“Risk is not just a part of life. It is life.”
– Nick Vujicic
It’s the 4th Quarter. Whether you are down in the 4th Quarter or not; accept the fact that one day you will find yourself trailing in the game of life. It’s inevitable.
When this happens, your emotions can overwhelm you and it’s common to want to quit, to cry, to feel sorry for yourself, and ultimately to give up.
But…you weren’t born to be common; you were born to succeed, to flourish, to thrive.
You were born to win.
What do proactive leaders do when they are trailing in the 4th Quarter? The answer is simple: they embrace risk.
Embrace Risk with Confidence
In this blog post, I’m going to show you how to get clarity on risk so that fear is not a driver. I will also share a researched-based plan to help you navigate risk so that you will feel more confident in assessing it.
My Big Ask:
My big ASK for you today is that you carefully look at risk through the lens of critical thinking, not through the lens of fear, anxiety, or negative memories.
What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of the word risk?
Risk is defined as a situation involving exposure to danger. It most likely includes uncertainty about the effects or implications of a decision that must be made.
Whatever comes to mind when you think of the word risk is attributed to your belief system. The stories you tell yourself based on your life experiences become your belief system; this shapes your perspective.
One of your brain’s most important jobs is to protect you; to keep you alive. Your brain will try to persuade you to avoid risk; to play it safe. This is normal.
However, if you have an unhealthy perspective on risk, you may have a risk aversion mindset; a tendency to shy away from risk at all costs.
Those who perpetually avoid risk fall under the category of what Psychologists call Learned Helplessness.
Learned Helplessness is a Psychological term given to people who when faced with negative circumstances eventually quit. They don’t believe they can. It’s the perception that one cannot control their situation so they stop trying altogether. This perception elicits a passive response to the harm that is occurring. Passiveness and powerlessness ensue.
Learned helplessness eventually leads to all-or-nothing thinking; “Nothing I do matters; I always lose.”
People with learned helplessness aren’t creating and controlling their environment, they are being controlled by what is happening to them.
That’s the problem; here’s the solution.
The Solution: Own Your Risk
Owning your risk empowers and enables you to keep your sense of independence. It is a powerful habit that will build confidence when faced with uncertainty.
Two-Step Strategy to Make Risk your Friend:
- Gain Clarity Through Logic on Risk
- Choose Perceived Control
Get Strategic Clarity on Risk
Identify all aspects of the risk you are facing from a critical thinking lens, not one driven by feelings rooted in fear or any other negative emotion.
You will never experience the success and freedom you want if you continually operate out of a foundation of fear or anxiety.
Most of the resistance to risk comes from the fear of the unknown. Therefore, finding clarity proves to be very helpful in breaking down this wall.
Get clarity by asking yourself:
- How could this decision possibly make a positive impact on my life?
- What needs to happen for me to feel safer?
- How can I factor in my purpose in this unknown?
Trust your Plan
What preparations have you made? All successful leaders have a game plan. It’s also important that you have confidence in the plan you have in place. Trust the work you have done; your plan and your preparation.
Getting strategic clarity will help you see the bigger picture and give you a clearer direction so you can create a plan to assess risk with confidence.
Exercise Perceived Control
Once you get clarity on your risk, exercise what Psychologists call Perceived Control.
Perceived Control refers to an individual’s perception of his or her ability, resource, or opportunity to bring about desired outcomes and prevent undesirable ones.
Simply stated, Perceived Control is your perception of the control you have.
According to research, people who take strategic risks build mental stamina. Doing things that frighten you help you learn to face uncertainty and apprehension. This allows you the opportunity to sharpen your skill sets and gain confidence with each risk you take.
Taking risks builds resilience.
In addition to this, research shows that Perceived Control is associated with an enhanced state of emotional well-being.
This is not only empowering; it is very comforting and encouraging especially in times when things feel like things are out of control.
According to the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 50 Years of research shows that Perceived Control is an important construct of physical health and psychological well-being. When people feel they can exert control, they demonstrate better:
- Immune responses
- Cardiovascular functioning
- Physical strength
The report showed people also had:
- Increased longevity
- Increased life satisfaction
- Decreased anxiety and depressive symptoms
These findings validate the importance of choosing to control what you can control. When you look at what you do have control over, you are putting yourself in a strong position to see solutions and possibilities you might miss if you are worrying or living in anxiety.
Moral of the story; when you exercise perceived control, you not only enhance your well-being, you will thrive during times of uncertainty and risk.
To exercise Perceived Control, ask yourself:
- What do I have control over?
- How can I experience greater growth because of this change?
- What opportunities might open up to me?
Control the things you know you can control; your attitude, your routines, your thoughts, and your actions. Knowing that you cannot control other people, outcomes, or some circumstances is liberating and will produce incredible freedom in your life.
When you get so consumed with the things you have no control over, what happens? It negatively affects the things you DO have control over.
The truth is if you choose to own your risk, you don’t have to lose anything. You’ve made the decision which is something you have 100% control over.
Hopefully, this blog post has shown you that taking risks doesn’t have to be reckless. Gaining clarity on your risk, having a solid plan in place, and embracing perceived control are all tools you have access to.
Taking strategic risks will help you build resiliency; your mental fortitude will be strengthened.
And that, my friend, is how you come from behind in the 4th Quarter.
Always remember – Nothing is Impossible
I have created this anti-anxiety and anti-stress tool kit, proven by science, to help you reduce anxiety and stress. I guarantee you that if you implement some of these ideas and use these tools; you will navigate this uncertainty boat like a highly skilled Captain.