Taking Risks in Love and Life
by Barbara Williams Cosentino, RN, CSW
Are you a risk-taker? Or do you always take the safe, easy way out? Do you stay in your comfortable but dull job because going on job interviews is just too scary?
Most of us fear failure, but the fear of success, of surpassing our parents, of separating from our past, of developing a new and stronger self-image can be pretty scary, too. And any change, even a positive one, means we must let go of the past and mourn the loss before we can embrace the future.
There are a million reasons not to change or do anything that feels scary. But at some point, letting things stay the way they are feels smothering and constricting. And in most cases, the pain of not reaching for the sky eventually becomes unbearable.
Types of Risks
There are several categories of risks, and each has specific associated fears:
Many new experiences incorporate a medley of intellectual, emotional, and financial risks. And determining what we are really afraid of is an essential step in the process of readying ourselves to make a move.
Assessing Your Risk-taking Style
In understanding your risk-taking style, it is important to consider a number of different factors.
Think about your general temperament:
Examine how you decide which risks to take:
Optimism vs. Pessimism
Consider your overall sense of optimism or pessimism:
Knowing your risk-taking style allows you to proceed comfortably, at your own pace, as you move through the necessary getting-ready steps.
Stages in the Risk-taking Process
The process of deciding to take a risk is quite complex. Following a series of orderly steps gives you a feeling of control, hopefully making your risk-taking experience a positive one.
The path you've chosen may meander in surprisingly unexpected ways, but at least you're moving.
American Psychological Association
Mental Health America
Canadian Mental Health Association
Canadian Psychological Association
The Power of Risk website. Available at: http://www.takerisks.com/. Accessed June 9, 2009.
Sulloway J. Born to Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics, and Creative Lives. New York, NY: Pantheon Books; 1996.
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