Sarah Boyd


The 9 most powerful questions to get perspective in a difficult situation

The Risk Myth – Reduce Fear & Live Your Purpose

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If you are desiring to live a big life, taking risks and embracing change is a regular part of the deal.

If you are running a business or leading a movement, managing risk for yourself and others is a critical part of success.

(image credit @jshnaaa)

(image credit @jshnaaa)

If we don’t learn to manage risk well we will either settle for a small life, hidden away from anything that scares us;

or we will attempt to go towards the risk, either making unwise decisions, or personally managing the mental and emotional cost poorly (taking a toll on our physical and mental health, and hurting those around us with our rollercoaster emotions & tired, grumpy attitudes).



In his book “Originals: How non-conformists change the world”, Adam Grant suggests that the word “entrepreneur” was originally suggested by economist Richard Cantillon as literally meaning ‘bearer of risk’.

Entrepreneurs bet on themselves or an idea; put all their energy into this concept; no plan B; take the leap with no parachute…

Or at least this is society’s outward perception of entrepreneurs.

Grant suggests that many of the world’s great entrepreneurs actually work out how to take the risk out of risk-taking.



The same is true for leaders – one of the main parts of the job is to manage change or uncertainty.

Nothing ever remains the same in any type of organisation or movement, and unless you adapt with this change, what you are leading will eventually die.

Making things happen always involves embracing big amounts of risk and uncertainty, not only for yourself but also for others.

But some of the greatest leaders learn how to minimise uncertainty during the uncertain change process.



Our brains don’t like risk, change or uncertainty.

This is because it is cognitively exhausting as it uses up key oxygen & glucose.

Also it is because large amounts of uncertainty are perceived as a threat. Which then activates all our stress hormones and the fight or flight process, to cope with what we unconsciously believe is a threat before us.

Another dynamic added to this process, is that if we don’t perceive the potential reward to be greater than the risk, we will not be motivated to at least try.



But what if there really was a way to remove the risk from taking a great risk?

Or make a large change happen, while minimising uncertainty?


The risk myth - reduce fear & live your purpose



1 Define Your Why

Simon Sinek says that all great movements and organisations are extremely clear on their ‘why’. He has began a leadership movement with the phrase “start with why”, arguing it is the most important element for a leader to establish.

Why is taking this risk important to you?

What could it give you if it worked?

(If you are a leader, this can be a great activity to do as a team to help get all the team members on board with an upcoming change).


2 Take It Through The Questions

What is the worst case scenario?

Could I live with that?

How much will this matter in 5-10 years?


3 Add Some Common Sense

Do your research & learn from others.

Have you engaged this type of risk before?

Do you know what to expect?

Do you have experience with this market? or people?


4 Have A Plan B

Some conventional wisdom says that you’re not a “real” risk taker unless you just go for it regardless of the cost. But I believe this advice to be unwise.

Particularly when it comes to major career or financial decisions it is always important to have a Plan B.

If your worst case scenario happened, could you cope? Could you family cope?

If you want to keep your own sanity (& your friends and family’s for that matter!), make sure you create a plan B.


5 Go Through The Stages Of Certainty

Once you have gained wisdom, gone through the questions & added a plan B, spending mental energy on things outside your control, is just a waste of time.

Write down –

What do we have complete certainty about?

What do we have some certainty about?

What can’t be predicted?

Then reflect, how much energy and time are you putting into each area?


It is possible to embrace your calling and take great risks along the way, without loosing your mind (or killing every one around you with your unstable emotions or a grumpy attitude!).

Make sure you place value on your own mental and physical health, and also on those you love, by risk-taking while minimising risk.

As Malcolm Gladwell said “Many entrepreneurs take plenty or risks – but those are generally the failed entrepreneurs, not the success stories”.

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The 9 most powerful questions to get perspective in a difficult situation.