Are you a risk-taker?

Are you a risk-taker?

When we think of risk we may think about how risky it is to climb up a tall ladder or how risky it is to invest in a particular bond.

We will weigh up each situation and decide on the level of risk involved.

We will then measure this up against our personal ‘risk-ometer’.

The reading that comes from this will determine whether we take the action that we were thinking of.

We will all have a different idea of what we consider a reasonable level of risk.

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This will be down to different factors such as our upbringing, our character and our experiences in life.

How often do you assess a situation for its level of risk?

Do you feel that you never come into contact with risky things and so this isn’t relevant for you?

I would suggest that it’s relevant to all of us.

Just because you aren’t consciously aware of assessing risk, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t doing it.

If you park on a double yellow while you run into a shop you will have done a risk assessment.

You may not have called it that but you will have gone through the same thought process:

"What’s the likelihood of a traffic warden passing in the next 3 minutes?"

"What’s the likelihood of there being a queue at this time of day meaning that 3 minutes will be 5 minutes?"

"Do I care if I get a ticket and this trip to the shop costs me an extra £70 in fines?"

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The answers that you come up with will be measured against your personal risk-ometer and this will determine whether you park on the double yellows or not.

The chance of 2/10  for getting a ticket for some of us may be too high a risk and for others, a 9/10 risk may feel acceptable.

There are lots of situations that require us to determine risk.

Some are more obvious than others such as ‘How close can I stand to this cliff edge before there’s a danger of falling off?’

That’s an obvious one and we’ll be aware of making the assessment.

The type of risk assessment that I’d like to talk about is the type that you aren’t necessarily aware of carrying out and which could be hampering your life.

Let’s say that you will be arriving at a gathering of people.

It could be a party, a business meeting or a new choir that you are attending.

As you get closer to the venue, you are breaking out in a sweat worrying about what’s going to happen when you get there.

"What if no-one speaks to me?"

"What if I can’t think of anything to say?"

"What if they aren’t nice people?"

We think of this as being nervous.

What does being nervous mean?

My definition is that nervousness is the feeling that will arise when you assess a risk and deem it to be dangerous or unpleasant.

The same symptoms, ie feelings, will occur whether you are about to attend a meeting or abseil down a cliff.

You are assessing the situation and deeming it to be scary.

You are imagining all sorts of things:

‘What of the abseiling equipment breaks?’

‘What if the people at this event don’t like me?’

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The key thing here is that all of these things that you are imagining…you are imagining.

You are making them up.

They haven’t happened and the likelihood is that they won’t happen.

Nonetheless you are preparing for each scenario and getting yourself more and more uncomfortable in the process.

What if none if these things happened?

What would happen if the equipment was sound and you have a good time abseiling?

What would happen if everyone at the venue you were heading towards was lovely, friendly and welcoming towards you?

The thing that causes the nerves is you.

You are creating negative and scary stories to worry about when most of the time there is no real basis for them.

It is your expectation of things being bad that is causing the anxiety.

The event itself hasn’t had a look in yet so you’ve not idea whether it will be bad or not.

The point of me writing this article is to hopefully enable you to think through things further when you are next feeling nervous.

Remember that this feeling is created by you having done a risk assessment, very likely based on no real facts, and having deemed the situation to be worthy of concern.

Next time, re-think it.

Is there really a good solid reason to be nervous?

If you are worried that so-and-so might be at this event who will put you on edge, think again.

They might not be there.

Why not be happy in the anticipation of that eventuality instead?

If they are there then you will deal with it.

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Why focus on the potential negative when it isn’t a known fact.

Whatever the aspect of the event that’s making you nervous, apart from the fact that it might not happen anyway, you can take steps to lessen the impact of what's worrying you.

If that person that you don’t like is there, you can avoid them or you can refuse to allow them to affect you.

The former may not be practical and the latter is easier said than done I realise but the bottom line is that how you feel and react, is your choice.

(I do know that this isn’t easy to overcome on your own when it’s so ingrained. I help so many people to make these changes though so rest assured you aren’t stuck with it forever!).

Another point is that the feeling of nervousness is very often not even related to the thing that you are pinning it on.

You feel insecure and these insecurities are simply being highlighted by the actions or presence of this person or event.

With all of this in mind, the next time you feel nervous or anxious about something, give it a little bit of extra thought.

Remember that it is you that is creating this feeling, not the event or person.

You are setting your expectations such that you will have a bad time.

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In doing this, you are making yourself feel nervous.

You are setting those expectations very often with no real basis for doing so.

Is it possible that you can turn around your expectations?

Can you imagine the best rather than the worst?

Decide you are looking forward to it and enjoy that event!

What you are feeling is excitement not nervousness!

If you need any help you know where I am but otherwise, have fun doing this!

It will make your life much easier and more relaxed…..!

​Bye for now!

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by Jessica Hylands Confidence Coach

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