Risk by Stephen Pierce

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RISK
My question for you is: “Are you at risk?”
Now what exactly do I mean by that?
Let me first share with you a quote from a very distinguished professor named Arthur
Combs from Northern California University. He said, “Our whole entire educational
system is built on right answers which produces a great fear of making mistakes
and stifles creativity.”

So, the question of “are you at risk” is really a question of “Are you out taking risks?” Many
times we are afraid to take risks and sometimes our decisions are not really conscious
all the time. Sometimes it’s really a subconscious thing because we’re afraid of what the
results might be. Maybe we’re afraid of humiliation. Maybe we’re afraid of looking silly
or looking stupid or looking like an idiot or whatever the case may be.
So, sometimes we become afraid of taking risks, like in a business. Some people are
extremely comfortable with the planning phase, the preparation phase, the thinking-
about-it phase or talking-about-it phase, and they never really just go out there and do
it because they’re afraid of making the mistakes. They’re afraid of the risks that they’re
going to be facing, and are saying to themselves, ‘Oh my gosh, what
if this doesn’t work? Look at all the different people that are
going to see me. They’re going to look down on me.
They’re going to think I’m stupid. They’re going to
look at me as a failure.’
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In other words, there is some subconscious learning that has come from school. It’s
not that school is bad, but sometimes the way we learn things can have a very negative
subconscious impact on us and it can have an underlining effect on our activities
and our behaviors or can affect how we’re thinking and how we’re feeling.
So, the question is, could there be something you have subconsciously learned that is
holding you back from taking the proactive type of risks that you need to take to succeed
in your business or other areas of your life?
I have three questions I want to ask you.
What’s the reward for taking a risk?
What’s the punishment for taking the risk?
What’s the reward for not taking a risk?
It’s not whether you win or lose. Although I got kicked out of school, I did hang around
long enough to know how they grade papers. We know that in school, you do a lot
of preparation and you start to sweat and you get a little uncomfortable when the test
comes-- whether it’s a test you have known was coming or-- my gosh, don’t let it be a test
you didn’t see coming like a pop quiz or a pop test!
Sometimes we’re just not comfortable in taking that test because if you don’t do well on it
your paper is going to be marked up and you’re going to experience a lot of pain because
you’re going to be able to see that you didn’t do well on it. They don’t reward you for
efforts in school. You don’t pass and graduate to the next class because you really put in
a good effort.
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Maybe you shouldn’t be rewarded for effort. Maybe you should get enough of the
answers right to graduate and go to the next level. But the question is, how does that
really start to impact us in business, in our life and other particular areas?
So for yourself, what is the reward for taking a risk? Do you have a reward system
set up?
Sometimes it’s easy to reward ourselves if we take a risk and we kind of win and we do
it the right way. But what if you don’t? What do you learn from that and how do you set
yourself up to win when you take the risk regardless of whether you “win or lose”?
Sometimes we kind of need to have our reward in place because it will help us to move
forward and take risks that are necessary.
Another question: What is the punishment for taking a risk? Are there people in your
life that punish you verbally or physically? Maybe you’re looked down upon; maybe
there are certain things that they make you feel so down about yourself for taking the risk
so that, you know what? You don’t even take the risk at all.
So, what is the punishment? Do you even punish yourself? Do you punish yourself
mentally for taking risks, especially if you take a risk and it doesn’t work out? Do you
punish yourself? When you think about taking a risk, do you punish yourself
by hammering your self-esteem, hammering your self-image and using
a lot of negative self-talk on yourself which pretty much just
grinds you into the ground?
The question is: What’s the punishment that you give
yourself for taking a risk?

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The third and final question is:
What’s the reward for not taking a risk?
This is probably one of the most important questions of all of the three. What is the
reward that you give yourself for not taking a risk?
How do you make it okay for yourself to not take the risk? How do you make it okay
to avoid exposing yourself to the elements of the environment that you have to expose
yourself to if you want to progress and move to that next level in your life?
How are you rewarding yourself? How are you making it okay to stay where you are?
How are you making it comfortable to avoid putting yourself out there on the line? How
are you making it okay to live in mediocrity, which is pretty much a place where we stay
if we don’t take risks?
It’s only through risks that we can allow ourselves to expand and experience some of the
bigger and greater things in life that we have the right to experience, but that are not just
going to be handed to us. We have to go out there and get them, in life and in business.
Sometimes we may not be doing these things consciously. It may be a subconscious
thing. But we need to expose that so we can deal with it.
I have a quote. I don’t know who said the quote, but I just know the quote that, “Progress
always involves risk. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first,”
(for those
of you that know about baseball). You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.
Progress always involves risk. I don’t know who said that, but it’s a phenomenal quote. I
love the quote and I think it applies to what it is we’re talking about here today.
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Every company that’s great was at risk as it was coming up, and it remains at risk. Risk
is something that we shouldn’t be trying to avoid. There’s good risk and there’s bad risk.
You don’t want to run across the street of fast moving traffic; that’s an unnecessary risk.
You wait or you go to the appropriate corner and you wait for the light.
I’m not talking about stupidity here. I’m talking about the kind of risk that’s necessary
that we all have to embrace if we want to expand ourselves and if we want to grow our
businesses.
Are you at risk? Are you afraid of risks? Are you rewarding yourself for not taking a risk or
are you punishing yourself if you take a risk? Are you punishing yourself if you take a risk
and whatever it is you tried didn’t work out?
Are you allowing the punishment to accumulate to the point where now you’re completely
immobilized and you’re experiencing action paralysis, meaning you just can’t find yourself
in a place to move forward because you’re so afraid of what might happen if it doesn’t
work out? Or are you just afraid because based on past experience, you think it’s just not
going to work out-- so you’re not even able to learn from your past?
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“Risk” Worksheet
To explore risk as it applies to your particular situation, consider the questions that
follow.
1. What past experiences have you had that might have shaped the way you
think about risk? (personal experiences, things you have heard from others, etc.)
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
2. Are there any things you may have subconsciously learned that are holding you
back from taking proactive risks necessary for success in your business and your
life? What are these beliefs?
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
3. What is your reward system? How do you reward yourself for taking risks?
If you don’t already reward yourself, what are some ways that you could in the
future?
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________

4. Do you have any regrets over past risks you could have taken but were too
scared to take at the time? What were the main things holding you back from
taking those risks?
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
5. What is the punishment for taking a risk? Are there people in your life that
punish you? Do you feel like you punish yourself for taking risks or do you feel
guilty when you think about taking risks?
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
6. Describe an instance when you considered taking a risk and then have used
negative self-talk, bringing yourself down and eventually talking yourself out of
taking the risk. What sorts of things did you think and say to yourself?
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
7. What is the reward for not taking a risk? In what ways do you make it okay for
yourself not to take risks? In what ways do you tell yourself its okay to just stay
where you are?
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________