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The Art of Being Fearless: Take Risks At Work

According to peace activist and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, “Fearlessness is not only possible, it is the ultimate joy. When you touch non-fear, you are free.”

Every work environment has a rules, guidelines and procedures for every type of aspect of the work environment. We are indoctrinated on day one to believe that the only way to achieve work place goals is by following these work place “codes” to the letter. Then we realize that time has passed and all we’ve learned is how to follow the rules.

The ability to make a difference includes going beyond the “established guides” by taking risks. Taking a risk at work does not mean it is okay to ignore established practices. It actually requires the user to know every step of their workplace processes, the pros and cons. Review the lessons learned to determine gaps and identify opportunities that may impact your project plans. In addition, taking a risk includes going beyond the established practices to gain the best results.

Also, some women in organizations can achieve organizational milestones by following the “road less traveled.” Sometimes, when you serve as a catalyst for change you will challenge “the way things have always been done” to determine areas of growth and process improvement. Moreover, taking a risk may be a solo trip as some people are not up to the challenge of respectfully questioning authority, rules and processes. When supporters tend to thin out, this will become a test of your determination, ability and continued validity to stay the course despite barriers in your path.

Being fearless at the office includes accepting that sometimes failure happens when you try something new. Remember that we learn from our failures and channel them into productive new endeavors. Don’t get stuck in the “what if scenario abyss.” Instead, try to focus on the fact that success is the result of making a conscious decision to do something new in support of your organization’s goals. It takes a vast amount of confidence to go beyond the traditional approach to business. Risk taking at the office can be challenging, extraordinary as well as provide peace of mind.

Tracey Batacan is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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Profile Photo Corinne Stubbs

Great post, Tracey. It makes me think of the famous FDR quote,” The only we have to fear is fear itself.” I think you bring up an excellent point about accepting the risk of failure. I have to actively remind myself to not get stuck in the “what if scenario abyss.”

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Profile Photo Terrence Hill

This is a tough one for many of us risk-averse government employees. I’m glad to see that we have employees like you who are willing to take risk for the common good.

My only critique is that this is not just a woman’s issue. Men have many of the same fears and often hesitate to take risks. The government has people whose main job is to prevent risks. We call them managers.

As long as your intentions are true and the risk is tolerable, I say give it a shot! Life is too short to wait for opportunities to drop in your lap!

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Profile Photo Patrick Fiorenza

Enjoyed this post, thanks so much for sharing. I especially liked this passage: ”

Being fearless at the office includes accepting that sometimes failure happens when you try something new. Remember that we learn from our failures and channel them into productive new endeavors. Don’t get stuck in the “what if scenario abyss.” Instead, try to focus on the fact that success is the result of making a conscious decision to do something new in support of your organization’s goals.”

When you fail, it’s often hard in the moment to realize the learning opportunities – so I think it’s just good practice to spend time reflecting and growing, making each project better than the last.

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