Serengeti Skill #4
The risk-taking mongoose
Like the mongoose, taking risks requires evaluation of all the options before a decision is made. Entrepreneurs have the ability to overcome the fear associated with the risk, seeing an opportunity and willing to assume the risk associated at overcoming the potential pitfalls.
Succeeding in troubled times often involves taking a risk. But like the mongoose, you need to evaluate of all the options involved with on the chance you’re taking before you make a decision.
Risk- takers frequently review goals and determine the various routes to get to the destination. Often they choose the path with the highest risk in order to gain the maximum reward. Many of them demonstrate the following characteristics:
- The ability to overcome the fear associated with the risk by evaluating potential pitfalls.
- Viewing the change that immobilizes others as simply another hurdle to overcome. Risk- takers don’t see how things are, but how they could be. They are willing to do whatever is necessary to achieve the desired goal.
- A readiness to break free from social and emotional boundaries, opinions, beliefs, and restrictions imposed by business and society. Unaffected by the opinions of others, they freely and openly express their ideas.
- Adeptness at finding ways to hedge against risk to take advantage of the upside of a given situation.
- A readiness to assess whether the reward is worth the cost required to take on the risk. They willingly invest hours of personal time on a project, while recognizing that it won’t necessarily be successful.
- An upbeat attitude that allows for potential losses and the refusal to be overwhelmed by the prospects.
- The courage to step out into uncharted waters to ensure that goals are achieved.
Everyone has a different comfort level in terms of risk—but no matter how much is involved, a positive attitude is essential for success. If doubts and fears overrule hope and optimism, success is much less likely to occur. Small achievements bolster confidence, which leads to a willingness to take bigger risks and accomplish greater goals.
Maximizing This Skill
The first step in becoming a skillful risk-taker is to avoid the two greatest traps that lead to failure: do not “ignore” the risk, or assume that you can’t do anything about it. It’s equally important not to intellectualize the risk to the point where you avoid taking action. This will only result in a failure to take ownership and the need to constantly rely upon others. Risk’s reward is never available to those who don’t even bother step up to the plate.
Once you have opted to take a gamble, the next step is to diminish any sense of fear by supporting your decision with facts. You must accept the fact that failure is a possible worst-case outcome and then move ahead with enthusiasm and a positive attitude.
Keeping these two thoughts in mind allows the process of taking a risk to become a system of calculating the cost and the benefit before taking any action.
Remember: Inside every risk is an opportunity for success.