Leaning into Risk

When they are riding a wave, it is easy to see the differences among surfers. Those with more skill and experience skim along the curl of the water more gracefully and effortlessly. Those with less experience look a little more ungainly as they struggle to stay on the board. But no matter who is surfing, the ride always ends the same for everybody – a fall into the water.

Watching something similar to this recently, business consultant Peter Bregman saw an analogy to the way we approach the challenges in our lives.

What if, he asked, we all lived our lives like the surfers, with the realization that no matter what the ride was like, it would end with us in the water. If this were the reality, we would probably take more risks.

If we were looking for a job, we would call more people, many whom we don’t know. We would shoot for jobs that really mean something, rather than those more likely to pay well or have greater security, but that don’t really inspire us.

We all know why we don’t do these things. It’s the fear of failing. But even more daunting is not just failing, but the feeling that we get when it happens. It’s the feeling we get from failing, from being rejected, from making a mistake.

But the ironic part is that in our efforts to avoid the feeling of possible failure, we subject ourselves to an entirely different set of unpleasant emotions – the bad feelings we have when we procrastinate, or other uncomfortable feelings we have from being in situations we want to change but won’t.

So,  instead of avoiding risks, we actually need to actively take them on as much as possible. The way to do this, Bregman says, is through practice.

Take risks. And if you fail, don’t try to ignore your feelings. Accept them, take them on, allow yourself to experience them. You will find, Bregman says, that it’s not as bad as you imagine. You will even begin to enjoy them because having such feelings lets you know you are alive and living life to the fullest. Then you begin again with another risk.
 
If you are looking for temporary, temporary-to-hire or direct-hire work in the Anchorage area, send a message to the Opti Staffing Group. We would love to discuss how we can help find a position that is right for you.

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