• Bill Petrie

The Risk of Not Taking Risks

Comfort, complacency, and playing it safe are much more dangerous than risk.


Last week was a complete whirlwind as Kelsey Cunningham and I launched brandivate. Over the course of the week, so many people reached out to congratulate us and ask questions about brandivate - and that was truly lovely. Interestingly, one theme popped up repeatedly: how risky it is to start a business given the current economic climate. Candidly, it’s a fair concern and one that Kelsey and I considered seemingly countless times during the past thirty days. Frankly, doing something risky is:

  • Intimidating

  • Dangerous

  • Uncertain

  • Unpredictable

  • Alarming

  • Precarious

  • Unsettling

Risk is all of those things, but it’s mostly terrifying because taking a risk means undertaking an activity that might result in loss or failure. For many, the mere thought of taking chances outside of a known comfort zone is paralyzing. However, I would suggest that comfort, complacency, and playing it safe are far more dangerous than risk. Read the list above again, only this time substitute the word “risk” for the word “safe.” If you are seeking to grow your business – or start one – the list is far more accurate with that simple word switch.

Risk generates many of the feelings listed above, but it is also the critical path to improvement, success, prosperity, and happiness. Successful people take risks, and while those risks may or may not result in a personal or professional gain, the lessons learned are just as – if not more – valuable. Taking calculated, intelligent chances allows you to stand out from your competition, most of whom are debilitated by the illusion that doing nothing risky is safe.

Next time you are confronted with taking a chance, seizing an opportunity, putting your values on the line, or maybe even starting a business during a pandemic, remember the following words are also associated with risk:

  • Opportunity

  • Liberating

  • Possibility

  • Confidence

  • Potential

  • Freedom

As it turns out, the real risk is remaining complacent and ensconced in the false promise of doing what you’ve always done. This past week, Kelsey and I learned how important it is to take a chance, follow our instincts, and try something new. Yes, risk is scary, but it’s also necessary if you want to leave your mark on the world.

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