If you got out of your bed today, you incurred risk. You could have tripped and fell or bumped into a wall. While eating your breakfast, you could have bit your tongue or choked to death. During your shower, you could have burned your eyes with soap or slipped on the tile floor, cracking your head open. If you had to drive anywhere, then you just increased your risk exponentially because six million people are in a car accident every year here in the United States, and 90 million people die every single day on our roads (https://www.driverknowledge.com/car-accident-statistics/). My point? Life IS risk.
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks
will accomplish nothing in life.”
Our history is full of men and women who took great risks to discover new ways of doing things, inventing new technologies, and creating a better way of life for all of us to enjoy. I don’t know about you, but I am especially thankful for air conditioning seeing how it is summer here in Phoenix! Penicillin, airplanes, electricity, indoor plumbing – all involved someone enduring ridicule and embarrassment during their attempts to succeed. We aren’t laughing at them now! Look at any successful business, and someone along the way risked it all to make a dream come true. Every vacation and family adventure you take will involve some risk.
Fear is the enemy of progress and success. Fear prevents us from moving forward. The lie behind fear is that we have a false sense of security and belief that when we stand still and hold back that we are somehow living risk-free. That just isn’t true nor is it possible because all life is a risk. What we must do is manage the risk in a manner that suits our goals, objectives, desires and lifestyle.
When I was young, I took greater risks. I skied and jumped off cliffs that I didn’t even know where the bottom was and whether I could actually live to tell the story. In my 40s when I crashed on a double-black diamond slope that almost left we paralyzed, I decided that the risk was too great and limited my skiing to blue or intermediate runs. What changed? I had more to lose, and I also put greater weight to safety aka I couldn’t afford lost wages should I get injured and be unable to work. Every person has different limits and definitions of what “high risk” means to them, and they will change through the years.
“If you are not willing to risk the unusual,
you will have to settle for the ordinary.”
Risk management is defined as the process of evaluating the chance of loss or harm and then taking steps to combat the potential risk (https://www.yourdictionary.com/risk-management). Risk management is an active, on-going process that helps us formulate our plans so that we may continue to move forward, live our life and accomplish our goals. If we aren’t weighing the risks, we are choosing failure by default.
Whether it is COVID-19 or other circumstances, businesses and individuals cannot just stand still and wait it out. Do we really believe a switch will go off in September and all risk will evaporate? Hardly. Risk will continue as sure as we need oxygen to breathe. We have to move forward! Here’s a process (https://www.clearrisk.com/risk-management-blog/bid/47395/the-risk-management-process-in-5-steps) that can be used to help:
- Identify the risk – As I shared in my book Defy Your Diagnosis: Overcome Any Obstacle, we cannot conquer and defeat that which we haven’t even defined. Sometimes this is easy, and other times it is convoluted and complicated. Do your homework and research. I know more about Lyme disease and RA than most general practitioners because I HAD to in order to beat the diseases. Get past the hype and follow the money! Not all research is relevant or right. Stop listening to the masses and hone in on your own objectives.
- Measure the risk – Weigh the risk against the rewards. This will be different for each company and individual. We are not the same nor will we create the same path to success. Our personalities, our backgrounds, our experiences, our upbringing, and our goals will all influence how we filter the risks. Let’s stop judging others for their decisions and focus on our own.
- Examine the solutions – This is where a lot of people get stuck. Fear resides here and can become a wall that seems insurmountable. Keep looking at alternative routes: go under, go over, go through, or go around – but go! Have a creative brainstorming session where no idea is a bad one until it is vetted against goals and objectives. For the individual, the more clearly you define what it is you want, you will be able to see the solution that will get you there.
- Implement solutions – Without action, you are standing still. Remember, all action involves risk. Even your inaction has consequences! What have you lost over the last five months? What has you missed? What special events can never happen again? We are missing out on life and opportunity. Some may find this acceptable, but I do not. I do not want to look back at my life and realize I wasted it by living in fear. Every day is a gift, and we are not guaranteed tomorrow.
- Monitor results – Assess your action and results then adjust your course accordingly. Repeat the process. Things change, and what worked originally may not today. No endeavor is stagnant because the only constant is Those who are able to pivot quickly will survive the storm and ultimately thrive.
“I rather live my life with risk than have no risk and no life.”
As long as we live, we will face risk each and every day. Only you can choose what you are willing to risk, and what you are not. I urge you, though, to decide for yourself and not to allow others to define it for you. Many have ulterior motives at best, and others have agendas to cause you harm for their gain. My wish for you is that you will have the courage to climb your mountain and be brave enough to cross the divide in front of you.
As a coach and consultant, I can help you take the emotion out of the process and provide a thorough risk assessment. Give me a call!