Isn’t it a bit of a risk?

I walk past this sign above a fire alarm in my office building several times a day and yet for some reason the other day it really caught my attention so I snapped a quick pic on my phone.

Do not take risks

Do not take risks – great advice in a fire; I’m not so sure it’s a rule for life!

Later that day, I had a session with a coaching client who’s considering a new opportunity which has come to her. When Annie said, ‘Isn’t a bit of a risk?’, I was reminded of the photo so I showed it to her. It inspired us to grab two big sheets of paper and some pens.

On the first sheet of paper, we copied the text from the sign – ‘Do not take risks’; on the second, we missed out one word and headed it: ‘Do take risks’.

Annie then used the two sheets as a kind of giant cost/benefit analysis. The ‘do not’ sheet listed all the possible disadvantages associated with taking the leap; the second was filled with the potential positives taking the risk could bring. By the end of the session, we had two sheets covered with notes: Annie weighed them up against each other and happily announced that she had made her decision.

‘People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.’ Peter Drucker

I love that quote: it reminds me that risk is a part of all our lives. Every risk has another risk associated with it: if you don’t want to risk rejection for an internal role and just hope that your boss will see sense and give you the job, you risk being overlooked; if you don’t risk running for the bus, you risk a long wait for the next one; if you don’t ask the girl to marry you, you risk missing out on the love of your life.

Today’s pebble for you to ponder: how can you use the ‘do not take risks/do take risks’ exercise to help you create your action plan?

What do you think?


Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching. 

If you’d like to make progress in your work and life, why not email me to see how we could work together?

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2 Responses to Isn’t it a bit of a risk?

  1. Abigail Alldis says:

    I love this post. I had coaching from Michelle while at future but nothing has prepared me for what I’ve been through in the past year. I took a risk when I said yes to my husband’s marriage proposal five days after meeting him. He has no fear of failure, despite 2 of his businesses going bust, whether that is convincing me to run pop up restaurants in out front room, host a campsite for the Tour de France, start a stall In borough market or start making soaps and lip balms from his bees. He is a mental entrepreneur, and I’m a compulsive worrier and somewhere in the middle, we meet. Yes we’had failures, but we’ve also had successes never possible If I’d said no to the risks.

    • Abi, thanks so much for commenting. It was a pleasure to coach you whilst you were at Future. It’s been amazing to watch how your life has unfolded over the last year – what a whirlwind! Your story is full of risks worth taking!

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