I am in the process of developing an exciting plan for my next stage. It’s a combination of leaving the security of a full-time job, restructuring some of my business activities and starting work on my next book, on what used to be retirement.

What this means is that I need to take some risks, both financial and strategic. I need to restructure my finances, get comfortable in raising my media profile, focus in on some areas and do less in others.

During the day, this all makes perfect sense. It’s based on sound planning with a good dash of excitement and possibility. I am focused and keen to make it happen.

At 3am, it sometimes feels less sound, and much less exciting. Whilst I have a great appetite for adventure, spontaneity and risk in some areas of my life, I have discovered that parts of me are not at all happy about my taking risks in my business.

Can you relate to this? Do you know you should try some experiments in your business or your career, take a few calculated risks, speak up or create something new? And do you worry about how this will work out? Do you hesitate to commit to change? Where are you playing small?

So, what to do? I have come up with 5 tips that are really helping me.

Risk tolerance

If your tolerance for risk is high, you may need to force yourself to plan before you commit to some big change. If it’s low, you will need to take lots of small risks, rather than one big leap into the unknown. It’s fine to do this stuff in baby steps (and sometimes it’s the only way…)

Plan, plan, plan

Just because you need to be brave and try something new doesn’t mean you should do it blindfolded. You most definitely should research possibilities, think it through and have an action plan that sets out the steps to take (as far as you can work these out). You should also have a contingency plan to deal with fallout if your idea doesn’t work.

Get support

I am a great believer in getting both personal and professional help when you’re going through change. I have some great mates who are happy to be sounding boards, and others  who offer more structured support. Where could you access support? It might be as simple as finding a trusted friend to talk through your ideas.

Trust your gut

We all have a natural intuition, but often we lose touch with it, and don’t listen when it’s trying to tell us ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Start paying attention to these instincts and you may find it very helpful.

Have Courage

Success in work (and life) requires a heap of qualities such as resilience, persistence, the ability to learn – and courage. It actually doesn’t matter how scared you are, provided you don’t let it paralyse you. Find strategies that help you keep your courage up and keep you moving towards your goals.

What risks do you need to take?

Joanna Maxwell


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