A dear friend of mine is in the process of investigating changing careers, getting a new job or potentially going into business for herself. It’s a scary place to be with a lot of unknowns. She’s miserable in her current job, and her default mode is to scour the Internet looking for jobs and keeping track of how many resumes she’s sent out.

She is wicked smart and I believe that she would be wildly successful if she went into business for herself. When I say this to her, she responds with things like:

“But I don’t even know what I would do.”
“I don’t have enough experience.”
“I could never make as much money as I’m making now.”
“The market is saturated with people already doing what I do.”

Maybe it’s because I’m a whack-job and read too many blogs like I Will Teach You to Be Rich, Zen Habits and Penelope Trunk, where the writers espouse all kinds of anti-self-sabotage rhetoric that I just want to shake her to get all the excuses out of her system. (Ramit is forever going off about psychological barriers.)

Or maybe we’re just wired differently.

So then I think, why is it that risk-taking is easy for me? No, easy is the wrong word. Essential, maybe? Whatever. The point is, I don’t just enjoy taking risks, I crave them. When an opportunity presents itself I don’t just sniff around to investigate, I sprint toward it. And yes, sometimes I run right off a cliff. That’s the risk.

Why do I do this?

I think it has to do with how badly I want something. How badly do you really want to change your situation or achieve your desired goal? If you keep coming up with excuses and talking yourself out of it, then you must not want it badly enough.

Risk-taking requires the mind set where the goal, the thing you want to change, is more important than the comforts of your current situation.

Will you doubt yourself? Absolutely. Will you question your decision? Of course. But working through doubt and questions to the point of taking action is what makes a person a risk taker.

4 thoughts on “Risk-taking: shake the excuses out of your system

  1. Going to business is always risky. But if you love what you do, you'll become successful. If you overthink everything, you won't get anywhere. Look at the most successful people – Bill Gates etc… they were dropouts and risk takers. I think NIKE sums it up… JUST DO IT.

  2. Thanks for the comments, ladies! Although I am writing specifically about the potential of starting a business, the same can be said about things like letting someone read your writing, starting a blog and letting people know about it, sharing a song that you wrote, or just generally putting yourself out there. It's always a risk, but usually worth it.

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