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Learn the art of taking informed risks

Career Tips By Tania Ngima
Photo: Courtesy

Learn the art of taking informed risks

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Every forum I have attended over the last few months, has brought to the fore a taken-for-granted truth that is common in every level of society. But while we are aware of this fact, I do not think we take enough time to understand what it means at work or in your business and how to ensure that we harness it.

Without being stereotypical, of the two genders, women are more disinclined to take risks. This is a trait that is rooted in our physiology; given that we are the ones who carry and give birth to offspring, we are engendered to put ourselves in harm’s way, preferring instead to take the care giver and nurturer role.

However, no institution can survive on being purely risk averse or extreme risk-taking and it is therefore important to find a balance between the two. The dynamic becomes even more complicated when a woman is running a business, which at the start-up phase, relies on one individual to play all the roles. How then, can women embrace risk taking that does not feel alien to them but allows them to flourish in their various environments?

Gut feeling

Learn the art of taking informed risks. Everyone has a risk profile, and it is essential to understand yours so that you’re able to nurture it. Learn to listen to your gut feeling while gathering the facts you need to make a decision. Be very clear about the potential upsides and downsides of specific actions and how much of a gamble you are willing to tolerate.

Be inquisitive

You do not have to change who you are but you can change how you think and how you approach challenges in both the workplace and in business. Be willing to learn, and keep reminding yourself ‘no question is a stupid question’. In fact, even in the C-Suite, women will tell you that they ask the questions that most people at the table wish they had the courage to, and that allows them to grow more. Also, ask for feedback at every turn. However, be careful about taking all criticism on board by being discerning about what is based on fact versus opinion. Use this feedback as a learning experience.

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