Frisk It Before Your Risk It
Have you ever watched Law & Order, COPS, NCIS, Chicago PD, Criminal Minds, or any other crime drama? The love of crime shows runs so deep in our culture today. As millions of us have watched our favorite on-screen detectives, correctional officers, or police officers frisk someone, we’ve seen them tell the person in question to put their hands on the wall, spread their legs, then they pat them down to make sure they’re not hiding anything that would put their safety in question.
So what’s the point of all this? Well, it’s not to be able to tell whether the person has been eating too many chips or hitting the gym every day! Instead, it’s how the official manages their risk. They’re making sure they’re covering all their bases — making sure things are safe — before moving forward. If the suspect has been identified correctly, and if the frisk is performed perfectly, then the outcome is successful.
The fact of the matter is that taking risks is simply the price of admission to achieving the highest success. Now, you may not be in law enforcement — I’m not. But the idea of managing your risk before taking action remains constant in all our lives. So how do you go after bigger success and make sure you don’t lose everything in the process? Here are 7 questions to help you feel out, pat down, “frisk a risk” before you move ahead.
1. Does this align with my values?
Success can be sexy. But achieving a certain level of success and landing in a place that takes you away from who you are at your core…that can lead to a life of unrest. Make sure the risks you take align with your values so you never end up in a place you didn’t actually want to be.
2. Does this align with my prioritized goals?
Do you know what is most important to you — and in what order? There will be times where you have an opportunity — potentially a risk — you can take, but the timing may not be right. There have been times in my life where my career has had to take a backseat to my kids. Both were important to me, but one more than the other in different seasons of life. Make sure that the risks you take align with what you’re trying to achieve in this season of life.
3. What do success and failure look like here?
If you don’t know what success and failure look like post-risk, how will you know when to celebrate or re-evaluate? Get clear on the possibilities.
4. If I fail, can I live with the consequences?
Let’s say you have a risk that requires a financial investment. If this risk ends up unsuccessful, can you live with that? If you have a family of five, you may choose not to spend every last penny you have, cash out your retirement, and get a second mortgage in order to make it happen. You might not want your family to live with those consequences.
On the other hand, if you’re in a situation where you might just have to eat sandwiches at home for a while versus eating out at restaurants in order to make the financial investment, that risk may have consequences you can live with. Maybe you’re evaluating a risk that could lose you some friends. Is that worth it to you? Whatever the consequence, ultimately, you have to make the decision on whether or not you can live with the consequences.
5. What is my backup plan?
Manage the risk. Plan ahead. If things go south, make a plan — in advance — to get back up and land on top.
6. Do I understand the risk?
Sticking with the opening crime drama illustration, if I was trying to get into a bank to take care of a hostage situation, I’d want to understand the layout of the bank before I went in, right? If I didn’t understand the bank layout or where the offender could run or hide, then I’d be risking my safety and everyone else’s. If I fully understand the risk, then I know exactly how to move as things change.
7.Am I fully prepared?
A risk becomes a lot less scary when you’re prepared for it. Once you understand the risk, you need to prepare for what could happen. If I were going into that bank I just mentioned, I might make sure that I have the right size team and the right resources to handle the situation whether things go perfectly or totally sideways.
If you’re speaking to someone new, make sure you’ve done your homework and know exactly how you’re going to adapt your communication to connect with them. If your risk requires you to sell a product, make sure you know everything about the product and can easily answer questions about it when asked by a potential buyer. Whatever the risk, make sure you’re prepared to show up in the best way.
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The Inevitable Endeavor
TIME Magazine says the reason we’re obsessed with crime dramas is that “it triggers the most basic and powerful emotion in all of us—fear…It allows us to experience fear…in a controlled environment where the threat is exciting but not real.”
Fear…it’s exciting in theory, but only when the danger isn’t really there. Fear…it’s the exact reason too many people aren’t living up to their full potential. They don’t take the risks because they’re afraid.
But when it comes to achieving success, risk is inevitable. So while you might not be able to stop the feeling of fear from showing up, what you can do is reason it down. You can answer these questions to guide you toward the risks most likely to pay off.
So, I challenge you to “frisk the risk.” Then, even if fear is there, take action anyway. The most successful among us oftentimes reach their peak with fear chasing their tail the whole way.
How read are you to take the risk? Share your comments below.
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