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"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear."
Mark Twain Fear is powerful. It will significantly hamper your ability to risk effectively. Learning how to prevail in face of fear is a critical step in improving your ability to take rewarding risks.
To become a more capable risk-taker, you need to move away from instinctive response to fear and toward counterintuitive response. The constructive - though counterintuitive - response to fear is to acknowledge and accept it.
This approach has been validated by National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Early in space program, NASA observed that some of its astronauts were completing their missions successfully without suffering motion and stress sickness. Another group was consistently having these problems. Based on empirical research, NASA determined there was only one factor that differentiated two groups.
The astronauts who were completing their mission without these physical manifestations of fear had acknowledged in advance to themselves or others that they were going to be afraid. This research documents how profoundly a constructive response to fear impacts our performance.
The Rewards of Risk-Taking
Why take risks anyway? Why even consider leaving your comfort zone? Isn't risk-taking something we are supposed to grow out of? Isn't it just a remnant of impertinent youthful behavior we should have left behind as we matured and grew wiser?
The partial answer to these questions has already been provided. Risk-taking yields vitality and a higher level of achievement. But there is more.
For every reasonable risk there is at least one potential reward. This is a Direct Reward. A reward that can be identified at time risk is being considered.
Better yet, a consistent pattern of intelligent risk-taking will yield something more: Compound Rewards! Compound Rewards are surprise rewards - rewards we cannot anticipate at time we are considering risk. These are rewards you would never have enjoyed if were not willing to step out of your comfort zone. But you will enjoy them if you are willing to challenge yourself, leave your comfort zone and take some risks.
It occurred for me. A few years ago when I was 10,000 feet over North Pole and moments away from 120 degree below zero temperature of freefall, I had no way of knowing what Compound Rewards that risk would bring. I had no way of knowing that jump would be first step in a most extraordinary career transition that would lead me to abandon a fairly conventional corporate career path and make my avocation of skydiving a major part of my vocation.
We don't know rewards we will enjoy by our willingness to take thoughtful risks, but we do know rewards will not occur unless we are willing to take those risks. And wouldn't it be a shame to forgo some wonderful, if unknown, rewards just because we can't seem to find our way out of our comfort zone!
"And trouble is, if you donít risk anything, you risk even more."
Erica Jong Author and Poet © 2004 Jim McCormick
Right to publish or post this article at no cost is granted provided copyright is attributed to Jim McCormick and above information about author is included in its entirety.
Jim McCormick is an MBA, former corporate Chief Operating Officer, three time skydiving World Record holder and was a member of an international expedition that skydived to the North Pole. More information is available at http://www.TakeRisks.com and 970.577.8700.