Recently I came across a quote which is quite apt for the topic of today’s blog post:
“The only things you’ll regret in life are the risks you didn’t take”
As you look back on your career and life to date, do you ever at times wished you’d been a little braver, trusted in yourself more, and been less cautious in the chances you took?
Does anything come to mind?
I recall some years ago working with a recruitment consultant whose hobby was to collect rare coins (Numismatics I believe is the proper name for this hobby) and then she would sell the coins online and make quite a tidy profit.
Every lunchtime, she would go up to Portobello road market to, what was the expression she would use, oh yes, to ‘nab a bargain.’
One Friday she came back from the market in shock, it was like the blood had drained from her face, she was shaking nervously. I thought she was going to pass out.
I said: Are you ok?
She said: I can’t believe what I have just seen.
What, what, was my response.
I have just seen what I believe is a rare 1933 British Penny which is perhaps one of the most famous coin rarities in the English-speaking world today.
She continued; allegedly only seven coins were minted – specifically for the king to lay under the foundation stones of new buildings, hence why they are priceless.
So I said how much is it worth?
Tens of thousands of pounds was her response.
And how much are they asking for it?
So I said: Can I have a look at it?
She said: Well I am not too sure if the coin is genuine or not. You see it has to be a British Penny, which is very similar to the 1933 Irish Penny which is not valuable.
So again I asked: Can I see it?
No, I didn’t buy it!
Just in case it was the wrong one.
She then proceeded to check online, and to her shock horror, it was indeed this rare and valuable coin.
She flew out the door so fast rushing up to the market, and yes you’ve guessed it the coin had gone.
To add insult to injury, the stall owner was packing up and had put most of the coins away.
He said he had a bit of a result, the coin that she had looked at earlier in the day, someone had paid £250 for it, way over the odds, for sentimental reasons was his excuse for doing so, and so he was off to the pub to down a well-earned pint of Guinness.
Now, surely you like me must be thinking, why not take the risk!
£50.00 for a rare coin that could be worth tens of thousands of pounds!
Do you have a similar experience, maybe not with a rare coin, but something equally as valuable to you?
Have there been occasions over the years where you could have taken more risks, settled less and spoken up more often.
More times than not, we often know what it is we want to do, but we still don’t do it. Why? Because we are conditioned to be risk-averse and afraid of putting our vulnerability on the line.
Telling ourselves “better the devil you know the devil you don’t” and all that baloney.
When weighing up whether to take an action that could leave us vulnerable to failing or some other form or loss (of reputation, money, social standing, pride, etc.), we have an innate tendency to misjudge four core elements in assessing risk.
We over-estimate the probability of something going wrong.
That is, we tend to focus more on what might go wrong – what we might lose or sacrifice – than what might go right.
Yet, the reality is that the risk of something not working out is often not near as high as we estimate and the odds of it working out well, are often far better.
We exaggerate the consequences of what might happen if it does go wrong.
We come up with dire and dramatic worst-case scenario images in our minds-eye. Rather than assume that we would act quickly to head off or mitigate a situation if things started going off track, we imagine everything spiralling shockingly out of control.
We underestimate our ability to handle the consequences of risk. This goes hand in hand with the above but is more focused on our capability overall. And while I hate to say it, women are the biggest culprits when it comes to underestimating their abilities and buying into self-doubt. Too often we let our misgivings about whether we have what it takes to succeed get the better of us.
We discount or deny the cost of inaction, and sticking with the status quo. We tell ourselves “It’s not so bad” and delude ourselves with the hope that our circumstances will somehow just get better over time and things will just ‘sort themselves out.
So how do we overcome our tendency to play safe and identify which risks are worth taking? Start by asking yourself these three questions:
What would I do if I we’re being more courageous?
How will inaction cost me one year from now if I do nothing?
Where is my fear of failure causing me to over-estimate the size of risk, under-estimate myself and holding me back from taking risks that would] serve me (my business, etc,)?
Whatever answers come into your mind, take notice! They are pointing you to a brighter future that you can only create when you commit to taking bolder, more decisive and courageous actions.
Will there be risks involved? Of course! But remember that you are wired to both overestimate the size of them and to underestimate your ability to handle them.
The truth is, as Lao Tsu wrote two thousand years ago:
“You are capable of more than you think.”
Fear regret more than failure – history has shown that we fail far more from timidity than we do from over daring.
P.S. Recently this rare British penny coin this lady passed up was sold for £115,000 at auction. Now it’s easy to sit in judgement because £115,000 is a lot of money. But if you’re in a job that is not paying you what you’re worth then maybe it’s time for you to take the risk and break free from the status quo.
P.P.S. Hopefully by now you should have contacted my team to book yourself into one of our free recruitment start up workshop if you have not, then what are you waiting for!
Thought for the day
“In life, if you don’t risk anything, you risk everything!