Life is a risk. It is remarkable to think about what complex and fragile physical beings we are and all the incredible physical and intellectual feats of which we are capable of. Giving birth is a risk. Being born is a risk. Learning to walk is a risk. Driving in a car is a risk. Raising children is a risk. Being alive is a risk.

Not all risks are created equal. There are many types and degrees of risk we can identify. We take physical risks when we learn skills like skiing, gymnastics, figure-skating or scuba-diving. We go on adventures involving travel and sometimes try one-time adventure sports like parasailing, biking across the state, hang-gliding or riding a zip line through a canopied rain forest. Age is a limiter for many, but others of us continue to take risks well into our advanced years. Some women become even more adventurous as they grow older.

We also take risks in other realms. These can be intellectual risks, financial risks, emotional risks, interpersonal risks, sexual risks or risks of cultivating and expressing creativity. Whether we are starting a business, leaving an emotionally abusive marriage, starting to show and sell our own creative works or investing in real estate or the stock market, we all take chances in our daily lives knowing that the outcomes of our efforts are uncertain and some projects will inevitably fail. We must be able to tolerate uncertainty and sometimes a failure in the service of the achievement of our goals in order to continue taking the risks that will ultimately lead to fulfillment and satisfaction.

A mature approach to taking risks involves looking realistically at what it will cost—physically, emotionally, financially, and in terms of the devotion of time when deciding whether to take a risk. It’s OK to risk on long-shot outcomes—such as becoming President of the United States—if you recognize the risks and feel the potential outcome is worth the gamble. Let’s about the risks we have taken in our lives, our resilience and the risks not taken.

Questions to Consider:
1) What are a few of the risks you have taken that you felt was well worth taking?
2) Talk about a risk that led to a satisfying result and a risk that perhaps didn’t pan out, but which helped you grow in an important way.
3) Share any risks not taken that you wish you had taken. What held you back?
4) Talk about an interpersonal, emotional, or self-exploration risk you took that was difficult but important. Are there risks that you would still be interested in taking now?

Created by Dr. Beth Firestein for Wise Women Group. [Copyright 2019]