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Taking Risks and Learning from Mistakes


  • How do you fare with taking risks?
  • Do you learn from your mistakes?
  • Are you risk adverse or are you a risk-taker?

Whatever you answered above, I’m sure you like many people you have taken risks whether by choice or enforced and felt they were either big mistakes or the best decision ever made.

But how do we try and change our perceptions about risk-taking and making potentially big mistakes?

Most of us were brought up being encouraged to take chances, stepping outside our comfort zone, stepping into the unknown, and yet we often take less risks the older we get as our fear of failure seems to increase.

Why is this? What changes in us? What makes us more risk adverse?

Let’s look at what risk feels like in the first place. Is it a calculated risk or is it a risk you are willing to take with the odds stacked against you?

Before we take a chance or take a risk, we should first consider the following steps:

  1. What if we fail? We need to measure the consequences and impact versus the likelihood or probability of the worst-case scenario happening. By working through the odds, we can take measured and calculated risks in the knowledge that we are prepared for the worst to happen because the benefits fully outweigh the risks

  2. What might we learn? We also need to weigh up what we might learn in the process of taking any risk. We all learn by doing and we should all learn from our mistakes. If the worst was to happen, as long as we reflect on what happened, what went wrong and taking active steps in ensuring the same doesn’t happen again, we will personally and professional develop and grow

  3. What is our back-up plan? Whilst we might be prepared to take risks, we must also plan what we need to do, we must have a plan, without a plan we fail. We should always have a contingency or back-up plan, or ‘Plan B’. By having something to fall back on at least we can mitigate the consequences, therefore minimising the risk

Taking risks and learning from our mistakes can be a positive thing – with the right mindset we can learn and grow.

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