Career Tips for Women # 14

Take a Risk!

Where do you stand on risk taking? Teetering right on the brink or way back out of sight?

Getting the recognition you deserve in your career means taking a few risks now and again. In my experience women are often diffident about risk taking, particularly when it comes to giving their own opinions if they are contrary to others. Some of this can be put down to all that we know about how men and women communicate and differing styles, but it doesn’t have to stay like that!

What’s Your Risk Attitude?

Take a few moments to think about your attitude to risk. When you are stepping outside of your comfort levels at work how do you feel? All fired up and excited, if  a little scared? Or sweaty palmed, sleepless nights and sick to your stomach?

You’ll probably have areas where risk taking is easier than others. Like anything, the more you practise the easier it gets. Start with something relatively easy like offering an opinion that isn’t the same as the norm (assuming it is your opinion – you need to be genuine.)


Try following these steps:

  • Remember that success often comes from failure. We learn from our mistakes only if we critique ourselves honestly. Take out your previous ‘failures’ for a fresh look and list what you would do differently in the light of your subsequent experiences.
  • Calculate the risk. It doesn’t have to black and white, pass or fail. Give yourself a little room for manoeuvre. 70% successful can be enough.
  • Is the end result of the risk you want to take in line with your company’s mission/vision/business or are you stretching the boundaries too far? If it’s not easy for colleagues and managers to see the benefit your chances of success are very limited.
  • Don’t forget the basics. There are all sorts of fancy equations you can do to assess the risk but sometimes just a simple pros and cons list works well.

How do you manage risk?


Posted on March 30th, 2010 by

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