Last week I was delivering a session on Risk Taking, and as part of the presentation I was thinking about what encourages people to take risks.

  • Confidence in our own ability: When you take a risk and it pays off, your confidence tends to increase and you are more likely to be confident to take a greater risk in future.  So I encourage people to regularly take small risks, e.g. having a difficult conversation, saying no, going to an event that you would not normally attend, because it can help you to build confidence in your ability for risk taking.
  • Capability to explore the “unknown”: If you are willing to step into the unknown, with a level of curiosity and interest, it is far easier than being fearful and concerned.
  • Acceptance of consequence: What might happen if I take this action? – is a question that many people ponder on, and then shy away from taking the action because they are fearful of the consequence.  it might be a manager telling them off, or a loss of face etc.  So consider the upsides of taking the action as well as the downsides.
  • Willingness to learn (from mistakes): View mistakes or things going not as planned as learning opportunities. Ask any successful person when they have learned most and they are likely to tell yout about their biggest mistakes and how to dealt with them.
  • Trends – others doing it: It is easier to follow the path that others have trod before you.  Find out if others have taken similar actions to you and what they did to be successful.
  • Supportive environment: The type of environment that you surround yourself with can have an impact on your ability to take risks.   If you are with people who are positive, supportive and encouraging its far easier to take risks, than those who are less enthusiastic.