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Risk Taking Can Unlock Your Fullest Potential

Risk Taking Can Unlock Your Fullest Potential

Risk Taking Can Unlock Your Fullest Potential

Taking risks in life is essential for living it, at its fullest. Most of us believe that taking a chance is something associated with our early years of life when we did not have much to risk. When you don’t have a family, don’t have responsibilities for others, you have plenty of time to waste on taking chances with your life.

People prefer risks at an early age because they want to play it safe when they have families later in life. John A. Shedd says, “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for”.

Just as a ship can’t reach a destination by staying in the harbor, we as humans can’t reach the dawn of our destiny by playing it safe. So, it doesn’t matter which age group you belong to, or what you have to risk taking a chance towards a better life. 

All that matters is that you take chances, because it is quintessential for a better life.

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk… in a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” ~ Mark Zuckerberg

The examples of Kylie Jenner, Mark Zuckerberg and many others who took chances and became a success in their teenage years, are great. However, there are people who started amazing journeys in the second half of their life. 

Jimmy Wales founded Wikipedia at age of 35. The founders of McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Kentucky Fried Chicken established their business when they were above 50.

There is no specific age when it comes to the best time to take risks. It is always a good time to take a chance and that time is NOW.

“No one ever got a trophy for playing it safe.”

Perquisites of Taking Chances

Taking chances and risks are essential to learn and grow. When you take risks, just as success is possible, so is failure. Both are part of the process of learning and growing. When it comes to learning, you learn more from failures than from success. Same is the case of growth. You grow when you fail.

“Taking chances is what makes you learn and grow.”

Risk taking makes you more confident, more innovative and more successful. Every time you take a chance it adds value to you as a person. You become more productive because you start thinking differently.

There are plenty of ideas and opportunities that come to mind to all of us. Only risk takers can avail of these opportunities. These opportunities can take you to another reality and can turn life upside down for you. Those who don’t take risks, end up only with regrets.

Another benefit of taking chances is that it helps you gain clarity about what you actually want from life. For most people, their goals are not clear. They oscillate between their passion and purpose. Either they pursue their passion and spend their lives regretting having sacrificed their sense of purpose, or the other way around.

“Only by taking chances and putting your own desires and convictions to the test, can you get clear about what is important to you.”

Chances bring freedom. You begin to feel that you can do whatever you wish to do. By pursuing your instincts, you end up inventing and reinventing yourself. If you would spend your whole life doing a 9 to 5 job, you might never know that you have an artist inside you. 

You may never discover that you could have been a great event manager. You may never write that book that could help countless lives, without taking a chance on yourself.

“It is quintessential to take chances to get to know yourself.”

How to Overcome the Fear of Risk Taking

The foremost reason for not taking chances is that we are always waiting for some kind of enlightenment towards success. Something that magically changes the course of our lives for the better. But life doesn’t work like that.

“You don’t need to wait for any magic to finally take a chance in your life. You have to be willing to reinvent yourself to experience a magical life.”

We often don’t take chances because of fear of the risks. As we get older, we have even greater fears of failure, because there is much more at stake. All these fears are created by our mind because most of us are more concerned with outcomes, rather than growing and learning. 

All you need to do, is overcome these mental barriers. The best way to do that is to figure out your fear and create a mantra for yourself that can re-program your mind.

You may want to take a chance at something new, but are surrounded by multiple fears like: what would happen if you fail; what others would think about your failure; what are you putting at risk. 

My advice to you is to listen to your inner voice and do what you want to do without overthinking the outcomes.

“There are no failures in life, only lessons and growth opportunities — but they only come to the bold willing to take risks.”

Trust yourself while taking chances. Henry Ford’s phrase explains it perfectly “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, You’re right.” 

Override all doubts and trust yourself that you can get better than what you have to put at risk. Your trust in yourself can take you to a better reality.

This is the case with Bo Berg who is 54. Bo was recently a life coach guest of my podcast Rant & Grow. Bo hasn’t taken many chances in his life because he has been putting his family first. 

This came with some perceived sacrifice, but he got a lot of personal growth and learning out of the decision to pursue a higher purpose. Some of the chances he did take, were forced on him at an early age, and others he managed on his own. Every one of them turned into growth opportunities and a sense of personal freedom.

In my coaching session with Bo, we uncovered how to overcome his fear to reinvent himself for his life’s second act. The kids are older, the marriage ended, the 18-year career ended as well. Now what is he going to do? Will he take risks to discover more about himself?

I’d like to invite you to listen to our coaching session. If you’ve been sitting on the fence about taking a chance in your life, you’ll find some tools and motivation in this podcast episode, to move forward. Just click on the play button to listen to the podcast right here.

Business Innovation Brief

Autonomy Increases Employee Loyalty

Autonomy Increases Employee Loyalty

Autonomy Increases Employee Loyalty

Most celebrated columnist and cartoonist Frank Tyger says, “Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness.” Autonomy brings both to the workplace.

Autonomy at work is about bestowing employees with discretion and independence to schedule their work and to regulate how it is to be done on their own terms.

“Autonomy is not anarchy. It requires accountability, rewards, and governance. It’s just not driven top down. It’s self-administered.”

Traditionally exercised by senior level employees, autonomy is about decentralization. In modern organizational structures, such as self-managed, shared authority, and flatter organizations, autonomy on the job translates into increased job satisfaction.

The more autonomy employees have, the more devoted towards work they become. With autonomy you also experience reduced relational barriers between people. Studies show that more autonomous company structures translate into the best financial company performance.

“When people have more choices to shape their working environment, they are happier, more committed, engaged in their jobs, more productive and most loyal to the organization.”

How to Create a More Autonomous Organization

The first step towards achieving organizational autonomy is to hire autonomous people. Hire people who can naturally engage without the need for commands, controls, or rigid structures. Simply provide them with what they need. Let them know what is expected. Reward them when they take risks that translate into learning and growing opportunities, and let them be.

Finally, treat them and respect them as grown adults worthy of trust in their abilities as autonomous employees.

When management doesn’t trust people, it turns to micromanagement tactics. Watching people constantly, and trying to control every step. People feel treated more like machines which ultimately limits their desire and ability to contribute value.

“Treat people with respect by not referring to them as assets, resources, capital, or things to be leveraged.”

The other aspect to properly implement autonomy at work is to handle mistakes with patience. Hyper-critical management is destructive to people’s morale. It kills self-initiative, and consequently employee engagement.

“Employee engagement is crucial for companies to achieve success.”

Giving employees toys to play with together isn’t going to increase engagement. Setting them free to be themselves and encouraging collaboration without top-down controls will increase engagement.

The key to creating autonomy at work is to give lots of choices with clear expectations and mutually agreed goals and timelines. Without mutual agreements among the people involved, you can end up with lack of coordination, irregularities and in severe cases, anarchy.

“A strong system to hold each other accountable, is essential for autonomy to flourish.”

For example, at Nearsoft we have this understanding that no one person can fire you, but anyone can fire you. Autonomous teams thrive on the commitment to help each other win.

There is an implicit sense of accountability to each other. Unlike traditional command and control structures, where someone can literally hide out for months from the boss, there is no hiding out in a shared-authority team environment.

Most companies have co-dependent leadership models which aren’t healthy or empowering. On the other side of this spectrum, complete independence can translate into chaos. What has proven to work is interdependence. 

This is highlighted in the “Declaration of Interdependence” by the Radical movement started by a few of us committed to encouraging more freedom at work.

Autonomy Equals Loyalty

Allocating autonomy to employees creates a sense of implied responsibility. With increased autonomy, employees feel more accountable for the results. This sense of responsibility brings out the most creative side of people.

In addition to more creativity, other personality traits such as conscientiousness and extroversion come to life as well.

“More autonomy results in increased productivity due to the sense of ownership it creates.”

Autonomy is the mother of amazing inventions. In a controlled environment, working robots taking direction will never be able to innovate. Control kills employees’ talents.

One of the best inventions coming out of autonomy in our modern age is 3M’s Post-It Notes. It was discovered by a scientist during off-time allocated by the company for employees to pursue their own ideas.

Google used to give 20% time to its people to do something on their own that could add to the company’s value.

“There is a virtuous cycle between autonomy and motivation. Google’s AdSense and Gmail were outcomes of more autonomy.”

By providing autonomy, an organization expresses trust in the decisions and actions of their employees. With autonomy, people become highly motivated to express themselves fully. They step up, and explore the best ways to accomplish tasks.

When an employee is assigned a project, and is given complete autonomy to get the best results in that project, it is natural for that employee to start owning that project. This sense of ownership creates a more personal relationship between the employee and the organization.

As people begin to feel their part in the success of the company, they develop a stronger desire to stay attached to those accomplishments.

“The attachment to the success of the company translates into long-lasting loyalty.”

In various studies, autonomy has been found to foster job satisfaction. Employees with freedom in the workplace feel happiness and enjoy their work. The workplaces where employees’ suggestions are counted, and actions are appreciated, become the best places to work.

A sense of options and choice allows people to accomplish tasks wholeheartedly rather than acting on command. They want to work in an autonomous environment forever.

“By giving autonomy, organizations invite their employees to contribute to the success of the company, instead of dictating it. Working directly for the success of the company rather than working on managerial orders, creates an emotional attachment for employees.”

Conclusion

In recent years, more organic structures rely on autonomy, empowerment, and participation of the employees to succeed. Autonomy creates a sense of responsibility that motivates employees to fulfill their responsibility with the desire for the company’s success.

When their performance is appreciated, and they are rewarded with more autonomy, they work even harder. They start feeling an urge to be a considerable part of the success of the company. Employees get more engaged with their work, and the overall performance of the company, and they keep thinking up more innovative ways to contribute. 

Autonomy at work results in increased emotional attachment with the company and loyalty.

Companies who make an effort to create an autonomous work environment, are most likely to end up with more devoted and loyal employees who will be most concerned about the success of the business.

Business Innovation Brief

How to Motivate Yourself When It’s Most Difficult

How to Motivate Yourself When It’s Most Difficult

How to Motivate Yourself When It’s Most Difficult

We always show up our best when we are optimistic, hopeful, confident and resourceful with clear thinking and vision. When we are enthusiastic and highly motivated with envisioned purposes, lined-up desires, and set goals, we are operating with high emotional intelligence.

But life rarely behaves that way. Sometimes we get the blues that blur importance of our purpose and slow down our goals. This faded importance of life makes us feel down, and the foremost thing we lose in this gloomy state is motivation.

“With faded destinations any path loses faith, but life is too short to spend any of it in hibernation.”

It is highly desirable to get out of this feeling to pursue what we are living for — achieving our goals. It sounds much easier than done. Getting out of these down moods often requires a targeted effort by ourselves and a few external actors.

Psychologists agree that there are two ways to get motivated. It either comes from inside or external factors. Extrinsic motivation is driven by an incentive offered for completing a task or a warning of potential loss.

Such motivations or triggers may work for a mechanical task with repetitive actions, but it is completely ineffective or even drastic for most of the tasks that are creative in nature.

Tips to Trigger Self-Motivation

There is always something inside everyone that kindles motivation. It could be a goal of achieving mastery in a field of study, or work; a desire to buy the latest luxury car model, or a purpose to serve others.

“Most of the time, reasons for feeling down in motivation is an increased gap between you and your goals.”

Research suggests figuring out what you personally respond to best. Identify that trigger, which reinforces importance for you to reaffirm your goal, and tell yourself that you are working for a cause.

“When you associate achieving your goals with something meaningful in your life, that association can be a powerful motivator to keep you on track.”

Loss aversion is a very strong stimulus to induce motivation. Remind yourself that by being lazy, you are putting many important things at risk. It could be money, relationships, your career, or even the ultimate goal of your life.

It’s not about forcing yourself into doing a task out of fear, but a method to remind yourself that it can cost you a lot. Mentally connect missing a goal to something significantly meaningful to you, a life or death situation you create and control in your own mind.

Feeling bad about being demotivated leads to making matters even worse. It whispers negativities in your ear about your capabilities. Depression feeds on negative emotions, such as self-pity, self-doubt, fears, and feeling overwhelmed. Try to identify these negative thoughts and avoid them. Consciously replacing negative soundtracks with positive words will eradicate laziness caused by negative thinking.

Find a couple of short and motivating affirmations based on what motivates you personally. These affirmations steer your mind off of negative thoughts. Affirmations are a concise single sentence or phrase. It doesn’t matter how cheesy or tacky they may sound, all that matters is hearing them encourages you to move forward.

For example, you can tell yourself repetitively, “No mood swings can stop me”, or “Nothing is tougher than my commitment to my own success”.

Self-berating induces self-negation and pushes us in even darker zones where no ray of hope can reach to motivate us. Try self-compassion. Pause and acknowledge your efforts. Tell yourself that it is normal and everyone experiences feeling down, overwhelmed or unmotivated.

“Offer yourself kindness, rather than being harsh and critical about yourself. Remember that your productivity doesn’t weigh your self-worth.”

No one can expect to complete all tasks during their down modes that were laid out in a high-spirit state of being. Both energy levels are drastically different. However, pushing yourself to go into action when you feel down is a proven way to get yourself back on track.

“Being in action is what induces motivation, not the other way around”

Instead of waiting until you feel motivated, give yourself a little push towards action. Cut short your expectations and try to perform a chunk of the tasks at hand. Once that is completed, you will begin to be more into the work. This will allow you to raise the bar and perform the next step. You are re-establishing your normal flow.

Tightly packed schedules with strict deadlines and a lot of work remaining to be done, prove detrimental when you are feeling down. You start to think it’s impossible to accomplish anything in time. The same is the case when you have a lot of instructions and boundaries.

You get stuck and decide that you can’t do anything. In such a situation, increase your autonomy. With increased autonomy and responsibility, you would be intrinsically motivated to put your best efforts forward. This also begs for reason why companies need to give employees more autonomy.

“Autonomy motivates people to get more done on their own terms.”

When feeling down, unmotivated, overwhelmed don’t give yourself time to dwell on the feeling. Wake up with as much vigor as you can muster. Make your bed. Shower and get dressed immediately. Perform a spontaneous act. Visit a mall, a bookstore, a theatre or a friend. Cooking something also helps to fight the sense of being down. Dressing up and grooming yourself can go a long way towards giving you a mental boost too.

If you need to perform more of a physical activity, you can try the reward technique. Decide a fun task or a treat for yourself after the job is done. For instance, if you need to organize your cubicle at the office and you are feeling lazy to do it, try inducing yourself with an incentive to have your favorite snack after it’s done.

There are multiple ways to accomplish a task when you feel down i.e. self-discipline, will power, etc. These tactics can be helpful for completion of tasks, but for the best performance you need to be triggered by intrinsic motivation.

“The way a highly motivated person works, leads to mastery and excellence. Tasks can be completed without motivation, but goals are impossible to achieve without it.”

To motivate yourself remember your goals. The cost of not being motivated. The importance of determination, and self-compassion. Positive affirmations and creating autonomy at work. These are all factors that can help you collect enough motivation to reach excellence even when you simply don’t feel like it.

Lastly, celebrate your wins and record them. Write weekly post-it notes of your wins and put them in a jar. Every time you feel demotivated, pull them out of the jar and read them to remind yourself of your accomplishments. 

This practice will give you the mental reminder of what it feels like to win, to be motivated, and remind yourself of how awesome you are.

Keep going!

Self-Motivation Tips Video

Business Innovation Brief

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