Cross-Train for Risk

Published by Thriving Erin on


Everybody wants to grow. When asked, we can almost all say something we want to get better at, some way we want to improve ourselves. Why then, do we so often settle for the status quo?

Change is scary. There’s no denying that the risk involved with the unknown is intimidating. No matter how much we plan and prepare, we can never eliminate all the risks involved with change. The only thing we can control is how we respond to the risks.


risk /risk/ (noun) the chance that what you define as success in a specific scenario will not occur


Rather than trying to minimize the larger risks, practice taking smaller risks — implementing smaller change. Implement change in areas of your life where the risks are not so high. Like any fitness training, it is about stretching ourselves within our capacity so we grow, but not so that we break.


Doing it this way has 5 benefits:

  1. the act of identifying small changes you can make in your everyday life will bring more clarity on how you can achieve your goals
  2. like slowly building muscle or losing weight, you will begin to increase your tolerance for risk and your ability to adapt to change will increase
  3. by choosing things in multiple areas of your life, you will learn many new skills and see improvement across your entire life
  4. growth builds, as you implement intentional change, each improvement will be building upon the last
  5. learning how to manage failure is a large part of learning how to handle change. By starting in areas of your life where the risk is smaller, the failure will be easier to recover from, but still teach valuable lessons.


It’s important to realize that change will never happen if you avoid the tension, if you don’t take the leap, if you don’t make the change. Growth and improvement never happen when we sit in our comfort zone. As the popular quote says, if you want results you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done.


Don’t be intimidated, you can start small.


If your dream scares you, that’s fantastic! Build up to it, start cross-training now. If your dream involves a big financial risk, start taking risks socially, or at work, or by physically challenging yourself. Build up your risk muscles and pretty soon, you won’t be as scared of your big dreams.


I’m not trying to dissuade you from making significant changes. If you’re inspired and passionate about a big change you want to make in your life, go for it! I’d love to hear all about it in the comments. But if there’s a change you’re thinking of implementing and it scares you, if you don’t know where or how to start, then this is a perfect method for you.


For example, if you’re dreaming of quitting your job and starting your own business in an unrelated field, there will naturally be a lot of risk involved. You can mitigate the risks, but you can’t eliminate them. So what can you do to prepare yourself for the stress, the pressure, and the potential failures lying ahead of you. Take small risks first! Perhaps you can start a blog and post it online, facing the risk that you will be criticized. Perhaps you can volunteer to run an additional project at work, facing the risk that the project will fail or you that you’ll struggle to lead others. Perhaps you can sign up for a race, facing the risk that you don’t find time to train and embarrass yourself by not finishing, or even injure yourself in training.


By facing these risks, by exposing yourself to the fear of failure, and overcoming them, you will strengthen your resolve, learn to control your fear, and be better prepared for the day when you finally make the leap and pursue the thing that scares you the most.


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