Aren't you afraid of taking risks now? I get asked that question still. Over three years after a dramatic resignation from the Obama Administration, people still want to know: how do you feel about taking a risk.
First, there is risk and then there is risk. The risk that really causes terror is the risk you don't know that you are taking. In a complicated world such as ours, we don't always know that we are taking risks -- with our money, with our eating habits, with our travel decisions. We don't always know whether our colleagues or employees are making choices that could damage us. Despite being in the information age, we aren't really living in the full-awareness age. That's scary.
In the (shadowed) face of those risks, we have deep philosophical and perhaps spiritual choices. Will we let our anxieties about the unknowns dominate? Or will we focus instead on our capabilities, tenacity, and confidence? I think about that often and continue to coach and coax myself into the light. Living in those shadows can be debilitating.
Second, when I take creative risk, I do not flinch, worry, or fear. Creative risk is a different animal. I used to lump risk into one big ball but I'm learning that we need to parse it better. There are risks to analyze: legal, financial, market, product, and logistics. Each of those includes a cacluclus about probabilities, upsides, and downsides. Those downsides can rattle the nerves. However, where and when risk is about creative expression or innovation, I simply don't have the same fear-factor.
Being creative is about putting myself out there, setting a part of me out in the sun for others to see. There is vulnerability associated with that, yes. But, there is so much more. Taking creative risk is being my own person. It's deeply about being myself. It is also a chance to spark others' creativity, to get a response, to build another layer of possibilities. Why fear that? What is scary about being me, about sharing and, about inviting a conversation and engagement?
Am I afraid of taking risk? The question is simple but the answers are not.
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