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Risk Taking VS Risk Making: Developing A Growth Mindset

Most people, by nature, are risk averse. We like a sure thing. This helps us save energy (only acting when we are ensured success), reduce the possibility of embarrassment (you can’t trip and fall on stage if you are seated in the audience), and allows us to stay in our comfort zone.

But it also limits us from that amazing feeling of reaching for a slightly distant goal and attaining it. Those closest to us often have more confidence in our abilities than we do ourselves. This is why parents, spouses, or friends often want to force you into a risk.

I would invite you for a moment to think of the idea of “risk” differently.

The active decision to MAKE a risk VS an external force causing you to TAKE one can play a crucial role in the experience of an event, regardless of the outcome.

Risk making is trying something new of your own accord. It comes from a place of empowerment. Risk taking suggests that a person has no choice.

Like when your parents coaxed you try out for a sports team when you were less than enthusiastic about athletics or your teacher required you give a presentation in front of the class. This can cause push-back, anxiety, and fear, leading to a reluctance to try something new. Gaining Ownership in experimentation, on the other hand, contributes confidence and a growth mindset.

Encourage Risk Making (in yourself and in others) By:

Explaining the difference between Risk Taking and Risk Making.

(See above)

Make “Calculated Risks”.

Make sure that you are likely to succeed in the risk. Have the cards stacked in your favor. Don’t put yourself in a situation that you need to throw a “Hail Mary” pass to be successful. You can do this by breaking down the risks into small manageable steps.

Break down big risks into small steps.

Think of taking the bunny-slope approach and set yourself up for success with little risks. Do you have a goal to improve your diet? First, start drinking more water regularly. When you are successful with that, explore healthy foods that you can enjoy and incorporate into your routine. Then limit the most unhealthy food items that regularly make it on your plate. Before you know it you will have the confidence and appropriate experience to approach bigger risks successfully.

Explore the drawbacks and benefits of the Risk.

Both action and inaction are choices with benefits and consequences. Objectively look at what you are sacrificing by your actions, as well as what you stand to gain.

Redefine success and failure.

The trap of all-or-none thinking often causes people to feel that making risks is too…well…risky. Change the definition of failure. Risk-making is a learning opportunity to figure out what works and what needs tweaking. It wouldn’t be a “risk” if everything would work out 100% of the time. View success as the process of putting yourself out there rather than solely the outcome. This is where creativity and growth can happen.

Stomping Out Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs)

Go ahead. Make a Risk. See what happens and enjoy the confidence that comes from stretching yourself!

Jamie Dana

Jamie Dana

Jamie Dana, MC, LPC, helps teens and adults overcome mental roadblocks and achieve their goals to live an elevated life. Specialties include research-based interventions to address stress and anxiety, trauma, self-esteem, eating issues and struggles of the gifted and high-achieving population. For more information about her techniques, services and additional resources to help you succeed, check her out at www.elevatecounselingaz.com or follow us on facebook. You can also Contact her to schedule an initial appointment today