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5 Steps to Accepting Risk

September, 2015

AS LEADERS, it’s the risks we don’t take that we regret the most, says professional coach Mary Kuentz. She suggests you can begin to get more comfortable with risk by changing how you think about it.

1. Question your relationship with comfort

There’s a reason they call it the “Comfort Zone”; it’s comfortable! Yet growth and innovation occur when you venture beyond your comfort zone and take risks. Ask yourself: How willing am I to be uncomfortable for the sake of growth? What can I do to increase my tolerance for risk and, possibly, failure?

2. Reframe your thinking

Some leaders avoid risks because they fear it will be too hard and they will fail. But most times, the risk isn’t that hard; it’s simply new – a behavior or action you haven’t tried yet. Think of risk as “new” rather than “difficult” or “scary,” and notice how that attitude informs you.

3. Trust your gut, doubt your doubt

Many leaders intuitively know which risks to take, but give too much attention to their doubts. Instead, get curious about the possibilities. “How will my organization and those around me benefit from my courage? What kind of leader will I become? What can be achieved?”

4. Get out of your head and into action

Do you believe that, once you feel confident, you’ll take risks? Practice the reverse instead. Confidence is built through action, not waiting. While it’s important to be sensitive to timing and calculate your risks, you’re more likely to cultivate genuine confidence by taking steps forward, large or small, rather than waiting to feel it first.

5. Ask for Help

Look at successful risk takers around you. Which of their qualities would enhance your risk-taking style? Seek mentors who will support you and be open to their feedback. Pay it forward by encouraging others to become more comfortable with risk.

Mary Kuentz


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