Friday, December 29, 2006

Success Requires Some Risk

Success requires risk, and risk requires guts. Success demands that you stretch your boundaries and challenge your limits. History honors the daring but forgets the fainthearted. Virtually all of the great achievements in human history are the result of risk-taking. Every successful venture, breakthrough innovation, and technological advance was achieved because someone took a risk.

The rewards of risk are enormous, but most people never dare to embrace it. Why? Because every risk carries the possibility of failure. That's what immobilizes most people. They're just plain scared to fail. But if you don't attempt great things you will never achieve greatness.

When Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca reflected on the risks he took in business, he observed, "I have to take risks every day. I'd rather not, but the world doesn't give you that option. You're never going to get what you want out of life without taking some risks."

When you enter into a risky venture, there are specific steps you can use to minimize the possibility of failure. Here's an acronym to help you remember how to master RISK-taking:

Research: Never incur blind risk. Before taking any significant risk, gather all relevant information. Assess the potential for both gain and loss. Your research should provide a big-picture summary of the probability of success and the possibility of failure. Make sure the probability of gain outweighs the possibility of loss.

Invest: Count the cost. Never risk what you can't afford to lose. There's no such thing as "risk-free" success. Your risk will cost you in time, energy, and money. Know what you will need to invest, and be prepared to pay up.

Strategize: What are the exact steps you need to take to make your venture succeed? What people or organizations should you involve? How will you market your product or service? These are the fundamental questions that your success rides on. Most people attempt to strategize after they've incurred risk. By then it's too late. Formulate your strategy at the beginning so you can hit the ground running--not just hit the ground.

Know your critics are wrong: There will be plenty of people who believe your idea is impossible, who swear it can never be done. The same thing was said to every great innovator, from Ben Franklin to Bill Gates. Opposition cannot be avoided, but it can be transcended. Refuse to listen to negative, critical people.

If you've followed these keys and feel you are facing a wise risk, go for it.

Don't be intimidated. The thrill of a lifetime awaits you. Go ahead ... Jump!

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