One man’s Risk is another man’s Certainty. One man’s Challenge is another man’s Comfort. One man’s Stress is another man’s Rest. We are all different and face day to day challenges in different ways. Some of us also take risks with our health and safety. Have you ever heard of someone jumping off a cliff or high bridge with a piece of elastic around their feet? This sounds very risky to me however, for the adrenaline junky it is great fun and they enjoy the thrill of falling to the earth. They will even pay money for the experience! The Macau tower in China is one of the longest bungee jumps in the world and jumpers accelerate to a top speed of 124 miles per hour (200km/h) over 17 seconds! I cannot imagine what crazy person would even consider this. My stomach starts to turn and I feel sick even thinking of this. Some people love it, Why?
A risk to you or me may not be a risk to someone else. We all assess risk in different ways. We assess risk to our health, relationships, investments, work and career. All parts of our life have some element of risk and without some risk there are no rewards. We take a risk in some areas of our life like extreme sports but in our career we may stick with the mundane job we have done for many years.
I was reminded of a historical event that I read about some time ago. In February 1519, Hernando Cortez, a Spanish naval captain, commanded 11 ships with over 600 soldiers and sailors. He headed to Mexico to conquer the Aztecs and take the rare jewels, gold and silver treasurer. When his men were on the shore, Cortez then commanded his men to ‘Burn the Boats’. The men were outraged and didn’t know how they were going to return home to their families. Cortez said that when they beat the Aztecs they would use the captured boats to return home.
Cortez left his men with NO return to their homes, NO comfort, NO contingency, NO Disaster Recovery Plan and NO Plan B. Sometime we give ourselves a backup plan and psychologically that becomes the main plan. Our plan B becomes Plan A and we lose the focus to drive for our goals.
As we review this historical account we may say that Cortez took a big Risk, but for him it was a Certainty. He thought, ‘we take the treasurer or die doing it’. Burning the boats certainly gave his men the correct incentive and motivation to beat the Aztecs. History tells us he was right to take the risk and maybe if he had not given the command to ‘Burn the Boats’ he may have lost the battle and never returned home.
If you are faced with situation that you find risky then ask yourself;
- Is there a book on the subject, YouTube video or other self-help materials I can use?
- Do I know someone who has done this before? (If they can do it – I can do it).
- Is there an expert in this area who is successful who can assist me?
- Can I ask a coach to help me to talk through and select the best option?
- Can I split this task or project into smaller steps that are less ‘risky’ in my own eyes?
- Is my backup plan developed to reduce risk or is it going to drive me into accepting Plan B?
Make a decision and step forward. Don’t let the situation paralyze you into doing nothing. To wait and do nothing is the riskiest decision of all. Those that fail to take risks will always work for those that do. If you are faced with a risky situation then follow the advice, ‘Burn your Boats’,make the jump and grow your wings on the way down…
Making Steps and Leaving Footprints…