounts. It is really exciting, I’ll be making connections with fellow bloggers, learning so much, networking with brands, taking home a bag of swag, and experiencing something new. However, my inner introvert is wringing it’s hands in anxiousness. It is hard for me to strike up conversations with new people and be open right away. But, it really isn’t a big deal, I’m going to be surrounded by other pet lovers who have all been where I have. What’s the risk? What’s the worst that could happen? Well the worst case scenario is that I’m awkward, no one likes me, and I loose my self-confidence and self-worth in there somewhere. That’s not so bad and worth the risk!
Apply Risk Taking
Lou Holtz said “In this world you’re either growing or you’re dying so get in motion and grow.” Too often we get stuck in our comfort zones and it’s nice and cozy in there, but we’re also just hanging out in status quo. That’s all fine and dandy, but we’re here for a limited of time, why waste it when there is so much this world has to offer? So learn, try news things, say yes, be open, and who knows where it’ll take you!
When we first got Mo we saw that he was barking at dogs and so we were concerned how he would do with them. We introduced him to a known dog and they did so well together! Turns out, Mo is actually quite playful, but we wouldn’t have known that if we didn’t take a risk. Granted, it was a calculated, had an exit plan kind of risk, but it helped me understand my dog better and he had a blast!
I applied for a receptionist position at a veterinary clinic, but when I interviewed, they said, “Hey, would you like to help us out in the back with surgeries and things?” My first reaction was: “ABSOLUTELY NOT!” I said yes though, and it pushed me way out of my comfort zone. It was a risk, I could have fainted while assisting a surgery or made a mistake while calculating anesthesia. And I did make mistakes, but I had a team around me and the takeaway was invaluable.
So, what do you want to do? Are you dreaming of starting your own business? Do you want to go back to school? Do you want to travel to India to volunteer with a rescue shelter (YES!)? Ask yourself some questions then.
Questions to ask Yourself
What is the worst that could happen?
Can you learn something from the experience, if you do have a loss or injury?
What happens if you don’t take the risk?
How will this affect the others around me?
Am I prepared for failure?
Am I prepared for success?
What do I want out of life?
What is the pay off?