Penny Mallory

Penny Mallory

Risk-taking is essential to your success because great, otherwise unforeseen opportunities often come from risk-taking. We tend to view risk-taking negatively, often regarding it as dangerous and even unwise. But while some risks certainly don’t pay off, it’s important to remember that some do. The trick is to reframe risk as an opportunity to succeed rather than a path to failure.

The dictionary definition of risk is “exposure to harm or danger, to put on the line, take a chance, put in jeopardy.” But taking a risk is also a great opportunity to stand out and to present yourself as a leader, not a follower satisfied with the status quo. We learn from risks, and those lessons may lead us onto an important new path.

But beyond the external opportunities and recognition risk-taking can bring, it also provides an opportunity for internal growth. Success won’t fall in your lap—you have to pursue it. But beyond being personally or professionally beneficial, taking risks may be a necessary step in actively pursuing success. You have to feel comfortable that you don’t know exactly how you are going to get the results that you want to see.

You won’t get what you want by playing it safe. Risk-taking won’t only potentially benefit the path you are on, it may actually open you up to a world of possibilities you have yet to consider. For all professionals, the world outside our comfort zone can be huge and scary. Until we are willing to put ourselves out there and take a risk, we will never be able to achieve professional success and realize our potential. It’s time to leave your comfort zone; time to go after what you’re passionate about; and time to achieve and get what you want.

Embracing risk-taking helps you overcome a fear of failure. Failure isn’t the end of your journey to success—it’s the beginning. Failure is not the opposite of success but a stepping-stone to it. I heard someone describe failure once as “payment in full and in advance of success.” There’s a thought.

I have never met a world-class performer who didn’t take risks often to find out what was possible and where the limits lie. By taking risks, they pushed into new territory that gave them an edge over the competition. Risk-taking won’t only potentially benefit the path you are on—it may actually open you up to a whole new world of possibilities you haven’t even yet considered. In the presence of something good or exciting, your brain will release feel-good chemicals: endorphins, oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. If you haven’t experienced the hit you get from these natural highs, then I suggest you do something today to find out how good it feels.

Take a risk. You will either win or learn. There is no failure. And there is never any loss in learning.