Every single one of us has a different tolerance for how we take risks. For example, we climbed right past the sign that read, “Warning: Climbing on Falls Hazardous Stay on Constructed Trail …” not because we are stupid, but because as a group we have confidence in our hiking ability. Do I recommend that everyone climb past that sign? Absolutely not. But there is a certain thrill at being alive that comes when you take risks and go past the point where many people stop.
Hiking to Rainbow Falls
The hike to Rainbow Falls requires patience and stamina. You will find yourself climbing uphill for most of the nearly three miles to the falls. You are rewarded along the way with beautiful vistas and plenty of chances to see and cross over the streams that are down from the falls. You even get to see a smaller waterfall when you have just about reached Rainbow Falls. (Two members of our group took it upon themselves to climb those falls.) Again, they’ve been doing this since they were young and know when to turn back and how to be safe even while taking some risks.
Once you reach Rainbow Falls, the constructed trail leaves you quite a ways back from the falls; with a less than spectacular view of one of the prettiest points in the park. So we scrambled another hundred yards or so up the rocks to find a spot close to the falls to enjoy our lunch. There were plenty of people glaring at us for daring to leave the constructed trail. It’s a warning people; not a law.
One person in our party did slip on those wet rocks and ended up with a wet shoe to walk back in; proving that when you take risks there are potential downsides. On the other hand, we got to eat lunch in the shadow of a magnificent water fall with squirrels and chipmunks keeping us company. It’s one of my favorite memories of this trip to the park.
Take risks outside your comfort zone, but be prepared for the downside
In your professional life do you keep going to the same conferences, trade shows and networking events and then wonder why your business isn’t growing? Try looking for a different mix of events to attend so you expose new and different people to your message. This will also help you build a list of new prospects.
Sure it can be uncomfortable being at a trade show or conference where you don’t know a single soul. That’s getting off your beaten path and taking risks. It won’t be comfortable at first, but the potential upside is huge. Take some time to explore those businesses and industries that are close to yours (and even not so close). By taking that risk you are likely to find a new potential customer base.
And yes, there is a downside. It’s possible you’ll explore an event or two that yields a not so great return on your investment of time, effort and money. That’s the potential downside of getting off the beaten path. So make sure you know and understand what that potential downside would mean to you and your business – just as we considered what would happen if one of us was injured going off the constructed path to get a closer look at the waterfall.