Risk Your Way to Greater Success
Tuesday, June 04, 2013
Posted by: Dr. Alan Zimmerman
Dr. Zimmerman's TUESDAY TIP:
you want something you've never had, you've got to do something you've never
Dr. Alan Zimmerman's Personal Commentary:
Everything you want in life requires a risk. There are no
exceptions. Whether it's a healthier body, a bigger paycheck, a better
career, or a stronger marriage, you can't get those things by just hoping
they'll happen. You have to DO something. You have to take a RISK.
If you want friends, for example, you've got to take the risk of introducing
yourself, starting conversations, and showing interest in others. Of
course, the people you choose might not be interested in you. That's the
risk. But without taking the risk, you're left alone.
The same is true at work. If
you want a promotion, for example, if you want a position of more
responsibility, challenge and money, you'll have to take the risk of doing more
than what you're being paid to do. Of course, management may not notice
and may not reward all your extra effort, and you may upset your colleagues who
are doing just enough to get by. That's life.
Not every risk pays off. But
taking intelligent, constructive risks will work much more often than sitting
around waiting for things to happen. So what is a constructive risk?
1. Risk involves new behavior.
I remember Tom who came to me for
counseling. Tom said, "I'm terribly lonely. I've never had a
date with a woman in my whole life. Loneliness is the worst way to live,
and it's the only way I know how to live." With tears streaming down
his cheeks, he asked, "Can you please help me?"
I asked him what he had been doing
about his problem, and he talked about various on-line and in-person dating
services he had joined. He talked about a long list of women that interested
him but said, "I'm afraid to contact any of them. I have no
self-confidence. What if they say 'no' if I ever ask them out?"
In Tom's case, he had not learned
the new behavior that was required. He needed to know how to communicate
with women and how to deal with the occasional rejection he would receive.
Each of those behaviors was a risk because they required skills that he
had not yet learned.
Are you trying to change things in
your organization? Probably so. That seems to be the case every place I
go to speak. The problem is ... in many organizations, the leaders simply
announce the change and expect it to happen. They don't give their people
the skills they need to be successful at the change.
No wonder their people fight
change. No one wants to be a loser. And without the proper
training, your people are going to struggle with change way more than they have
to. That's why my program on "The Human Side of Change: How to
Go From Chaos to Control" has become so popular. People get the
skills they need to get the results they want. Click
here to read more about it.
After attending the program,
Jennifer Homan, the Office Coordinator at Miracle Ear, said, "I learned
more about myself, my coworkers and my family life in the time I spent with Dr.
Zimmerman than I have in the past thirty years. With the change skills
you gave us, I left the program as a more patient person as well as being a
better communicator, a better employee, a better friend, and a better
2. Risk involves the
potential of loss.
You could get hurt. You
could lose something. A child who touches his mother's expensive vase
could get his hand slapped, especially if he had been forewarned not to touch
it. The slap could hurt. An employee could lose his job after
pointing out how wrong the boss was, particularly if he did in the wrong way,
at the wrong time, or in wrong setting ... all change management skills that he
may have never learned.
If you're engaged in a behavior
that is a sure thing, where there is no chance of losing anything, it's not a
risk. That's clear enough. But you also know that risks are risky.
That's also clear enough.
So your challenge is to take risks
... if you want to get ahead in life ... at the same time you minimize your
potential losses when you take those risks. That's possible.
I've discovered a little secret.
Just ask yourself four questions about your potential risk ... BEFORE you
take the risk. Ask yourself:
- Is it
- Will it
- Is it cost
effective (financially, emotionally, relationally, occupationally)?
- Is it worth
If you get two or more
"yes" answers to those questions, your chances of a successful
outcome are very good.
3. Risk involves the
possibility of gain.
In fact every risk is part danger
and part opportunity. Saying what you really think is sometimes dangerous, but
it is an opportunity to be close to and honest with another person.
Getting 360 degree feedback on the job is dangerous because you may not
like what you hear. But it's also an opportunity to get better at what
Disagreeing with your spouse can
be dangerous; it may lead to a fight. But it's also an opportunity for
each of you to see things in a different light. Trying something you've
never done before could be dangerous, but it's also an opportunity to discover
Perhaps you remember the old movie
"Funny Girl" with Barbara Streisand playing the role of Fanny Bryce.
Fanny got a job as a chorus girl in the Ziegfield Follies, in particular,
dancing in line on roller skates. While everyone else performed
beautifully, all in sync, Fanny looked horrible, stumbling and gyrating on her
roller skates. Mr. Ziegfield hollered at her and said, "I thought
you said you could roller skate?" Fanny simply replied, "I
never knew I couldn't".
For Fanny, trying something new,
such as roller skating was dangerous; she could make a fool of herself.
But it was also an opportunity for her to discover her real talent, which
happened to be singing instead of skating.
You need to do the same thing. Recognize the danger
and the opportunity in the risks you face. If you only look at one side
of the situation, your emotional intelligence is low and your change success
rate will be dismal. But if you look at both the danger and the
opportunity in your risks ... and if you learn how to assess which is in
greater supply ... you will win.
Where in your life do
you need to increase your risk taking? How will you do it? And when
will you start?
I would love to hear your comments and feedback. Join the conversation.
About the author:
As a best-selling author and Hall of Fame professional speaker,
Dr. Alan Zimmerman is focused on "transforming the people side of
business.” His keynotes and seminars are noted for high content, high energy,
and high involvement that transform people's lives and the companies where they
Click here to learn more about his programs and products, or to receive a free
subscription to his weekly Internet newsletter.
Copyright© 2013 Zimmerman Communi-Care Network, Inc.
Reprinted with permission from Dr. Alan Zimmerman's Internet
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