Taking risks is scary. We don’t know what’s on the other side and if we should take the leap. I want to offer a few tips to help you strengthen your risk-taking muscles. You can face the unknown and dominate challenges going forward with fearlessness, at least to some extent.
Worst Case Analysis (WCA)
One of my favorite books is by MJ DeMarco and is called The Millionaire Fastlane. I’ve mentioned it a few times over some posts and podcast episodes. MJ recommends trying WCA, or Worst-Case Analysis. Ask yourself a few questions:
- What’s the worst that can happen?
- What’s the likelihood that it will happen?
- Is that an acceptable risk?
Another question to ask yourself that I’ll add to the above list is: what’s the BEST that can happen?
Too often, we look at all the potential downsides of making a decision. But we fail to see the possibilities and get excited at what could be if things go right. Many times, potential benefits far outweigh potential risks. An example is if you were to buy a popular item to resell. Let’s say that it’s going for $2,000 online in the similar condition. Yet you are scared to buy it for $500 from a going out of business sale.
The risk or fear is that you’ll lose $500 if nobody wants to buy the item. I would say that this is unlikely. Worst case scenario, you can probably break even if you’re really buying something valuable that is at a huge discount. Potential benefit is $1500 profit. Potential loss could arguably be $500 for some time, until you sell the item for profit or break even.
Weighted Average Decision Matrix (WADM)
This technique allows you to weigh factors that are important to you. Then you rate them. I did a similar exercise in a supply chain class in college.
You weigh things according to importance, as one thing might be more important to you than another. The example MJ uses in the book is an analysis to move cities. He really put a priority on living somewhere with sunshine as he tended to be seasonally depressed. This really helped his decision to move. He escaped the cold and snow which left him feeling a bit down and moved to a sunny place where he could thrive.
Like Nike says, “Just Do It”
Once you’ve weighed options and the action you want to take seems to be feasible with all risks considered, just do it. Don’t wait around and fall victim to analysis paralysis. Fortune favors the bold.
I was recently admiring a local grocery store, HEB for adding “Curbside” pickup. I can literally order groceries online, schedule a pick up time, and they load groceries into my trunk. Sure, you can get people to get groceries for you and deliver, but it tends to be a more expensive option. HEB Curbside is just $5, and they’ve given me multiple freebies to encourage users to try them out.
One of my brothers jokingly said “I thought of that idea years ago.” Joking or not, I immediately told him “it doesn’t matter at all, because you didn’t act on it or see a dollar of profit off of it.” People don’t care if you thought of Uber or Airbnb. You didn’t do anything, so who cares? Ideas are great. But execution is everything.
The only failure is the failure to learn
“I either learn or succeed, I never fail.” There’s a first time for everything. Professional sports players started off soiling diapers just like you and me. Huge thought leaders and motivational speakers like Tony Robbins or Gary V did, too. We all start off at the same place. The decisions we make and opportunities we create guide our end destinations.
If you try something new and fail, so what? What did you learn that you can avoid or improve next time? You’ll never learn if you never try. And chances are, you’re never going to be perfect the first time you try something.
Get out there, try new things, and take chances. Learn when you fail and celebrate when you succeed. Lastly, don’t let opportunities pass you by!
“Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.” – William Arthur Ward
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