Weighing Financial Risk vs. Security in Making Decisions

Have you ever wanted to do something, but then decided it was too risky?  Like make a big change in an area of your life, or pursue a dream you’ve always had?

From time to time, people will tell me “I’ve always wanted to start my own business, but could never do it now with the economy being so bad,” or “I hate my job and really want to find the work I was meant to do, but can’t do it now with all the lay-offs that are happening.”

It is natural and important for us to consider the potential risk or cost of any decision we make, especially the major ones that impact our income, wouldn’t you agree?

But we need to look at the situation accurately, and have the proper perspective, in order to weigh these decisions correctly. And I’ve found that many times, we do not.

Sometimes, the option that we think is the best may actually be the worst.

Here’s a quote from Brian Tracy (one of the world’s top success leaders) that illustrates what I mean:

“The future belongs to the risk takers, not the security seekers.  The more you seek security, the less of it you will have and the more you pursue opportunity, the more security you will achieve.”

What he’s saying here is that greater security can actually come from taking risks… appropriate risks that will pay off.

So when people tell me they’d feel more financially secure by working for a boss than by starting their own business, I ask them this question:  “Do you think your boss cares about your financial security as much as you do?”

If they’re honest, they realize the answer is no.  The boss cares more about his own financial security than theirs.  And if push came to shove (and it certainly has in many industries and businesses these days, hasn’t it) and the boss had to decide between his own financial security and yours, he will pick his own. And that’s OK.  If you were the boss, you’d probably do the same.

Next, I ask:  “If you owned a business, which is more risky, having one customer or having many customers?” The answer I hear is always the same:  “It is more risky to have just one customer.”

Then I ask, “If you are an employee in someone else’s business, how many customers do you have?  In other words, how many people directly pay you for your services?”

You can see a light start to go on in their minds.  Because they realize that when they work for a boss they really have just one customer – the boss.

I continue, “When (not if) a customer no longer needs your services or likes your prices, what happens?  If you’re an employee with only one customer (your boss) and you lose that customer…can you survive?”  The answer, of course, is “No.”  “But if you own your own business and have several customers, and you lose one…can you survive?”  The answer is “Yes.”  Because  you still have lots of other customers and you know how to go and find more.

Then I ask the clincher:  “Do you really feel more secure working for your boss?” What do you think their answer is now?

And what about you?  Are there areas of your life where you thought you were playing it safe, but really, if you think about it, you might be putting yourself at greater risk?

If so, perhaps 2011 is the year you ought to do something about it. Get that degree, expand your career options, or start that business you’ve always wanted!

Remember, if you’re not living your dream, you’re most likely living someone else’s.

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  1. […] Weighing Financial Risk vs. Security in Making Decisions (Weighing) – Have you ever wanted to do something, but then decided it was too financially risky?  Like make a big change in an area of your life, pursue a dream you’ve always had, do the work you love, or start a business?  Ironically, sometimes the option we think is the least risky may be the most. […]

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