Zen and the Art of Risk Taking

Maybe I should become domesticated.....nah, where's the fun in that!

Winston Churchill wrote in 1945 risk taking in peace as in war shall bear our fortunes forward finding profitable work and profitable trade for our people”.

The alternative is to try to eradicate risk from our lives (if I had my way there’d be a lot more ‘elf n safety office space up for lease these days) but by so doing we also suppress the energy of enterprise and so dull the cutting edge of growth.

Churchill was referring to nations but does the same apply to each of us as individuals: when we stop taking risks do we stop growing? I am unshakeable in my belief that this is true because it is only by trying something new, and risking failure, that we can grow.

Successful entrepreneurs cannot be risk averse because a key ingredient of being in business is seeing an opportunity that looks out of your league and saying “ah to hell with it let’s give it a go” in other words they focus more on the upside than the downside.

But can the same mentality prevail in the corporate world? Of course it can but the real question here is how do you translate the phrase “I’m prepared to take risks” into action. It’s easy for entrepreneurs because what they are mainly risking is money, in one form or another, but what about Intrapreneurs like you?

Right then: taking risks leads to growth and, on occasions, pain so what’s next? Well…….

  • Actively look for opportunities: Real Intrapreneur stuff – it’s been done like that for ages but is there a better way?
  • Ask what are you really risking: a slap on the wrist, lost time, humiliation, a bruised ego and a raised eyebrow are small prices to pay to achieve greatness.
  • What are you prepared to sacrifice:  assess the risk and then ask that question. Only you know the answer.
  • JFDI – Just Fecking Do it. Like leaping off the high board; the more you dwell the less likely you are to jump and feel the thrill of it all.
  • A risk shared is a risk halved: find another brave soul and “smoke fags behind the bike sheds” together.

Without risking failure you can never achieve your potential so step forth dear reader and see where the road less travelled leads.


Passionate about making business development a profession not just a job. Built and sold a £40m group in less than 9 years. Doing it all again and loving it!

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Mike Ames

Passionate about making business development a profession not just a job. Built and sold a £40m group in less than 9 years. Doing it all again and loving it!

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