I recently wrote about why making big decisions can be such a challenge for so many of us (Making Decisions and Thinking Big), and about the power of choice when it comes to making decisions that are for our highest good. One element that the article didn’t address, but that can often play a big role in making decisions, is our individual tolerance for or aversion to risk.
I’ve had to make a few really big decisions recently that were taking me out of my comfort zone, so I’ve been spending quite a bit of time pondering this topic. In the past, I avoided risk as much as I could, always playing it safe, always weighing all the pros and cons before making any decision. Once I made the conscious choice to live a big life, I realized that I had to change the way I made decisions and especially change how I viewed risk. As is so often the case when we embrace conscious change in our lives, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. In this case, it happened to be a sales call for an event hosted by Ali Brown, one of the most successful female entrepreneurs of her generation. The information presented on the topic of knowing when to take risks really resonated with me, so I’m sharing it here.
There are five steps that can help you decide when to take risks, and be comfortable with your decision.
- Is this something you want with your heart? I believe that following your heart is the key ingredient for living a joyful and fulfilling life. Everything else will fall into place if you make following your heart a priority. Another way to look at this is how making a decision feels. If it feels good, it’s usually the right decision for you.
- Is this something you want with your head? While following your heart is most important, your decision still needs to make sense for you. Can you justify this decision to yourself? Be careful here that you don’t give too much airtime to input from others, or at the very least, choose carefully who you consult with. When you make the decision to live a big life, there will inevitably be people in your life who will try to convince you that it’s too risky, that you can’t possibly be successful, that this is not for you. Don’t listen to them. Only listen to your own inner guidance.
- Is this part of my journey? This question requires that you’ve done your homework and spent some time getting clear on what your path is. Making decisions becomes much easier once you’ve identified your life’s purpose.
- Does this excite you, even if it’s a little scary? We don’t really progress on our path unless we stretch beyond our, often self-imposed, limits. If it feels exciting and joyful, it’s right for you. That’s not to say that you may not feel some apprehension. Anytime you’re stepping outside of your comfort zone, you will feel a combination of enthusiasm and doubt. Joyful anticipation should outweigh trepidation on this one.
- Are you making this decision from faith and not fear? I think that’s the most important of the five steps. Your decision should come from inspiration, not desperation. I always remind myself that truth and fear cannot coexist. If my decision is fear-based, it will not be for my highest good. There’s a reason for the catch phrase “leap of faith.”
Once you allow yourself to approach taking risks from the perspective of making a conscious choice to step into your power, you will come to embrace its transformative power. You will find that your big decision will yield equal if not greater rewards from the universe.
How do you approach taking risks? How do you make big decisions?