I work in academia. Better yet, I work in Student Affairs at an institution where there is an entire department of individuals — Risk Management– whose main function is to assess and manage potential risk. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about this, to be honest. I am fairly familiar with the types of activities that would raise a red flag with that department, and I generally avoid them. It’s so much easier than trying to dance around the red tape, especially when there are suitable alternative activities that don’t require all that extra effort. I’m not lazy; I just believe in working smarter rather than harder.
But risk has come up quite a bit lately, and each time it has come up, I realize more and more that I avoid risk all together. Choosing to avoid risky situations to keep my students safe and to utilize my time and resources in the work place seems like a smart, safe decision. But is it really smart and safe to avoid risk frequently in all aspects of life?
My pastor has been talking often about being “Bold for Christ.” While this idea probably isn’t new to many Christians, it certainly struck a chord with me. I don’t like to rock the boat. I also find it extremely important to be accepting and inclusive. But in the process, am I failing to be bold for Christ? Is He not worth the risk of offending if the intention is a good one?
I was on the questioning side of an interview recently and the word risk was introduced in the conversation. As one moves up in the work place, it would seem that you have greater responsibility. Is risk another necessary piece in climbing the professional ladder? Does an increase in responsibility by definition imply a greater level of risk?
And here I am reminded yet again as I sit reading Godin’s Poke the Box that our lizard brains “… relentlessly [exaggerate] the cost of being wrong.” No one likes to be wrong. But is being wrong really such a terrible thing? Is it not better to try something new and risk that it may fail, for on the flip side of that same failure is triumph and success– success that wouldn’t be possible without that initial moment of risk?
Risk seems like such a necessary part of life when I look at it in these contexts. And yet… and yet I know that risk-taking is something outside my comfort zone and not in my nature. I’m a true blue who prefers stability to change, assurances to risk. So how do I know this about myself and know the value of risk and somehow reconcile those two points?
What are your feelings on risk? What big risks have you taken in life and to what result?
- How Does Risk Management Create Value? (davisdyermax.wordpress.com)