Katie C. Kelley on Taking Risks to Further Your Career

Katie C. Kelley, author of Career CourageUnhappy in your current career? The first step towards fixing the problem is recognizing that there’s a problem–but the steps after that are all about finding the courage to make a change. In CAREER COURAGE: Discover Your Passion, Step Out of Your Comfort Zone, and Create the Success You Want (AMACOM March 2016), Katie C. Kelley helps readers clear the obstacles that block them from their ideal career path.

One mental obstacle is an aversion to risk. During her time as a career coach, Kelley discovered that most of the successful entrepreneurs she met had grown up in homes with a parent who had started a business or put an entrepreneurial mindset to work in someone else’s business. These parents, consciously or unconsciously, raised their children with the knowledge that smart risk-taking could make a happy, stable, fruitful life. These children grew up with high RQ.

Kelley presents eight questions to help readers dig into their past and present relationship with risk. Are you holding back from your dream career because you fear taking a leap? Think about it:

1. Did my parents take any major risks in my early life? Did I? How did they turn out? Some people develop a friendly relationship with risk because the gambles they observed or took as youngsters paid off handsomely. Others avoid risk because earlier ones turned out badly.

2. What runs through my mind when someone I care about takes a big risk? Do I fear they will fail? Do I envy them?

3. Which entrepreneurial risk-takers do I admire the most? Can I name friends, family members, colleagues, mentors, or even fictional heroes and heroines whose bold moves inspire me? The more role models you identify, the more likely you will emulate their behavior.

4. What emotions do I feel when I think about taking a big risk myself? Does the thought of risking something valuable scare me, or does it make me tingle with excitement?

5. Can I list my ‘negotiables’ and ‘non-negotiables’? What can I afford to lose? What must I hang onto at all costs? Gambling everything seldom, if ever, makes sense. But neither does betting nothing on your better future.

6. When I think about the risks I have not taken, do I feel any regrets? Do I wonder what might have happened if I had accepted rather than avoided taking a chance on making a major change?

7. Would I take bigger risks if I knew the game was rigged in my favor? Have I always assumed that the game favors the house, and that the odds are always stacked against a successful outcome?

8. Can I identify two great outcomes that might result from taking a greater risk in my life? What rewards would I reap from a successful change in my work or personal life?

Your answers will point you to areas where you can work on raising your RQ and, as a result, approach your work and life with a more entrepreneurial mindset. Notice where you’re holding yourself back–and allow yourself to re-wire your orientation toward risk!

Cover of Career Courage

Adapted from CAREER COURAGE: Discover Your Passion, Step Out of Your Comfort Zone, and Create the Success You Want by Katie C. Kelley (AMACOM March 2016).

KATIE C. KELLEY is People Development Director for Fuerst Group, parent company of KEEN footwear and Chrome Industries. Her own career pivots include stints as a psychotherapist, a medical salesperson, an ABC Television Contributor, and, most recently, as an executive coach with clients that included Google and Time Inc. She lives in Portland, Oregon.


One response to “Katie C. Kelley on Taking Risks to Further Your Career

  1. Pingback: Spring has Sprung: 3 Books on Starting Something New | AMACOM Books Blog

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