Too scared to take a risk – become a superhero?



Life is all about risk.  You take risks every day; otherwise you would never get out of bed.  If you stayed in bed there would be a risk associated with that too. People who take risks get more of what they want from life and those who do not get less. You just can’t escape risk so why not expand your horizons and become your own risk taking superhero.

Acceptable risk-taking is the name of the game – so, what makes a risk acceptable?   As nothing is risk free, acceptable risk taking means that if the odds are stacked in your favour then you do it – using the 80/20 rule here can be helpful – if there is an 80% or more chance of success then go for it.  Ask yourself “what’s the worst thing that can happen?” It’s amazing how many people have told me that this simple question has transformed their lives as they came to realise that there was nothing that awful that could happen. It’s your perception and once you challenge this, you find there really isn’t anything to worry about.  What’s more you come to realise that you can deal with any consequences that might arise.

The following exercise can be helpful.


  1. Write out a list of all the things you have been avoiding – people, places and activities.
  2. Write down a fear rating on a scale of 0 – 10 against each item on your list. A 10 equals the scariest and 0 equals not scary at all.
  3. Now take an item that is around a 4 and make the decision to do it this week. When changing behaviour you need to start with something that has some difficulty, otherwise you would never learn.  However, no point taking the worst item off your list as that is akin to diving into the deep end of a swimming pool when you cannot swim.
  4. Write out a detailed action plan outlining each step of the process. For example, Mike felt that his friend Jane expected him to drop everything when she wanted his help.  She never considered that although he would try to help, he couldn’t always be on call as he had a life too.  He worked his way through the following list.
  • Ring Jane and arrange a time to see her
  • Write down what I want to say
  • Practice saying what I have to say
  • Think about any support systems that will help, e.g. a friend I can discuss my proposed actions with
  • Identify any negative thoughts that may stop me completing the task. Then work through these one by one challenging my thoughts.  Look for alternative explanations; ask myself if it were my best friend in the same situation what would I say?

If you are rejected don’t take it personally.  After all, the other person may be busy, tired or upset from something that has happened in his or her life.  It may be possible that you have felt rejected in the past and are trying to avoid the same thing happening again so now you avoid any situation where you think a rejection could occur. Yet doing so limits rather than expands your abilities.

Everyone gets rejected at some time or another. The question is are you going to allow a let-down to stop you from getting what you want, asking for what you need and saying what you feel? Is it really possible to live a life where you are just a passive bystander worrying about everything and everyone?

You can become your own superhero if you are prepared to take an active role shaping your own life.  You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.


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