Let’s start off with a definition of risk. A risk can be described as the chance of loss or of peril. It can also be something or someone that creates or suggests a peril. A risk is therefore an action, thing or person that may create a negative outcome.

However, risks might also bring rewards with them. Think of all the games in Las Vegas where you might win more money than you lose - provided you take an educated risk, such as knowing how to play poker or blackjack. However, gambling is quite random by comparison with taking other risks, such as applying for a top college or going for a promotion.

Is the Risk Too Great?

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When considering whether or not to take a risk, it’s important to consider the risk versus reward ratio in reference to what you want in life. Here are some important questions to think about.

1. What are my goals in life?

If the risk is going to move you towards those goals, it might be worth it. If not, it might be better to wait until another opportunity comes along.

2. How will it affect my daily life?

A lot of people want a promotion, for example, but don’t stop to consider that the title and/or more money usually means more responsibility. This in turn can mean more stress, longer hours, a different boss whom you don’t get along with, a new group of colleagues who may dislike you because you got the promotion and they didn’t, and so on.

3. How will it impact my family?

When considering a large risk, you need to take a 360-degree view of what will happen if you take the risk you are faced with. Imagine you want to start your own business. You might need to buy equipment, find a space in your house for a quiet home office, work longer hours, and so on. What will the impact on your family be if you spend that money, take over that space, or start missing out on family dinners and your kids’ school events?

You might consider the sacrifices to be worth it, but a frustrated spouse who feels like they are having to do everything while you chase your dreams might have a completely different perspective.

Breaking Down the Risk into Smaller Steps

If you’re not sure the risk will be worth it, or how big an impact it will have on your family, consider starting small. Work as a freelancer online, for example, to see if there is a real demand for your services, or as an affiliate marketer selling items you love in exchange for a commission, to see if you have what it takes to make money at a business.

Then it is a case of finding the courage to take the next steps. We'll talk about that next time.

Until then …

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