After self-confidence, risk-taking is one of the skills that participants of the Ambition Challenge most wish to gain during their journey. This comes as no surprise! Risk is one of the keys to personal and professional development.
Intriguing, unfamiliar, and daunting, for some, the notion of “risk-taking” causes much ink to flow. And the central question of many articles written on the subject is “Are women afraid of risk?” The answer may surprise you, but contrary to popular belief, women are no less inclined to take risks than men.
Financially-speaking, women may be more cautious than their male counterparts – not because of fear, but because their economic situation is more precarious than that of men and because women tend to be more considerate of the interests of others, their families for instance. However, when it comes to their career or their company, women dare to risk simply by playing on different fronts.
Though it has often been said that the so-called “fairer sex” is not as brave or adventurous, this is because historically, studies have failed to address risk from every angle, laments Doug Sundheim, author of Taking Smart Risks, who believes that women are just as capable of risk as men. “[Studies] don’t point to risks like standing up for what’s right in the face of opposition, or taking the ethical path when there’s pressure to stray — important risks that I’ve found women are particularly strong at taking” he argues.
At The A Effect, leader Sophie Brochu encourages participants of the Défi 100 jours (the French version of Ambition Challenge) training program to dare to risk. “Risk is scary when it’s unavoidable and seems uncontrollable”, she explains. “But when risk is a clear-headed choice and we’ve taken the time to analyze the potential hazards, find solutions, and surround ourselves with competent people, it certainly brings its share of benefits.” Speaking of benefits, here are six that should motivate you to embrace risk early in your career.
6 REASONS TO DARE TO RISK
1. You’ll learn a lot
Taking risks involves getting out of your comfort zone. And getting out of your comfort zone forces you to go beyond your area of expertise. This is what sometimes makes the experience daunting, but also so enriching! To minimize the risk of negative impact, surround yourself with people whose expertise will compensate for the gaps in your knowledge.
2. You’ll become more confident…
The more you get out of your comfort zone, the more you’ll realize that you’re capable of great things. Through trial and error (error is inevitable), you’ll become stronger and more skilled at overcoming setbacks. And the successes (they’ll happen too), will fill you with pride.
3. …and more creative!
Another point of interest: taking risks sometimes involves dealing with unexpected situations. In solution mode, you’ll hone your ability to think outside the box.
4. You’ll better define what you do (and don’t) want
Agreeing to manage the opening of an office abroad, provide a new service to customers, or supervise a small team through the completion of a mandate: these decisions and professional experiences will lead you into unfamiliar territory. You might realize that you’re less comfortable in some tasks or roles, but you’ll also discover unsuspected talents and passions.
5. You’ll reveal your leadership
Taking calculated risks to promote growth and innovation will help you stand out. Those around you will trust your judgement more, since they’ll see you as someone fearless who can bounce back from setbacks, which will help you win people over.
6. You’ll chart yourself an impressive path
Goals are rarely achieved by playing it safe. “Assessing risk is being able to demonstrate openness,” suggests Sophie Brochu. “It’s adopting a dream mindset, and with dreaming comes the desire to turn dreams into reality.” In other words, women who dare to take risks grant themselves the power to accomplish the extraordinary! Thrilling, isn’t it?