Have you ever heard that saying that in life you regret the chances you didn’t take? Our fears can often dictate our actions, and before we know it, we have said no to a lot of things we wish we’d said yes to. Of course it isn’t exactly safe or practical to take every risk that comes your way, but it’s worth becoming comfortable with in order to both soak up opportunities and create your own.
If you’re one of those people who isn’t a big risk taker, this is probably a pretty frightening thought, but I have a few ideas for easing yourself into this concept. The first way to take more risks is to simply say yes. When opportunities come your way, instead of sabotaging an experience before you even have it, why not say yes to things? If this seems downright terrifying, try saying yes to one thing that freaks you out a little each month. Start small, with things like that event your friend invited you to that you were on the fence about, or going out on a limb and telling someone how you really feel about them. And, sometimes the risk is actually in saying no to things you’d otherwise say yes to: For a people pleaser it might be risky to tell someone they aren’t up to a task or project. But if the rewards could outweigh that risk, such as being more in control of a situation, it’s probably a good idea to say no.
The reason a risk is a risk in the first place is because you don’t know the outcome. Not knowing what’s going to happen is a daunting thought, and it takes courage to be able to make decisions without knowing exactly how things will go down. But even though you may not know the outcome, you can still consider whether or not a risk is worth taking. You could try pros and cons lists or talking to friends when weighing whether you should take a risk, but sometimes you have to go with your intuition. Does this risk feel like one you need to take? Then I think you’ve got your answer. For example, it’s risky to go somewhere you’ve never been – you never know what could happen during travel – but at the same time, travel is fulfilling and there are a lot of ways to battle common mishaps. If you feel a pull deep down to explore somewhere new, it’s probably worth it to set fears aside and dive in.
Saying yes to opportunities that come your way isn’t the only way to think on your feet when it comes to reveling in the possibilities, however. Another thing you should do is put yourself out there. That means not only saying yes to opportunities, but creating instances where awesome things can happen. You have to be willing to make room for life’s greatness. I can’t say that every single decision I’ve made has meant instant happiness or excitement in my life, but it has all contributed to my evolution, and I’m satisfied that I’ve created opportunities myself. Most of the time, there isn’t someone standing there handing them out, after all. So if no one is inviting you on that trip, why not plan it yourself? Or if your dream job isn’t calling you back, why not walk into their office and ask for a meeting with the hiring manager? Sometimes taking a risk is the only way to get things done!
Now I want to know, are you cautious or are you a risk taker?