Take Risks: 4 Steps
Why? Because you know your life could be a whole lot better if you took that risk. These steps will get you movin’ on up.

By Nate Steere,

Take Risks: 4 Steps
Setting goals in life is something that speaks to everyone because we all have new things we’d like to do, make or be. However, getting started on the road to something new can be difficult. Many of us tend to focus on failure and the unknown. It can be a little intimidating: We’re unsure of ourselves around the unknown and the possibility of failure, but that’s also why we’re drawn to goals. There’s a strong desire to launch into the unknown, to head into unfamiliar territory and find out what awaits beyond the horizon.

Taking risks is tough, but necessary to enrich our lives. You could do many, many things in your lifetime, but nothing worth having is going to be handed to you. If you want to make the most of your life, it takes grand adventure and it takes risk. To help you with your plans to take on something new, we have four steps you can rely on as you take risks.

step 1
Look through the risk

Before you start your journey, you need to begin by picturing the end of that journey. Envision what wild success would look like, and imagine it in great detail: What will it feel like, taste like and smell like? Every bit of additional detail will help. Thinking about your goal has a few benefits. First, it gets you clear about why you want to try this new thing (what are the specific motivators that have started you down this path?). Knowing your “why” will help when the going gets rough. Second, this makes you focus on the positives, instead of the negatives. Sure, starting something new can be scary, but you need to pay attention to what you stand to gain, not “what’s the worst than can happen.”

Finally, knowing what the goal is ensures you’re heading in the right direction and helps you take risks accordingly. If you’re trying your hand at cooking dinner for the first time, and you’re dreaming of eating a big Italian dinner, but you find yourself hovering over the hot dogs in the grocery store, you’re headed to success (dinner), but not your true goal (Italian food). Sure, it’s a very simplified example, but you see the point: Getting clear about your goal in specifics will make it easier to keep yourself on track.

step 2
Recognize the obstacles

If you’ve decided you want to do something, but you haven’t started working on it yet, why is that? Think through the risk you’re thinking of taking and identify the opposition. Your mind will drift to the areas you see as being resistant on the path to your goal. For now, this is just going to feel like a giant shadowy area. That’s because you haven’t taken the time to find out what’s between you and your goal. In order to take risks, you need to get specific about the things you’ll need to overcome. They can be physical obstacles (lack of money, not having the right gear) and intangibles too (fear of the unknown, lack of time to start something new).

Suppose you wanted to learn to play the guitar. Thinking through why you haven’t learned yet, you might realize you don’t own a guitar, don’t know anything about them (so you don’t know how to buy a good one), don’t have money for one, and don’t know how to go about learning. That’s a lot of opposition, sure, but at least now you’re clear on what you need to do. From there, your creativity and willpower will start to solve the problems. Your brain can figure out a problem or five; what your brain can’t do is solve the giant, unnamed shadowy mass of fear between you and your goal. Thus, name the opposition and start to think of solutions: Does one of your friends have a guitar in their closet collecting dust? (Side note: Yes, yes they do.)

step 3
“The secret to getting ahead is getting started” – Mark Twain

The biggest setback to change is good old-fashioned resistance. It’s easy to get caught up in “analysis paralysis” and spend your days sketching out your perfect route to achieving your personal goals. However, at some point you simply need to start. This is the hardest part, and unfortunately there aren’t any secret tips or tricks, just your willpower and the doing. That’s why, as soon as you’re clear on your goal and are ready to take risks, you should get started — even if it’s a rocky start. An imperfect start beats a perfect daydream on paper any day. Go after your dream and aim for forward motion every day, no matter how small.

Our future guitar player can make a few phone calls about lessons, even if it’s just to learn what days they are offered and how much they cost. It doesn’t take a gigantic effort to move toward your goals, just the courage to get going.

step 4
Enjoy the ride

Once you’ve started down the road to your goal, enjoy the ride. Success doesn’t necessarily come quickly, but by simply starting down the road you’re closer to your dream than you’ve ever been before. Anything worth doing is going to come with at least a small price — it’s an essential part of taking risks. So, be proud of yourself just for starting.

It can be easy to get discouraged, so keep positive. Enlist friends to keep you accountable, and talk with them about your goal whenever you hang out. Talk about your goal with everyone you know: people at work, the checkout girl at the grocery store, etc. You’ll be reminded of your goal each time others ask how your goal is coming along. Don’t forget to ask them what their goals are (you’ll be surprised at how few of them actually have goals). That’s motivation, too; you’re one of the few people you know trying to achieve something difficult. Finally, reading books and quotes from the wise people of ages past can give you more perspective. Victory will taste that much sweeter.

get in the game
It’s tough to get started on something new, but that’s what makes it worth doing. Taking risks lets you discover new things about the world and about yourself. It brings new pleasures and accomplishments into your life. It can expand your horizons and open the world to you. None of those is going to happen to you if you’re just sitting on the couch and not being open to taking risks. Get a helmet on and get in the game of life. Look past the risk, identify the obstacles you need to solve and then get started. Take the time to enjoy the ride and start thinking of what you’ll take on next — because if you stick with it, you will achieve your goal. The only variable is time.

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