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How to become a risk taker

Everyone has a different definition of "risk." For you, skydiving is an acceptable risk, but maybe starting a new relationship scares the pants off of you. Maybe you're comfortable asking for a promotion, but learning how to scuba dive is terrifying.

Risk is exposure to uncertain outcomes - and we all love uncertainty, right? Not.

So how do we even begin to move past the mental or emotional blocks that hold us back from our dreams? Well, you came to the right place. Here are a few tips to help you start taking risks - even small risks count.

  1. Give yourself permission to fail. Understand that when you try something new, you won't be good at it. You'll probably suck. Your first time doing karaoke could be a nightmare, but your 11th time might be solid gold. It might take dozens of submissions before your poem is published. Notice when you feel insecure, when you feel uncomfortable, when you feel small - and just feel that. Failure isn't the end of your dream, it's just guiding you to what you need to learn next.

  2. Listen to your gut. Is the risk you're taking something YOU want to do or is it someone else's goal for you? Your risk should feel authentic and exciting, even if it's scary as hell. The idea of NOT doing it can make you feel as terrified as the idea of actually doing it. It's okay. Learn to trust that your intuition is leading you where you need to be.

  3. Do your research. Just because it's a risk and out of your comfort zone doesn't mean you have to jump in without doing your research. Find the best place to help you learn mountain climbing or the best person to mentor you into a new position. Talk to people who are doing what you want to do. Get their ideas for best practices. Just be careful that you don't use this research stage as procrastination.

  4. Change your mindset. Notice how often your brain talks you out of taking risks. Whose voice is in your head? Is it your mom telling you to be safe and careful? Is it your high school teacher making you feel like an idiot? Is it your ex making you feel small? The more often you can identify and silence those voices, the more you'll be able to hear your true Self (see #2). Describe yourself as a risk-taker, as adventurous, as brave, as courageous and you start to believe it.

  5. Start small. You don't have to climb Mt. McKinley your first day of mountaineering. A TED talk shouldn't be your first public speech. Making a wedding cake probably won't be your first venture into the bakery business. Each small risk you take leads to greater opportunities. But each small risk should also feel a wee bit uncomfortable. You want to stretch - but not snap. Sign up for a public speaking course, use the climbing wall at the gym, or make cupcakes for your nephew's class. And then go one step further. Again. And again.

  6. You have just one life. When you're 104 years old, telling your great-great-grandkids about your life, will you wish you'd played larger? Take the dance class. Get the scuba certification. Ask for the raise. Wear bright colors. Start the podcast. Go to the parties. There are no limits. Live large.

Peri Kinder is the owner of Life & Laughter Coaching. She's a happiness coach, yoga and meditation instructor, and award-winning freelance writer. She is the host of the Life & Laughter podcast.

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