In today’s recession it seems that the saying "nothing ventured, nothing gained" could be re-written as "nothing ventured, nothing lost." But is that really true? In the long-run, is there a safe path to success? With a tough economy, risk-taking might seem even scarier than normal. But the truth is that there are also downsides of playing it safe. Our entrepreneurial spirit pushes us to explore risk, and seek out smart risk.
Before taking any risks, the first step is to be introspective and consider your situation, your goals, where you’re heading. These days there are more opportunities than there is money to fund them. Set your priorities and gain as much insight as possible, to make informed decisions. Look at risk-taking as an exploration. Risks are necessary to make change happen. Look for ways to de-risk the opportunity. Your instincts are great, but why not get some information to provide you with perspective. Give serious thought to the opportunity in advance, including developing your hypothesis of what the outcomes will be and doing an experiment for validation.
The same principles of risk-taking in the business world apply to personal decisions. For example, a former colleague recently asked at what point should you leave the corporate world and enter the entrepreneurial world? If your firm is laying people off, start pursuing an entrepreneurial opportunity at night and on the weekends to learn more about the viability of such a path. Talk to experts and mentors to get their advice. Be more prepared in the event that you do get laid off, or better yet, leave your job with confidence because you did your homework.
Along the way, you will have doubters. Don’t let one person discourage you, but use the feedback to modify and refine your plans. When others raise challenges...