Risk Averse or Leap of Faith? What are YOU Worth?
Recently, a client described to me her hesitancy about doing what she really wanted to do: move out West to be with her boyfriend and continue building her personal and professional life in a state she loves. She considered the move, even as she didn’t yet have a job offer, hoping the search would prove more productive with her physically residing where she wanted to live.
It is this that she was anxious about, moving without a job offer in hand. And her explanation was: “I’m pretty risk averse.”
I found that very interesting since the truth is we’re taking risks all the time, usually in favor of what we’re told we should do; in favor of the dreams, visions, ideas and thoughts of others about what they would have us do. It’s interesting how we define what risk and being risk averse is without realizing how much we really do risk all the time based on what society and social/cultural norms pre-determine for us what risk is and what it’s not.
Few hesitate in going to college, investing the time and resources and going into debt, because we’re taught to believe it’s all worth it; that the payoff and return on investment of a good job and career will all be worth it. No one questions the risks inherent in the college-debt gamble. No one questions the odds that they may not get a job or career or ones that are meaningful returns on the investment they made.
We’re all willing to take a chance and risk that it will all pay off the way it’s been sold to us.
No one questions the risks inherent in accepting the job offers we are given: the validity of the assumptions we make about what we’re getting ourselves into; the impact of the decisions we make for our lives and living (financial and otherwise) based upon our trust that the jobs we take will be what they are sold to us as; that our being hired will result in sustained, stable employment that we can depend on; that our employer will stand by us and provide the financial stability our life requires. No one questions the risks inherent in accepting job offers in which there are absolutely no guarantees save one: that you can be let go at will and without warning.
It seems we are all too willing, and most unquestionably so, to risk our lives, livelihoods and dreams on inherently risky propositions such as these. We make these types of deals all the time without hesitation; without thinking because socially and culturally we’re told to do so. It is what’s expected and everyone does it – so much so that ‘risk’ is not even a term associated with such decisions despite the obvious and inherent risks we take in making them.
Yet, when we’re considering taking a chance on ourselves, on what we want for our lives, that’s outside the social and cultural norms about what we should take chances on, these are determined too risky and we convince ourselves that our hesitations mean we’re risk averse. How interesting that to place your life and livelihood in the hands and at the whims and discretions of others is socially and culturally acceptable and not seen as having any risk involved at all; while to take control in directing your own life at the discretion of what you truly want and know will best serve you – that is risky and if you hesitate in doing so (in taking a chance, a leap of faith for and toward you) then you’re risk averse.
A leap of faith is trusting in yourself, your intelligence, your creativity, your strength and the validity of your desires and the creative power you have to make of your life what you truly want. A risk is anything that entrusts to another, decision-making power over you, your life, its economy, financial stability, substance, quality, and so on.
Why, then, are leaps of faith toward you and what you truly want for your life considered too risky, while entrusting your life to the whims, visions, decision-making, etc of others is not?
Time to redefine what the real ‘risks’ are that we’re taking in, and with, our lives. Time to turn that risk-taking inward toward and for the benefit of ourselves, our dreams and the lives we truly want. Time to make taking leaps of faith toward ourselves, taking chances on ourselves and what we want for our own lives, the socially acceptable cultural norm!
Are you ready to take a risk, a leap of faith, on you?