The Blog of Jake Kelfer
“You gotta risk it to get the biscuit.” I can’t believe I just quoted Fired Up! to start an article, but here we are. By the way if you haven’t seen Fired Up, you definitely should 🙂
We live in a world where people are afraid to take risks. People are scared of being rejected. People are scared of trying and failing. People are scared of being independent and going against the grain. People are worried that their risks will be looked down upon.
The things is… all of these doubts and worries are valid. I’ve had all of them.
Calculated risks are important for our personal growth and development. It’s part of what makes life so fun and exciting. It challenges us and forces us to create new ways of thinking.
If we don’t take risks, how can we see what we are truly capable of? If we don’t step outside our comfort zones, how can we experience new things? If we don’t try new foods, how will we open ourselves up to new cultures? If we don’t start a business, how will we know if we had a million dollar idea?
I’m not saying to take silly risks that might put someone’s life or well being in jeopardy. Don’t drive home drunk cause you are feeling risky. Don’t curse in front of your teacher cause you’re willing to risk detention.
Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, always says that growing up her dad would ask her what she failed at today. Her dad wanted her to know she could try anything she wanted to which has led to her running a billion dollar business that has positively impacted millions of lives. She doesn’t worry about failure and she doesn’t get embarrassed much because she knows that failure is just part of life. She welcomes it and perseveres beyond it.
When I talk with an organization or a school, one of the questions I recommend administrators, teachers, or executives to have their students or employees ask themselves is, “What risk did I take today?”
Not only do we want students and employees taking risks that could lead to incredible self development or increased revenues, but we want to create a culture of acceptance. We want our students and employees to know that they can take a chance and if they fail, that’s okay. We want them to learn from these mistakes and get better.
However, this requires the people at the top to be open minded and encourage students or employees to take risks. It requires these people to lay the groundwork as a leader to welcome creativity and new ideas.
When you ask a student or an employee, "what risk did I take today?” it fosters the signal that they have permission to go for it. The follow up to this question is what is the difference maker.
Once the original question is answered, the follow up is:
“Did the risk lead to a positive result?”
If yes, then ask, “How can we replicate this?” Part of building culture and a business is about replicating things that work regardless of who comes up with the idea. It’s about how can the class or the team get better as a whole.
If no, then ask, “What can learn from this? How can we be better next time?” Just because someone took a risk and failed doesn’t mean it was a bad risk to take. Sometimes the biggest mistakes lead to the best ideas. We have to encourage people to take risks.
One of my favorite things to think about when it comes to risk taking is that if you try and fail, you are right back where you started. If you try and succeed, the possibilities are endless.
Elevate in Action:
I am a motivational speaker on a mission to inspire people to achieve their own definition of success and reach the highest level of personal success and happiness.