Episode 6: Risk

//Episode 6: Risk

Episode 6: Risk

How comfortable are you with risk? When choosing between uncertain outcomes, do you dive right in or do you take time to consider every possible scenario hoping that the least risky choice will somehow present itself.  Does data drive your decision-making where risk is concerned or do you simply go with your gut?
I have lived with risk all my life and I have gotten to the point where I’m pretty comfortable taking risks where others probably wouldn’t. Some of my decisions have produced dozens of false starts and in a couple cases complete failures, but there have been a few instances where things did work out, and those successes instilled in me a belief that the rewards that comes with risk assumption make taking them worthwhile. But as I approach my 47th birthday, I’m still not sure whether my lack of risk aversion is a personality strength or weakness.  It’s just part of who I am.
Most of the very successful people I have talked to throughout my adult life have often said that they learned more from the times they assumed risk and failed, than they did from when they succeeded.  I can tell you from personal experience that’s true, but it doesn’t make failing any easier, and even when I think it’s worth taking a chance on pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities, there is always doubt. So, in this episode of the American Averagist, I want to know how others evaluate and take risks.
My Averagist guests today span multiple generations.  There’s a Gen Xer, a Millennial, and a Baby Boomer. All three have assumed risks throughout their lives ranging from breaking off long-term relationships to freeskiing off the side of mountain in Colorado.  What they’ve learned from those experiences may surprise you.  Here’s their stories.
I have struggled with this episode of the American Averagist.  While my goal with the entire podcast series has been to highlight the common values shared by people in Middle America, I have learned that the definition, evaluation, and assumption of risk is an extremely personal one for most people. I’m not sure there is a common theme that drives people’s decision to assume, or run away from risk.  Our Averagist guests informed us that even defining risk depends on multiple inputs including age, life experience, and the collateral damage on loved ones that could result from making the wrong decision.
I also learned that some risks aren’t assumed by choice.  They are thrust upon us, and our ability to deal with those situations often depends on how we have managed our optional risks throughout our lives.  The more risks we decide to take on our own helps prepare us for the times when life forces uncertainty into our families and careers.
Like many things in this life, making risky decisions often comes down to having a certain amount of faith that no matter what, things will work out the way they’re supposed to.  Most people of faith believe there is a plan for each and every one of us. If that is true, then risk doesn’t really exist.  It’s all about our ability to deal with the unknown. So maybe risk ultimately isn’t about choice.  It’s about clarity.

By |2018-08-03T13:33:15+00:00March 7th, 2017|Comments Off on Episode 6: Risk

About the Author:

Zac Northup is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of StandWatch.org. Zac served in the U.S. Army and the Army National Guard between 1992 and 2000, leaving the service as a captain. In 1996, he started his own publishing and consulting firm where he interviewed high-profile individuals including members of the joint chiefs of staff, service secretaries, elected officials, and soldiers in Bosnia, Honduras, and other locations. As a consultant, he worked for Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, 3M, and dozens of small firms that ranged from start-ups to multimillion dollar firms. He has proven experience taking a concept and growing it into a thriving business.