Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Taking risks isn’t about blindly throwing yourself into anything; it’s about doing the leg work beforehand to know what you want, and what you need to do to get it, in order to fully embrace the opportunity when it comes your way.
Building this confidence from scratch is a difficult endeavor. After all, it is risk-taking behavior, a “try and fail, and try again” mentality, that has been shown to build confidence—which can lead to a frustrating “chicken and egg” problem.
The primary obstacles to risk-taking are the existing patterns that shape our work lives. Everbody had reached a wall—I felt tired of going through the cycle of being bold and assertive at home, getting negative feedback, changing my behavior to be more quiet and go-with-the-flow, and then getting negative feedback again.”
The only obstacles to risk-taking are the existing patterns that shape our work lives. Everybody feet stuck in this loop of low self-esteem in one’s life. Even though we consider ourself to be a high-functioning hire, really ambitious, very creative, and also equally rational and logical, friendly and a decent communicator and listener, we start to think, well, maybe it’s not just us?
Below, we’ll explore the steps needed to best overcome your fear of taking the risks needed to advance your career.
1. Clearly Define Your Values & Goals
A crucial first step in the confidence building process is to make a personal road map. This process typically begins with a great deal of introspection. The age-old exercise of asking “Where do you see yourself in five years?” may sound trite, but it’s a good starting point for assessing where you are and where you want to be. What do you want to accomplish this year? This month? By breaking overarching dreams into manageable, actionable tasks, you create a tangible road map.
By breaking overarching dreams into manageable, actionable tasks, you create a tangible road map.
Perhaps you need to further develop your skill set, or maybe you have outgrown your current position. These factors lay the foundation for your daily goals
2. Discover Your Risk-Taking Muscles
Once you have your road map, it’s time to push forward one step at a time. And yes, that means taking risks. Much like a consistent exercise regime, risk-taking is rooted in consistent practice and reduction of the potential obstacles that arise when motivation wanes.
Sometimes, the small experiments appear before you; when that happens, it’s important to reframe these situations as chances to succeed rather than recipes for failure. We should start to consider each risk or opportunity as a way for us to expand our skill set and consider how the risk will allow us to reach our long-term goals.
What is the worst possible outcome of taking the chance: temporary rejection? Mild embarrassment? A chunk of time wasted? If the opportunity intrigues you, don’t count yourself out of the game before you get involved.
It’s important to reframe opportunities as chances to succeed rather than recipes for failure.
On other occasions, you must create these opportunities. Maybe it’s a shot in the dark, like an email to a woman that inspires you, or sending an application to a dream job for which you feel under qualified. The experimentation process is meant to be uncomfortable, because it forces you to acknowledge your fears and push ahead anyway. If you analyze an opportunity and your hang-ups include “I’m afraid,” or “I don’t know,” that’s okay. It means it’s a great time to do it and find out. Because a risk can be as small as an email, you can chip away at your goals and make progress every day. If you’re a fan of data, track this progress. Maybe your tool of choice is an app, like Wonderful Day or Commit. Whatever your tracking mechanism of choice, create a clear visual of the work you put in over time. When motivation flags or something disrupts your momentum, a quick look at all your efforts can help get you back on track.
3. Get Support Through Mentorship
Connecting with mentor can dismantle unproductive patterns. On a broader scale, a greater presence of mentor, can also lead to greater acceptance and improved perceptions in the field.
Finding a mentor carves out a safe space to ask questions, explore new ideas, and receive encouragement to step outside of comfort zones. The very presence of mentor in positions of power can serve as a subconscious confidence boost, and result in more risky goal-setting.
Navigating the experimentation process can be lonely, but you don’t have to do it alone.