Taking a Risk “Not a Cure-All”

Joe Sewell made a very astute comment on the post, Are You Letting Your Comfort Zone Limit You? He said:

Just have to say that risk-taking and getting out of one’s comfort zone is not the cure-all people want it to be… Sometimes your ‘comfort zone’ exists to tell you that you’re where you need to be, and getting out of it isn’t some great adventure to success, but moving into a minefield for which you’re not prepared or built. Risk-taking for the sake of taking risks can work, and it can also torch any progress towards ‘success’ (however you wish to define that) you’ve made.

Man jumping backwards off a cliffNow that made me sit back and think a little. I pictured folks who are known as “thrill seekers” — you know, people who fling themselves off cliffs, ski down treacherous mountains, and surf in shark-infested waters. But think about it; when someone regularly takes risks like that, more often than not it’s a calculated risk. They’ve done it before, they’ve actively planned what they are doing, and they have anticipated that there could be problems.

But how many people do you know who are going through some “mid-life crisis” and run off to do something like that? Going off half-cocked like that isn’t the smartest thing a person can do, especially if they are inexperienced. If they run into problems, they are much more likely to panic and make the situation worse because they don’t know what they are doing!

The same thing is true with a career move. It’s one thing to give serious consideration to a change and then take steps to make it happen; it’s quite another when someone wakes up one morning and says out of the blue, “I’ve had it!” and then proceeds to completely divest themselves of the career they’ve had for several years. While the latter may feel liberating in the short-term, it lacks the necessary support that can provide a better structure for what to do after the glow of making the change has subsided. As Joe said, you’re “moving into a minefield for which you’re not prepared or built.”

I’m all for embracing change and moving beyond one’s comfort zone, but be smart about it. Don’t do something rash that has the potential of blowing up in your face simply because you didn’t do a little planning.

Image courtesy of istolethetv

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