Risk is scary – particularly when you’re taking a risk with your career. It should be scary and anxiety producing. Risk means venturing out into the unknown with no guarantee that what you’re doing will work. It can also mean rich rewards (not just financial). It’s easier for some people to take risks. Since I’m a risk-taker, I thought I’d share my approach.

1. Figure out the “why.”

What is driving me right now? Do I want to get out of my current work situation? Do I want to find a career where I feel valued (one of the reasons I quit teaching)? Do I want to work for a company whose values match mine? Am I bored out of my mind? Do I think I can do better work than I’m doing right now?

My “why” for taking a risk and quitting teaching was that I just knew there was a career out there where I could do great work and continue to help people.

2. Think about what’s holding you back and write it down.

Am I scared of what would happen if I left the security of the job I already have? What if I never find another company to work for? How will I figure out what to do next?

When you write your fears down, they lose some of their power.

My concerns kept coming back to “How can I figure out what to do next?” So, I …

3. Ask trusted friends for their support.

These are the friends who will support me no matter what. They will confront me if they think I’m off base. On the other hand, they never, ever tear me or my ideas down. They believe in me and let me know it.

Find your supporters. Enlist them in your quest. When I started coaching, one of my oldest and dearest friends said to me, “Becky, you always get within a foot of success and you quit. I’m not going to let you do that this time.” And she hasn’t. That’s the kind of support you want.

4. Go for it.

Uh-huh, just do it. Jump off the cliff, pull the trigger, dive in the deep end, take a tiny step, just do something. Okay. I feel you. Easy for me to say, right? I’ll bet you’re cringing. That’s good, cringe and do it any way. You’ve got this.

Here’s the deal. I’ve learned that things can’t begin to take shape until I take that first step towards what I want. So, when a good friend said I should be a career coach, it felt right, and I went for it. I told everyone what I was doing and got started. I read about coaching. Found an online program for certification. Updated my LinkedIn profile and joined some groups. And landed my first client. Then my second…. And I’m still going.

What’s the least tiny thing you can do to take that risk? Do it. Then do another tiny thing. Then another one. Suddenly, you’ll realize you’re on your way.

5. Learn from whatever happens.

It’s inevitable; you will make mistakes. You will stumble. Learn something every time you stumble.

There’s not enough space here to go over all the things I’ve stumbled over in the last two years. Let’s just say that I’ve learned about online marketing and social media and closing sales and branding. And I failed messed up, hugely, even expensively. But,

6. Try again. I just keep going.

Learn from your mistakes, learn from your successes, and keep going forward. You’ve got this.

If you need support as you take your next risk, I’m right here. Call me, email me, send me a message on Facebook or Twitter.

Risk=reward. Let’s go.

Read. Watch. Learn.

Read: Why Taking Risks Comes with Great Rewards
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