In the waning days of another year it’s natural to reflect on a year gone by. What were the highlights and lowlights? Where could I have adjusted my actions to better align with my desired goals? Were there times when I could have stepped up to take advantage of higher quality opportunities?
Something I noticed in 2018 was how career professionals were so focused on mitigating “what if” scenarios that they were at risk of squeezing the creative juice out of an idea or squashing an early stage project during its seed infancy. I’m wondering if this is a trend or an anomaly.
I’m all for Plan B’s, Plan C’s, and even Plan D’s for truly complex, multi-faceted initiatives that include Change Plans with solid risk mitigation and pivot strategies; however, I’m less interested in mitigation plans that manage the risk (and the possibilities) right out of the vision.
Far too often ‘No’ is an easier solution because you get less push back from people. “We’ve never done it this way. It will be harder to get funding, obtain stakeholder approvals, complete the project on time, ________” (fill in the blank).
Real risk comes when you say ‘Yes’ to opening the doors of change. You step out of your comfort zone and into the unknown. You risk setbacks and failed attempts. You also risk raising the bar for yourself and—succeeding—a scarier thought for a good chunk of the population.
Over the years I’ve trained, coached, and mentored career professionals across the spectrum from college grad to seasoned pro on personal risktaking during difficult career transitions and life stages given that lines often blur between our personal and professional lives.
A good rule of thumb that has worked for me over the years is to initiate or lead higher risk opportunities when your personal life is humming along, and when things are a bit more complicated at home join a team who actively supports higher risk projects.
Whether you lead or follow, the point is to never allow yourself to become invisible. You don’t want to lay low in an effort to play it safe. Playing it safe doesn’t keep you safe. It just makes it easier for others to ignore you, bypassing you for the more visible, better paid roles within an organization. Don’t make it easy for people to overlook your talents and contributions by playing to your fears.
This is why I’ve decided to create a new online course in 2019 that will focus on preparing you for personal risktaking challenges at different points in your career and during various stages of life—whether you’re in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and even 70’s as more of us postpone retirement.
Risktaking for Life: Career Cycles & Life Stages (working title)—I’m excited to begin the collaboration process with a great Storyline designer and developer early in the new year.
Be sure to check it out to see if it’s something of interest to you.
Here’s to a great 2019!