Archive for the ‘Risk’ Tag

Risk Averse   1 comment


One of the pitfalls that many organizations and individuals encounter is that they can easily become too risk averse.  What I mean by that is too often the fear of failure or a desire not to lose what has already been gained can lead organizations and individuals from avoiding taking on risk. In order for movement or change to occur, there is some level of risk which must be assumed.  However, too often in the culture of today, people run the opposite direction from anything which appears to be “risky.”

Now let me be clear, taking haphazard risks is never a good idea.  Yes, on rare occasions this approach may still lead to success but that is the exception, not the norm.  However, taking on some level of calculated risk is frequently necessary if progress is going to occur.  Progress means heading off of the status quo.  Whenever a person or organization moves from status quo, there is automatically some risk which is assumed.  The amount of risk being assumed and for what purposes must be measured and a decision regarding those items must be made.

Probably the greatest risk that people want to avoid is the risk of failure.  We tend to have a strong aversion to failure.  No one ever really likes to fail but failure can be a valuable learning tool.  If we fail and learn from that failure, we will grow and it can help us to progress in the areas of success.  Failure is truly only negative when we do not learn from those failures and we repeat the same actions or decisions which caused us to fail.  (Unfortunately, institutions often struggle to learn this.)

This whole process of thought came about during the study of a passage from the Bible which I am doing today.  So I encourage you to read Matthew 25:14-30.  I also encourage you to explore being a little more risky.

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Climbing the Ladder   1 comment


Alright, if you are one of those who does not pay attention to the titles place on blog posts, go back and read the title of this one now.

 

Now that everyone has the title in their minds, I am sure that many of you are thinking that I might be posting on something regarding climbing a corporate ladder.  While that might be applicable in this situation, that is not the direction that I am intending to take this post.  Instead, the title was triggered by a quote that I read which someone had posted on Twitter this morning.  Here is the quote:

“The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.” – Oprah Winfrey

I found this quote to be very thought-provoking.  I totally agree with the premise of what Oprah is saying here.  For me it has to do with being willing to take the risk and being willing to fail (or tumble).  I am the first to confess that I do not have a lot of that willingness in myself.  However, as I grow older, I am finding more and more willingness.  I attribute that to experience, observation, and a realization that only through some level of risk will I ever be able to grow and move toward my life goals.  I am becoming more and more the spokesperson for taking risks and accept times of tumbling.

These thoughts have allowed me to do some self-examination this morning.  I have thought about the times that I have chosen not to take the risk and climb the ladder to the high wire.  Through this self-examination, I have discovered that the problem is in the climbing the ladder.  Now I have never attempted to climb an actual ladder to an actual high wire but I am able to speculate what it might be like.  I would envision that the climbing of the ladder gives opportunity to do a lot of thinking.  With each rung, you realize that you are one step closer to that high wire and that once you arrive at the platform it will be expected that you step out on that high wire.  For me, that is where the problem lies.  I would overanalyze the situation.  I would most likely rationalize myself away from actually taking the step onto the high wire.  I think that is where my risk taking often becomes derailed.  I think through everything and determine that it is unwise to take the risk and so I do not.

However, Oprah’s words ring true.  If I am not willing to take the risk and step out on that high wire, knowing that I may tumble, I will never know what it is like to truly own the moment.

Image provided by dailymail.co.uk

Image provided by dailymail.co.uk

Posted March 6, 2014 by thoughtfulbeliever in Experiences, Life

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Death By Survival   Leave a comment


Risk It All

Risk It All (Photo credit: kylesteed)

Have you ever noticed that there are times in which organizations and companies end up killing themselves by trying to stay alive?  The individuals in leadership and/or those who are a part of the organization work so hard at maintaining what is established that they fail to see a need for a new direction.  Those same individuals put a lot of energy into continual use of the structure and techniques that they have always used.  They are so concerned about keeping the organization or company alive in the same way it has existed previously that they are killing it.

There are good arguments for using tested methods and approaches to keep an organization or company alive.  Those methods and approaches have been used and found to have success.  Almost everyone knows how to use them and many have become very proficient in executing them.  There is a level of comfort in knowing what to do and what expectations can be achieved when you do it.  After all, many of these perspectives and techniques worked effectively for those who have gone before us so there is no reason to believe that they will not be effective today.

In addition to the killing effect of using the methods and approaches of our past, the other killing behavior tends to be failure to risk resources.  What I mean by that is that when an organization or company is facing a downturn in success, they often tighten the belt.  They hold tighter to their money and other resources in an attempt to conserve and to wait out this down time.  The problem with this behavior is that it stifles creativity and taking risks with anything new.  So since there is not an inventive component being supported with resources, there is only a maintenance mode of operation instead of a growth mode of operation.

Jesus told his followers, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:25, NIV).  I think we could learn a lot from Jesus’ statement.  Companies and organizations must be willing to risk it all, even the life of their existence, in order to grow and to gain even more life.  Every generation sees change, some at a more rapid pace than others, but it is how we lead into the future that will make the difference.  While some level of moderation must be maintained, risk must be taken  and resources committed if the organization or company is going to live on.

Trust Risk   2 comments


Trust (Low album)

Trust  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The writer of the Gospel of Luke tells the story of Jesus walking through a crowd and a woman who had spent years suffering from hemorrhages touched the edge of Jesus’ robe.  Upon touching his robe, the hemorrhaging stopped and Jesus noticed. (See Luke 8:40-48)  After a brief conversation with the woman, Jesus made a statement that resonated with me this morning.  In Eugene Peterson‘s translation of the Bible Jesus’ words are:  “Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole.  Live well, live blessed!”

I was struck with the idea of taking a risk to trust Jesus.  At first, I wondered what was the risk in trusting Jesus.  I could talk about the cultural risk that the woman took but that was not where I was being led in my thoughts.  I began thinking about the times that I tend not to trust the Lord.  Why don’t I trust during those times?  The reason is that in order to trust, I have to be willing to relinquish some of my control and I have to be dependent on the Lord.  Since my life, like many of yours, has had plenty of experiences when trusting in someone or something has turned out to be a huge mistake, relinquishing control and being dependent is not an easy step.  It truly does involve taking a risk.  Stepping out in faith to believe that by relying on the Lord, I will not have a catastrophic fall.

In the story of the woman, Jesus’ words spoke to me.  He invites me to take the risk.  The reason for taking that risk is because when I trust in the Lord, I will find healing and wholeness.  While it may take a little time and I may struggle to see how it is possible, Jesus makes the promise that it is possible.  Jesus reminds me in the words he shares with the woman which is his desire for me is to live well and to live blessed.

Making the commitment to trust in the Lord and take that risk has to happen on a daily basis.  Some days it has to happen for me multiple times.  So today, I renew my commitment to take the risk of trusting in the Lord.  I do this because I believe in the promise that Jesus makes which is, if I trust in the Lord, I will find healing and wholeness.

Risk Required   2 comments


Faith Happens

Faith Happens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But faith is not faith if there is no risk. Faith is a living, restless thing, and it cannot be inoperative. Faith has no back door. There is no safety net.”  – Greg Laurie

I read a variety of writers during my morning devotion times.  Some of them I agree with, some I disagree with, some agree with only some of the time.  This morning as I was reading, I ran across this statement and thought that in it there was a lot of truth.  Faith requires risk because there are no absolutes in faith.  Empirical data is not completely there or it would not fit the definition of “faith.”  Believing  in a sovereign God who is not physically visible unless we lived in while Jesus was on earth is a risk.

As Laurie also mentions, faith is a living and restless thing.  Faith changes as we experience changes of life.  Faith changes as more is revealed to us through conversations, study, and exposure.  I find that the more I understand the more I realize that there are even deeper questions awaiting me.

If I am going to believe in a living and interactive God, I have to be willing to take risks.  In this risk taking, there is growth.  Since faith is a growing entity, my personal faith must be a growing entity.  So I am going to risk and grow so that I may believe.

Off The Bench   1 comment


Doss High School Football Field

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In sports there are generally three types of individuals:  the athlete (participants), the support staff (coaches, trainers, managers), and the spectators.  I think that the true can be said about life.  I also think that at different points in life, we play all those roles both in sports and life in general.  In fact, in our lives we may play different roles in different situations.  This is also true in our faith journey.

Over the last month or so, I have moved out of the role as a spectator into the role of somewhere between support staff and athlete in a specific situation in the community.  I made the decision that I no longer could just sit on the bench and watch what was happening but instead I needed to be an active participant in what was occurring.  I lent my voice to the conversation and became an observer on a different level.  I am very glad that I chose to make this move.

I was thinking today how some people do not make this transition when they should.  Some individuals decided that they are going to remain spectators when their voices and involvement are desperately needed.  Like an athlete, there is risk involved when you take that step on to the field.  There is the risk of being injured.  There is the risk of not being successful.  There is the risk of making a mistake.  But there are times that those risks are necessary if you are going to make a difference.  You cannot win by sitting on the bench.

This scenario also plays out in our faith life.  At different times in our faith were are spectators, we are support staff, and we are the athletes.  All of us are called to be in those roles for different reasons and at different points throughout our faith journey.  Yet, like life or athletics, some individuals choose to spend their whole journey on the bench.  This is not what Jesus intended.  If you look at the way Jesus lead the apostles and other disciples, you say a pattern of him moving them from being on the bench to being in the game.  So it may just be that the Lord is calling you today to get off the bench.  Are you ready to say:  “Put me in coach!”?