5 signs you need to take a risk in your career

“Taking risks in life helps us learn what we like and what we don’t. Some risks can lead to making wiser decisions later on. Taking risks can be exciting and fun. Some risks can come at a greater cost than others.”

Por Jeff Figueroa

I write about uniting core values and relationships with work.

Risk-taking is not the only determinate to success, but it is an important influencer when well-timed and utilized strategically.

   Jeff Bezos famously quit his well-paying job as a senior vice-president at a hedge fund to start Amazon in his garage. It’s a prime example of an extraordinary career built by taking a dramatic risk.

    But keep in mind that he had an elite education and a highly marketable skill set to fall back on. He also had parents that provided security against ending up destitute and an investment in his startup of close to $250.000. So while he took a risk, it was a calculated risk and one he knew he could recover from if it failed.

     Numerous career decisions, from whether you jump at a challenging assignment, stay at a job or seek a new one, go back to school, pivot to a new field or start your own business are fueled by your relationship with risk. But how do you know when you are ready to take a leap of faith or when you should stay the current and safer course?.

     Risk gets all the glory in success stories, but there are extensive benefits to being practical and to cultivating patience in your career and in life in general. The trick is to know when to be cautions and when to be daring.

     Look for these five signs to determine if it’s the right time for you to shake up your work life and take a calculated risk in your career.

Taking a risk to achieve a goal requires courage to face the fear of uncertainty. No matter the outcome, either way, we grow through the process and become more resilient and confident. Better yet, building those skills helps in taking more risks and improves the chances of achieving future goals.

«If you don’t take risks, you’ll have a wasted soul.»

― Drew Barrymore.

1. You are self-sabotaging

Because you are bored what once was an exciting and stimulating job can grow boring and stagnant over time, which is a dangereous point in any career.

Boredom can be one of the most destructive emotions in your professional and even personal life. When working bored, you don’t give your all. You pay less attention to the details at your job, and lose your edge. You may even haphazardly or deliberately damage relationships because you aren’t being as thoughtful as you used to.

If you have a sinking suspicion that you have been sabotaging what was once a positive and inspiring work environment, it is a sign that may be ready to risk leaving the safety of your current job and move your career in a new direction.

2. You have hit a ceiling and are wasting potential

There are points across any career where your rate of advancement slows; this is especially true the higher up the corporate ladder you climb. While you can have a fruitful work life and not get promoted, make sure you are not limiting yourself.

Hitting a ceiling at your current job or within a particular business venture is only a problem if your gut is telling you that you were meant to do more. If so, do not ignore this feeling. Doing so will ultimately lead you to become disengaged and resentful.

Start planning your exit toward a new goal before things get too bad. Risks do not have to be flippant and abrupt. In fact, I would advise you against those types of moves.

Use your gut instinct as an indicator that you are ready to seek a bigger, riskier opportunity, but do not make a move until you have spent time gathering data, building a support  system and mitigating security concerns by developing  a larger safety net.

3. Your fears do not stand up to scrutiny

You have spent months or even years thinking about all the things that scare you about making a change. Yet when you share these fears with trusted friends and colleagues, they do not seem nearly as alarmed as you do.

This is a sign that you have overblown your concerns and have probably been weighing the risk to reward calculation incorrectly. Before you dismiss a new opportunity or lose momentum altogether, make sure you have throughly discussed it with at least two or three people you trust to give you career and business advise. Leverage your relationships to help you make the best decision and time your risk appropriately.

4. Your life is in flux anyway

Moments of transition in your personal life create a natural inflection point in your career. Transitions can uproot and change your self-concept, need for security and overall home dynamics which creates a natural desire to reconfigure your work life as well. These transitions may include such events as major relocations, starting or ending life partnerships, parenting evolutions, empty nesting, recovering from a health challenge, losing a loved one, or simply realizing that you finally have enough saved to retire.

If you happen to find yourself in a time of transition, you may feel an increased pressure to re-evaluate your career path. Do not dismiss this as an emotional reaction. It is often the final push you have been needing to move closer toward the life you truly want.

Work and home life go hand in hand so if you are changing one, be sure to reassess the other to keep them in alignment.

5. You are being called

Callings are specific talents that you feel an emotional, and perhaps spiritual, pull to use for the benefit of a deeper purpose. Most often, these callings are not lifelong vocations but instead of an important new project or career pivot that dranatically enhances and build upon life’s work.

In some ways, it is harder to be called to use your talents in a job or business venture versus a volunteer opportunity on social mission. Knowing that you can indeed make money while pursuing your calling is confusing and leaves many people questioning their motives and struggling to determine how much risk is too much. But career and business ventures can indeed be callings that have significant impact on the world. If you know deep down that your desire to pursue a riskier career path is rooted in a calling, you will remain restless in all areas of your life until you choose to follow it. It is a larger risk to wait.

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