We often desire to get to a state of harmony or balance, where we feel we know what needs to and will happen; that it is knowable, planned and foreseeable. While this may be a possibility for relatively immediate outcomes, most of the time our lives do not look like this. The world around us continues to spin and change – and emphasizes the importance of taking risks in our career.
What career risk should I take? Where to start?
With so much changing around us, how do we remain focused on the outcome we want to achieve? The first place to start is with the end in mind.
Your 100th birthday speech is just the type of compelling vision you need to continually pull you forward despite the changes always happening around you. And it is exactly what is needed to pull you forward if the changes around you cause a “deer in the headlights” reaction when it comes to taking necessary risks.
The most risky thing you can do in your career? It’s not what you think…
Possibly the most risky thing you can do is stand still and not take any risk. What is a risk? It is defined by each person and you must know how you define it to take the right risk. The right risk also gets determined by that 100th birthday speech you wrote.
“Well I am so far away from what I wrote in my speech, I don’t even know where to start!” If that’s what you’re saying right now, look for the clues in your speech.
Try a simple strategy like this to take a “risk” of your own.
Let’s say there is mention of the book you wrote in that birthday speech. Start here:
- Write a blog
- Produce an analyst report
- Write a book review
- Take a course on short story writing
- Start a journal
Any of these move you toward writing something longer – a book eventually – while refining your skills along the way.
But I want to lead an organization. What career risk do I take?
Follow the same format as above. Start with something like this:
- Lead yourself (That’s a tall order, isn’t it?)
- Lead a group at your company
- Learn the operations of your current organization
- Study financials of companies that interest you
- Read biographies of leaders you admire
Create your own vision to define what risks you’ll take.
That 100th birthday speech provides the vision to take the right risks. Oh, did none of the steps above sound like a risk? That’s the point.
In the context of what you want to achieve, the risks get “right-sized.” There is still risk in that there is no guarantee that what you undertake will pay-off in the way you imagine. But you can’t not do it now, can you?
What is your next risk to take? Follow the examples above and take a step toward your vision. You may be surprised by the opportunities you create!