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Risk vs the Fear Factor

The brave ladies tell us how they became fearless in the face of fear associated with taking risks. This section is loaded with gems of wisdom:

Vandana Trivedi: The fears that come with taking any risk can be alleviated by a continuous process of skilling ourselves to match up to the job in hand. Besides this, a close monitoring of the situation as it evolves is an important ingredient in ensuring that the fears are taken care of.

Sunita Rath: My approach is to always get into action. Once I do that, I start uncovering things and as you uncover things, the picture becomes clearer, and the mind overcomes fear. So, rather than brooding over a situation for long, I quickly jump into action targeting quick-wins. I never shy away of taking help from anyone for insights or execution. Also, reaching out to your network helps; so I just go on pushing my circle of influence further and further, making it wider. I seek help from personal as well as professional friends, colleagues and anyone else available and willing. Many a times, ‘reverse mentoring’ has helped me – much junior/ younger people have given me ideas that have enabled me to overcome fear and succeed.

Purvi Bhavsar : There is no defined formula. You try and see whatever works – every time you have to keep inventing something new. Right from remembering God, to speak to some people in your inner circle who can calm you down and give much needed confidence helps me overcome the fear or nervousness.

Namrata Sehgal: I believe in being prepared. I know that I am not very risk-averse. I will think a lot before I really try something new and I tend to tread on the side of caution. That’s the reality of who I am as an individual. I will evaluate the situation, I will check out what’s the worst case scenario essentially and then I will prepare for it. I would usually counter what potentially could go wrong while feeling more confident and preparing more.

Sumanlatha Sanghi, Head – Account & Channel Maintenance at ANZ: It’s always difficult to take risks and the fear of the unknown always made me hesitant. But some pointers to control the fear include:

  1. Having self confidence
  2. Having a conversation with someone you trust and believe in
  3. Logically decide if it’s the right decision with clear plan for success.

Rajashree Nambiar, Former MD & CEO at Fullerton India Credit Company: Every time you take a risk, you are always worried and anxious about what if something goes wrong and how will you manage it. One of the simple tricks is to look back and I look at my past success and I visualize it and I try to visualise scenarios if similar thing had happened in the past then how would I have navigated it and got through it. Visualizing past successes gives me confidence to navigate future challenges.

Mabel Chacko: Entrepreneurs by nature are risk takers and pretty fearless because we put everything to start up something. We put all our bets on the table in the process of starting up our business. One key method I suggest is to not overthink. You always need to weigh your pros and cons. Do that once or twice, but don’t keep dwelling on is endlessly. Always understand that there would be situations that would be adverse. Not everything will work as per your plan so just keep believing that this too shall pass. Keep moving ahead don’t quit and don’t settle in any situation. Keep hustling.

Pratima Thomas: I believe that fear is there to stay. Everybody has some sort of fear when it comes to a given situation or time or purpose. I believe that fear is a positive factor as it comes from being mindful of the consequences that may come up. It is not something bad per se. From that perspective, fear is always positive, because when you are fearful, you start planning and strategizing your Plan B. Fear will give you sleepless night, but in those sleepless nights, you start thinking about the alternatives. Fear is more developmental rather than an obstacle. That is how I take fear to be. Sometimes fear may depress you, but you can learn from it and move on. That is how I have always dealt with fears. Even now I have fears.

Noopur Chaturvedi: We all get the butterflies with every change, don’t we! Higher the stakes, more is the stress around the outcome. For me, talking to friends, family and mentors helps. They can give you an outside-in perspective of what you’re doing. They can bolster your view, or share aspects you haven’t thought about. In addition, it also helps to open a document and write down your thoughts – your fears, expectations, plan B, future state, etc. For me, writing things down dissipates a lot of anxiety and fear, and also helps me ascertain why I’m taking this risk at all.

At the end of the day, if you are more excited or passionate about the risk than fearful about the result, the risk is completely worth taking.

Lincy Therattil: The best way to control the fear is by mentally preparing yourself to deal with the outcomes. While you prepare for the worst, make it a point to envision the best possible outcome and how you and your loved ones will feel about it. This is where working on your ‘inner game’ becomes important. Tell yourself you are equipped to deal with the outcomes, reminding oneself of the safeguards you have put in place and the support system available in case anything goes wrong.

Even after this, in case the worst-case scenario unfolds, tell yourself: it’s ok to fail – nothing is permanent – this too shall pass! It’s ok to sulk for some time too. But it’s important not to give up. Else, it will become a natural deterrent to taking any risks in the future. Authoritatively nudge yourself into action. Start thinking about how to salvage the situation in case your decision has backfired or in case of a missed opportunity, start thinking WHAT NEXT?

Jaya Janardanan: When you take a risk, you are fully conscious of what you are getting into. It’s about taking the first step. Once you take the first step, you are bold enough to take the second step. Fear comes when you actually are thinking about multiple things around you about which you are not confident. For me the calculation was this – either the initiative will fail and I would have to go back to what I was doing earlier. If it succeeds, it would be seen as something that is created very innovatively. I have, I have always been very innovative and that innovation has also helped me take risks.

Fear comes when you are not confident of yourself. Confidence is very critical to take risks. If you are bothered about what people around you say, then that gives rise to fear. You have to do it for yourself to be fearless. Risk is about being confident and also having the courage.

Ruchi Bubber:

  • You should understand the picture of what you are going to achieve by taking that risk. This also includes determining the likelihood of success.
  • Build a solid skillset in such a way that your fear of failure will not be there. If you have the right skills, your likelihood of not succeeding is lower.
  • Continue learning. In fact, I am pursuing 2 different streams of learning right now. I am doing an executive MBA after 20 years of working. Also, I am doing courses to learn artificial intelligence and machine learning because that’s the future.
  • Plan your finances, invest in such a way that even if you start a new venture and get into entrepreneurship you have Plan B to fall back on.

Jasmin Ignatius: We usually fear the unknown but when adequate understanding and adaptations exist to respond to a wide variety of possible scenarios, there is no room for fear. As a skydiver, I was trained to anticipate and prepare for several contingencies.

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