Business tips – If you fear risk, you will risk fear

Elvis Elvis

Worry is the interest you pay on a debt, which may never come due.
Well, it’s been two months, and we have a new president, and the economy is getting worse, and unemployment is rising, and the housing market is collapsing, and . . .

When most people are faced with so much bad news, they have a panic attack and they just want to find some safe place to weather the storm. They are so afraid of losing what they already have, that they go into self preservation mode. They just crawl in their shell and hunker down until the storm passes, never realizing that their fear of taking risks actually puts them in greater danger of losing it all.

That’s right!

I’m here to tell you that, in situations like we find ourselves in now, seeking your “safe haven” may be the WORST thing you can do.

WHAT? How can playing it safe possibly be a bad thing?

I’m going to use a sports analogy to demonstrate my point. As painful as this is for me, this example demonstrates my point very well. I want to take you back to January 3, 1993. If you live in Houston (as I do) or Buffalo (NY), you know what happened on that date. For the rest of you, as Paul Harvey would have said, here is, “the rest of the story.”

On this date, the Houston Oilers were visiting the Buffalo Bills for an AFC playoff game. The Oilers built a 28-3 halftime lead, and then early in the third quarter, safety Bubba McDowell intercepted a Frank Reich pass and returned the ball 58 yards for a touchdown, extending the Oilers’ lead to 35-3.

Being a very cold day in Buffalo, and seeing the writing on the wall, the fans started heading for the aisles. And who could blame them? After all, if you’re going to see your favorite team’s season come to an end, you may as well do it from the comfort of your home (or favorite sports bar). Well, had these fans just stayed in their seats a few more minutes, they would have witnessed what is still known today as The Comeback.

You see, when faced with almost certain defeat, the Bills could have just accepted their fate. (The Oilers, after all, had already accepted victory.) But rather than just laying back and playing it safe, the Bills decided that they didn’t want to let the other team decide the outcome of the contest. Rather, they took matters in their own hands. And when the gun had sounded, it was the Buffalo Bills that moved on to the next round in the playoffs.

Business tips   If you fear risk, you will risk fear

So how did this happen?

There were two reasons why the Bills won this game.

First, the Oilers KNEW that they had the game won, and started playing defensively. They laid back and played it safe. They tried to hold on to what they had, and they ended up losing it all. Instead of continuing to do the things that enabled them to build a 32 point lead, they changed their strategy from offensive to defensive. It was their change in attitude, their fear of risk, that allowed the other team to steal what was an almost certain victory.

Second, the Bills decided to take matters into their own hands. They decided to lay it on the line, and start taking a chance. They recognized that continuing to play it safe would not get them the desired outcome – a victory. They also recognized something that I want to emphasize:

The best time to take a risk
is when everybody else is playing it safe.
That’s right.

When all about you are playing it safe, that is the BEST time for you to take risks. It works in football. It works in poker. It works on the battlefield. And it works in life.

So what does this have to do with you?

I’m here to convince you that NOW is the best time to step out on that limb, and do that thing that you have been afraid to do. Now I’m not talking about the kind of risk where you take out a mortgage on your house, cash in all of your stocks and bonds, collect all your life savings, head to Vegas and place it all on Snake Eyes.

No, what I’m talking about is intelligent risk taking. For example:

  • Make that sales call that you have been dreading.
  • Check out that new networking group.
  • Start that new business you’ve been dreaming about.
  • Go and buy your first piece of investment real estate.

I know it seems contrarian to do these things during an economic depression, but that is the way capitalism works. If you don’t believe me, ask Warren Buffett, who said, “Be greedy when people are fearful and fearful when people are greedy.” After all, Mr. Buffett should know. He has amassed a fortune (or two, or three …) by doing just that.

Do you want to be on the Oilers’ bench, or the Bills’ bench?

Face your fear of risk now, while the competition is sitting on the sideline, while the competition refuses to face theirs. These are the times when success is the easiest. These are the times where the rewards are the sweetest. And if you are committed to improving self confidence, there is no better way to accomplish this than by taking a risk, and experiencing success.

I think that Eleanor Roosevelt said it best.

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience
in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
What is your biggest fear?

Be honest with yourself. What is your biggest fear? Is it:

  • Fear of loss?
  • Fear of change?
  • Fear of failure?
  • Fear of defeat?
  • Fear of risk?

Why don’t you just look fear in the face? Why don’t you just do that thing you THINK you cannot do? Why don’t you make today the day you stop suffering from the fear of risk?