I’ve been spending a bit of time lately thinking about how our brains deal with risk. In a nutshell, my research has led me to understand that most of us cope with risk constantly — to varying degrees of success.
Here’s my key question: What would your business or your life look like if you could magically and willfully handle risk differently than you currently do? Now, before I propose this ‘new way of thinking,’ allow me to define what I don’t mean by risk: I am not talking about attempting a tightrope walk over the Grand Canyon and I am not proposing that you consider free-climbing some crazy rock face in Yosemite National Park. We’ll leave those risks to the minute handful of freaks that seem to find adrenaline as appealing as pizza.
- Do I call this person or work on that project?
- Do I get up early or stay in bed?
- Should I write that e-mail or reach out to that person face to face?
The truth is, if we peeled back our day we would see that almost every day has potentially hundreds, if not thousands, of seemingly insignificant choices. Do I eat this or that? Should I go here or there? Every one of those choices carries with it some sense of risk.
So many of our clients come to us and express some desire to improve, get better, make more money or go from here to there. This is part of the human condition (or so we hope). What I am learning is that unless we recognize that our lizard brain so longs for familiarity that it will make similar - if not the very same - choices over and over again, we may never become that person that we so long to become.
Believe it or not, learning how to view these daily choices differently, and thus managing the risks we face differently is a learnable skill. This, by the way, is the focus of our Retreat this year in Coronado Island in September. We will be diving into this as a group and it should prove to be amazing.
Today, I wanted to offer a little slice of what we will be taking a bigger bite of in California: Practice awareness of your choices. It would take far too long and be far too laborious to see every choice and every risk at all times, but you could find one or two and be aware of them. Then as a second step, you could isolate one of these choices and simply take action on the one you wouldn’t have chosen. Think of it as your very own “road less travelled.”
Developing the skill of recognizing and subsequently facing these daily risks, could quite literally be the difference between greatness and endless mediocrity. Go ahead find one thing today and challenge yourself. I dare you.