Why Playing It Safe Can Be Risky

In today’s economic culture, the tendency in the workplace is to “play it safe”. This mind-set, however, could be detrimental to your career in the long run. Many women who advance in their jobs have the ability to take calculated risks – a crucial skill in achieving career success. And taking the right risks shouldn’t stop during a recession.

The fact is, not taking a smart risk is to stay stuck and lose some of your enthusiasm for life. Here are some tips to help you conquer your fears and increase your risk-taking tolerance.

Create a risk-taking log

On a sheet of paper, make two columns – one for “plus” and one for “minus.” Focusing on the change you would like to make, write down all the reasons to take the risk (the pluses) and the reasons not to (the minuses). After you are done, look to see which side of the balance sheet has more notations. If the minuses outweigh the pluses, consider whether it is a good time in your life to take this risk. But if the timing is off, don’t throw away the risk entirely – it can be worthy of consideration at a later time. However, if the pluses outweigh the minuses and line up with your values, taking the risk is what I would call a “best bet”.

Pick two risk-taking mentors

Try to choose two people you respect and trust to advise you through your risk-taking adventure and be sure to choose people who will give you honest feedback – it’s very important to hear both pros and cons when making such decisions.


Shun Perfectionism: Use positive mind talk and stop underestimating yourself – you can advance without knowing everything, as you will acquire new skills and get others to guide you with what you don’t know.

Quit Second-Guessing: Don’t turn back. Take a small step toward your goal and acknowledge what you have done so far. Life is full of choices and if you continue to debate every decision, you will drive you and everyone around you crazy.

Avoid Procrastination: Take a small step toward your goal and acknowledge your progress. Create a timetable for yourself and include focused actions and due dates. Don’t miss the deadlines you have set out for yourself.

The people close to you, especially in these tough economic times, may not agree with your taking smart risks, but if you have done your research, analyzed the pros and cons and decided the timing is right, don’t get side-tracked. Get ready to leap and declare success.

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