In life, we’re faced with hundreds of choices. This is particularly true in our careers. Most of these choices we have to make with limited information. Dr. Travis Bradberry offered this great quote from Mark Twain which talks about one key that can influence the choices we make in our lives:
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” —Mark Twain
If you understand your “why”, then you’re in a much better place to evaluate the options you have before you. It’s like the famous scene from Alice in Wonderland where Alice runs into the Cheshire Cat. She asks which way she should go. The Chershire Cat asks her where she’s going and then offers this great line “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
Far too often in our careers, we don’t know where we’re going. If we don’t know where we are going then it doesn’t matter which way we go. In careers that can often be a really good thing. You can take risks and discover new areas of interest, new experiences and new opportunities that you wouldn’t have thought about previously. That can be an amazing thing for your career.
This quote captures the idea perfectly:
There’s a balance between excessive risk-taking and playing it safe. I’ve found the key for me is to be intentional about the decision. Risks are fine as long as I’m intentional about the choice I’m making. The same is true with playing it safe. Sometimes I intentionally want something a litle bit slower and safer. Depends on the time and season. There’s definitely a risk in playing it safe too.
What’s your take on playing it safe in your career? How do you approach risk?