Pursue What Matters
Episode 129: Learning to Tolerate Risk Pt. 3: Balancing Security & Growth
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Dr. Melissa Smith 0:00
How do you respect risks while still taking action in your life? The most successful and happy people do take risks, but they do so by balancing security and growth. Join me to learn how you can too. What does it mean to love and worked well? And how do I pursue what truly matters? Working at the intersection of business and psychology? I help you answer these questions and more. So you can focus priorities, inspire, change, lead with courage, and live with more joy today.
Dr. Melissa Smith 0:38
Hi, I’m Dr. Melissa Smith. Welcome to the pursuit matters podcast where we focus on what it takes to thrive in love and work. Okay, we are at the third part of a three part series where we are helping you to break down your need, so you can make better decisions, you can have more clarity about your personal risk tolerance. And you can increase your commitment to growth despite uncertainty. So back in part one, if you haven’t listened to part one, or part two, I would suggest you go back and listen to them. They are linked in the show notes. If you if you don’t want to do that, you’re going to be okay, but you’ll get more out of it if you listen to parts one and two. So as a quick review, in part one, we really focused on helping you understand your needs for both security and growth. And if you just think about what are our human needs, you can put those in two categories we have security needs, and growth needs. And this understanding brings awareness about your risk tolerance, clarity about why some decisions will never be a good fit for you, and compassion for yourself. And then, in part one, we did a deep dive into security needs. And I asked you a couple, I gave you a couple of challenges at the end of part one. And then in part two, we focused on growth needs. And these are the needs that help us move towards self actualization. They help us to take meaningful action in our lives, and to live purpose driven lives. And so now we’re at part three, and we’re really going to help you find balance between security needs and growth needs. So that you can make better decisions for yourself so you can grow in potential. And the key to keep in mind I’ve said it several times throughout the series is that it’s not that one is good, and the other is bad. It is about how much focus and prioritizing our security needs versus growth needs. That is really the issue. So it’s really more about integrating these needs. So that you can be hold, so that you can live to purpose. So it’s not like we’re just trying to banish our security needs because they’re totally valid. But we want to keep some balance there. So that we’re not making decisions based in fear, okay. And as we think about my goal each week to help you pursue what matters by strengthening your confidence to lead, we do that in one of three areas. So leading with clarity, curiosity, and leading and building a community. And really, we hit all three of these, not only in this podcast today, but in the series. So we want to have clarity about our own risk tolerance, we need to develop the self awareness because the reality is whether you know it or not, our risk tolerance informs our decision making. And then of course, understanding risk tolerance can be such a helpful, such a helpful thing to understand when it comes to relationships, whether you are making big decisions relative to projects or product lines, or you’re making decisions in your own home. understanding not only your risk tolerance, but the risk tolerance of those you are working with can really make such a big difference in terms of effectiveness. So, so far, we talked about those underlying needs for security and growth as humans we have needs to be safe and secure. We also have needs for growth and adventure seeking. Just a quick review of security needs. These needs are motivated by a lack of satisfaction. They are driven by fear, and that’s a really important thing to pay attention to. These needs distort our reality. Because when we are driven by fear, we do not see reality. Clearly. We see it all through the lens of our fear and of our lack. And these security needs lead to specific defense mechanisms that can hinder your growth and so I reviewed all of those in part one and then as a quick Review of part two, we talked about growth needs. And these needs are motivated by a desire for growth. And you know, we have varying levels of that desire for growth. So for myself, I’ve always felt very driven to grow. I’ve really felt a strong sense of purpose, even when I felt clueless about what that purpose might be. And I would say, that’s something I have always had, it’s just as long as I can remember, I’ve had a desire to grow and to develop and to reach my potential. And like I said, even at times when I had no freaking clue what my potential was, and I would say, as a grown man, now there are many times I don’t know, I don’t have a clue about what that potential is. But I know that I can, I can figure that out. And that the way to do that is the path of growth, which is we’ve got to take action in the face of fears. And so growth needs are driven by purpose. And these needs help you to see reality clearly. So if you recall from session two, security needs, when we’re hyper focused on security needs, we are looking at life through a clouded lens, because we have the the lens of fear. And
Dr. Melissa Smith 6:20
when we can shift towards growth needs, it’s like cleaning off that lens and looking at life through a clear lens. So you’re able to see reality clearly. And growth needs help you face fears, while accepting yourself and others. So it’s very, it’s very open and inviting to not only yourself and others, whereas security needs can leave us in isolation, because we push people away because we’re afraid of vulnerability, we’re afraid of getting hurt. And so it can, it can lead to a lot of isolation, it’s also very self critical. And so it’s a, it’s a hard place to be at now for part three, we’re really going to pull it all together and talk about integrating both our security needs and our growth needs. And I mentioned this last time, right, think about security needs and growth needs on a continuum, we we need both to grow. But we need to balance how we prioritize these needs. So if there’s too much focus on security, we stagnate, we fail to reach our potential we might be surviving, but we’re not thriving. If there’s too much focus on growth, we take unhealthy risks, we lack stable connections, and we lack coping skills, and in a very real way we die, or we at the very least lose stability in terms of connection and coping. And that’s a real problem. So when we can balance both security and growth needs, we thrive. And that’s what we want. Of course, of course, of course, that’s what we want. So this is this is what we’re going to pay attention to today, you need to strike a balance between security and growth. So safety and growth are dialectical in nature, right? They’re like two poles in opposition to one another. So you can also think about that, like the continuum that I just mentioned. But the from the research, there is a consensus, the optimal functioning of the whole system requires both right? So it requires security needs. So we think about the stability of goal pursuit, in the face of distraction and disruption, right. So if we’re always novelty seeking, or always going out on an adventure, we don’t have stable goal pursuit. And you might know people like that in your own life where it’s like, they’re always jumping around to the next adventure, and they never land, they don’t have a stable foundation. So that’s the whole system, right? So thinking about humans, think about yourself for a moment, for our purposes, you require that stability of goal pursuit in the face of distraction and disruption. So that’s security, but you also require growth. So you require the capacity for flexibility to adapt and explore the environment, you’ve got to go you’ve got to be able to do a bit of exploring, because that’s how you learn what you’re capable of. That’s how you learn to improve your capabilities. That’s how you grow in both competence and confidence. So security and growth are the two foundations necessary for becoming a whole person. That’s how we get to self actualization, which is what Maslow has taught us about with the hierarchy of needs. And when we think about self actualization, we’re also thinking about healthy transcendence. Moving away from doing to being where we have mindfulness, we can live a happier life with greater well being and it is through that integration of both security needs and growth needs. So we need both to thrive. So now, I want to move right into some solutions, right? So we’re thinking about application. And everything that I share on the podcast is geared towards application. Because it’s, it’s cool to know some stuff. But if you’re not applying that in your life, it’s have very little utility. And so sometimes it’s really comfortable to focus on learning stuff. But it right, it gets more challenging when we need to apply it. And yet, if we are willing to move into the discomfort of application move into the discomfort of taking action, that’s where growth happens. That’s where you will get more clarity about potential and purpose, you’ve got to move, you have got to move, you can’t stay still. So first, we’re going to go through our solutions. And with each of these solutions, I have a few things for you to think about with each of them. And so today, I am going to be sharing three solutions for you. And I don’t ever want to overwhelm you, but maybe you just choose one to focus on. Okay,
Dr. Melissa Smith 11:21
so don’t let this overwhelm you. So solution, one, understand what’s motivating you. Right? So when we think about security needs and growth needs, what is the underlying motivation? Are we motivated by fear? Are we motivated by growth? So I want you to identify feelings and beliefs that drive decisions was, so think about a recent decision that you had to make, and maybe it was a painful decision, maybe there was a lot of fear, maybe there was a lot of waffling. So I want you to just identify a recent, you know, biggish decision that you have made and identify the feelings and the beliefs that you had related to that decision. So did you experience fear? Did you experience anxiety? Did you experience dread? Did you experience excitement? Did you experience avoidance? So I want you to pay attention to what is the main driver of your decisions? If you look back at two or three big ish decisions you’ve made in the past couple of years? What was the main driver of those decisions? Was it growth? Or was it security. And I think that that can be really helpful, you know, I
Dr. Melissa Smith 12:38
can think about a very big decision I made several years ago. And I knew it was the right decision. So I had peace, that it was the right decision that that was the path that I needed to be on. And when I thought about it, I had a lot of excitement about it. But I also had intense fear. And so much fear, in fact that it belaboured the decision by probably about four to six months, and was made more painful, because because it was so hard for me to take action in the face of that fear. And yet, it was the right decision. And it was a decision that actually propelled me towards growth. And so as we think about this first solution of understanding what’s motivating you, it’s important to pay attention to the fact that you can still have a ton of fear show up when you make a growth decision. Right? And in fact, you will, because if you are choosing growth, you’re choosing the unknown, you’re choosing risk. And so of course, you will have fear. It’s actually the decisions associated with security, where we have much less fear. Sometimes we worry that we might regret it. But usually we feel relief with the security decisions, because it’s like, Oh, thank you, I don’t have to climb that mountain. And so I just want you to pay attention to the fact that just because you have fear doesn’t mean it’s a poor decision for you, it doesn’t mean that you’re taking the easy route. And in fact, fear has a lot to teach us about what we care about. And so recognizing that you might have a mix of feelings, you might have fear, and you might have excitement. I certainly had that with with that big decision that I that I experienced a few years ago. And as I think about decisions I’m making right now, I would say most of them include both, but they include excitement and they include plenty of anxiety, fear and worry That is just the nature of life. And especially when you’re making, you’re making big decisions and you’re trying to move in the direction of growth, you’re going to have some mixed feelings. And that’s okay. And so with this first solution, I just want you to start identifying some of those feelings and beliefs, right? So the feelings we’ve just talked about, some of the beliefs could be I can’t do it, what will people think I should just be grateful. And those beliefs can really trip you up. And so there’s no need to make sense of those right now. But just start getting a list. And as you do that, with some of your decisions, you’ll start to see a pattern. And sometimes the pattern is okay, yes, with every big decision, I feel both fear and excitement. And knowing that can be enough to keep you going, because you start to see the pattern and you start to see, okay, I don’t need, I don’t need to be undone by that fear, you can, you can come to expect that when you’re making a decision in service of growth, you can expect that fear, so you’re not alarmed by it when it comes up. And perhaps you even have some effective skills to help you manage it right to coach yourself through to talk back to the fear, to remind yourself that you can do hard things. And the second thing I want you to do with this first solution is to identify possible results of various decisions. So you could do that retrospectively, when you when you look back at a decision and and identify did I choose growth? Or did I choose security? Right? And then, if that’s hard to do, right, because sometimes that can be kind of tricky to figure that out. You can ask the question, will did my world get smaller? Or did my world get bigger? Okay. And I talked about this during session one, the path of human development is towards growth and expansion. So our world gets bigger. Think about the world of a baby really small. Sometimes just mom and dad, think about the world of a toddler. Okay, a little bit bigger. There’s maybe you know, some playgroups. Maybe there are some other kiddos in the neighborhood. And then think about the world of a preteen, right? They can’t be everywhere all the time. Think about the world of a teenager. So I’ve got two seniors at home right now. And I hardly see them. And it makes me kind of sad, but they’re out doing good things. They’re working, they’re going to school, they’re hanging out with friends, they’re going to volleyball games, and their role is getting bigger. And that’s preparing them for life, right? That’s preparing them for the responsibilities of adulthood. And so as you look at various decisions you’ve made, ask yourself, does my world gets smaller? Or does it get bigger? Okay. And that doesn’t mean more complex, necessarily, but bigger and more expansive in terms of connections, in terms of learning in terms of growth, right, that’s what we’re really thinking about. Okay, so that is solution, one, understand what’s motivating you. Now let’s move to solution two. And this is where we want you to assess vulnerability and protective factors. So psychologists are super excited about talking about vulnerability and protective factors. As a psychologist, I am excited about talking about him, because I think it is really a helpful way for you to take good care of yourself
Dr. Melissa Smith 18:40
in the face of challenges. So what is true is that each of us have protective factors and vulnerability factors that are unique to us, okay. So when you think about protective factors, these are factors that strengthen us and protect us against the storms of life. So maybe it so so maybe it is a strong support system, maybe it is some confidence, maybe it is a stable sense of self worth, right. And so these are protective factors that strengthen and protect us against the storms of life. And we all need that because life can be daunting. And then when we think about vulnerability factors, these are factors that make us more vulnerable to the storms of life.
Dr. Melissa Smith 19:33
So if we think about the pandemic, it’s a good example, that it would represent a very large storm of life. There were some people across the globe that were taken out by that, right and I’m talking about stress coping on talking about resilience here. That perhaps they they had fewer protective factors in in place, maybe they didn’t have family nearby, they were a little more socially isolated, they lost the daily consistency of work because they had to move to working from home. And so they maybe have protective factors that they lost in that storm of life. And then perhaps these individuals also had some existing vulnerability factors. So maybe they were already dealing with a storm in their life, maybe they are going through a divorce, and then they’re hit by this pandemic, perhaps they struggle with a depressive disorder, perhaps they struggle with feelings of self worth. And so these vulnerability factors, really expose them to the storms of life. And so the thing to pay attention to is that vulnerability and protective factors can shift for us throughout life, right? So some of these are stable, right? So if we think about a vulnerability factor being raised in poverty, right, that is a vulnerability factor, it doesn’t have to remain a factor that gets in the way, in daily living during adulthood. But that history continues to be a vulnerability factor, right? Because perhaps there was deprivation of opportunity. We think about protective factors at some points in your life that you may lose at other points in your life. So for example, maybe you have a time in your life where you’re very, very consistent with your coping skills, and then you get busy. And you, you know, you kind of let those coping skills slide away, well, you now have lost a protective factor. And it has created a vulnerability factor, because you don’t have good stress coping in place. And so when we are paying attention to our needs, and risk tolerance, we’ve got to respect our protective factors and vulnerability factors. And so as we think about this solution, what I want you to pay attention to is that when making a decision, I want you to stack up your current vulnerabilities, right, so your current vulnerability factors, against your current protective factors, to help you make a wise decision for your life now, in this moment, and remember, with growth, we’re always paying attention to living in reality. And so a decision that may have been wise for you when you were 30, maybe incredibly unwise for you, when you’re 38, as a function of these protective factors and vulnerability factors. So some of the some of the things to pay attention to in terms of is this a protective factor? Is this or is this a vulnerability factor? One would be health status. So let’s say you’re in, you’re in top health, you’re taking good care of yourself, you’re feeling awesome, that would be a protective factor, let’s say you were just diagnosed with an S, that would be a vulnerability factor, right? Because with significant health diagnosis, you got a lot that you need to pay attention to, you need to take good, gentle care of your body. Another factor to pay attention to is relational support. So how stable and how secure are your most important relationships. If I think about a big decision that I made a few years ago, to go back to school, and get an MBA after lots of other school, it, I knew it was going to be challenging, right? I knew that it would require a lot of me, but it would also require a lot of my family. And so part of the assessment process in that decision, because it certainly wasn’t my decision alone. I married and like to do things in partnership. And so one of the assessments that we went through is how, how stable and secure is our family, how stable and secure is our marriage, right? So if we’re on the rocks, that’s a really lousy time to add a big growth challenge in your life, because chances are, it will destabilize you even more. But if you have a nice secure Foundation, in terms of your marriage, in terms of your family, your kiddos are doing well. Your spouse is doing well. You’ve got good communication in place. You’ve got good practical support in place in terms of home and family responsibilities, then that relational support factor can be a protective factor that can really help you To grow along your path with the decision that you’re making. Another factor is time. What time commitments Do you already have in place, you’ve got to respect those family responsibilities. I’ve kind of talked about that already. But what are you committed to within your family already in within your community, and then of course, work responsibilities. Because sometimes, maybe you’re already at the edge of functioning with work. And then you know, someone asks you to take the lead on another project. And that might not be a very good idea. So all of these factors can be either protective factors or vulnerability factors. That’s why I want you to assess them, because they can change and shift with time. So remember that there will be times in your life when the best decision leans you more towards security. And other times in your life, when the best decision leads you toward growth, I can think of plenty of times in my life where I made the decision for security, because I recognize there were more vulnerability factors than protective factors, or even there was one vulnerability factor that outweighed several protective factors. And so you’ve got to respect that you need to respect your process, you need to respect your vulnerability and protective factors. And the other thing I think, to pay attention to is you’ve got to respect that life is really big. And there are many seasons of opportunities. It doesn’t mean you get a redo. Life often doesn’t work like that. But trust that if it’s not right now, at this point in your life, it doesn’t mean that it’s whatever the decision is, can’t be right at another season of life. And so I would just say, you know, trust, trust, your ability to find your way, and you’ve got to respect your needs for security, and your needs for growth. We don’t want to be hiding out in our life, but we also don’t want to be making irresponsible decisions. And so I just think, you know, knowing that life is big and trusting that you know, if there’s a lesson you need to learn a skill, you need to develop that if the seasons, if the seasons, not right now, it’ll it’ll come back around, you’ll you’ll have another opportunity that might not look the same. But trust that trust that you’ll get there. Especially when you’re oriented towards growth, you’ll definitely get there. Okay, now we’re going to talk about solution three. So we want you to push your risk tolerance in healthy ways, while respecting the risk tolerance of others. So there’s two parts to this solution. And it’s really important to make sure that you’re attending to both. So we each have varying levels of risk tolerance based on our biology, our social history, our experiences, right, so these are some of the protective and vulnerability factors that we have. So for example, you may come from a family of scaredy cats, where novelty seeking kicked up major anxiety. So even if you personally don’t have a lot of anxiety, growing up in a family where adventure seeking was paired with fear, and anxiety can make you very averse to risk. Okay, so sometimes it’s your family history. Sometimes it’s your socio economic experience, sometimes it’s your specific cultural engagements, whether that is community, whether that is faith, whether that is family, so pay attention to the messages you received about novelty seeking. Sometimes there can be moral judgments placed on what may be deemed a risky decision. So sometimes, you know, I can hear sometimes in the back of my head, this is an irresponsible decision. What are you thinking? I don’t think that’s I don’t think that’s a good idea. And to be able to get clear and slow yourself down enough to be able to ask yourself, what’s driving some of these self statements? Is that a function of my history and some of the fear based thinking, or is it because this really would not be a good decision? So you got to slow yourself down in that decision making process and respect your history when it comes to that. So what I would say is I grew up in a family where there was plenty of anxiety. And it certainly made me think twice about things. And there were some things as a teenager, that would be considered more risky, nothing like crazy or anything like that. But I would choose not to do them and sometimes times, that was because of my own risk, right? It felt like, Oh, that’s too risky, I don’t want to do that. But sometimes I wouldn’t do it out of respect. And I use respected quotes for the anxiety of a family member, right that if they found out about this, they’d be really upset, or they’d be so afraid. And I’m not saying that’s good or bad. I’m just saying that’s part of my history. And so sometimes as I come up against a decision, right, some of those old messages can play in my head, and I’ve got to slow myself down so that I’m not, I’m not making a decision in response to history, but that I’m actually living in reality now. And I can do a clear assessment of is this a good decision for me, at this point in my life, and I don’t have to be driven by fear, I don’t have to be driven by some of these messages that were well intended, but also served to increase anxiety and lower risk tolerance. And so we just, we want to pay attention to that. And then the second part of solution two, or solution three, is you need to respect the risk tolerance of others, don’t go trying to shift that tolerance of others, because it’ll backfire on you. So we, each of us have many factors driving our personal risk tolerance. So don’t try to convince someone that their risk tolerance is wrong. Because what you’ll do is, you’ll probably just increase their fear, you’ll increase their their struggle, and it will backfire on you. Because they will basically say, You’re not safe. Because you’re trying to tell me not to trust my own experience. Now, their own experience might not be trustworthy, but you telling them that they’re wrong, will only undermine their ability to know what’s right for them. And the truth is, we each have different levels of risk tolerance, right? Like I think about my relationship with my guy, friend, when it comes to certain issues, my risk tolerance is much higher than his. And that’s something we both understand, we talk it through whenever we need to make decisions that apply to that. And then there are other issues, that his risk tolerance is much higher than mine, right. And so we need to respect those and, and communicate together to kind of get to, to get to the next step. And so instead of trying to convince someone that they should tolerate more risk, we want you to listen with empathy, seek to understand their unique factors that contribute to their risk tolerance. And when you do that, it really brings so much insight and understanding. So you’ll learn what’s important to them. And as you listen, you may be able to address specific concerns. So if they say, Gosh, like I don’t, there doesn’t feel like there’s a good enough plan in place. I can’t be leaving
Dr. Melissa Smith 33:09
this job for an unknown, right. As you listen, you can say, oh, let me let me tell you what the plan is right, you can lay out a very clear and concise plan that can certainly address their concerns and fears, and help them to take the next step in decision making. It’s not about convincing them, but it’s about listening, listening to their needs, listening to their concerns, and see if there is a solution for that. Sometimes there is sometimes there is not. So you may be able to problem solve ways to mitigate risk, or make a plan for addressing the risk over time. But that’s, that’s a collaborative effort. It’s not a convincing effort is a collaboration. It’s looking at comfort levels, it’s looking at what would progress look like? You know, if we think about five steps, what’s the next step? And I think that can be a really helpful approach when you’re working with others. And think about work, we have project based work we have, we’re always dancing with risk. We’re always dancing with decision making. And so you’ve got to find ways to collaborate, to listen to seek understanding, and then move into problem solving mode. So ultimately, you don’t want to be in the position of trying to convince someone that their risk is irrational, because this is this regardless of what you think their risk is rational to them. So you’ve got to understand their underlying needs and concerns first, and you know, to not take the time to understand these concerns is ultimately very disrespectful. And of course, we don’t want to be doing that. You all So right, so we don’t want to be in the position of, of convincing someone that their risk is irrational. But also, we don’t want to be in the position of trying to reassure someone, because you know, what is true is that you don’t know the future and you don’t know the level of reassurance, they need to move forward. reassurance is a dangerous game. And we kind of want to stay away from it. So here’s what can often happen. If you do convince, I put that in quotes or bully someone into a decision, they are not prepared to handle, you put yourself in a position of responsibility. If things go wrong, they’ll blame you. And that can be a really heavy burden. And the fact is, right like you can’t, you probably can’t offer that guarantee. And you don’t know how they’ll respond to that. So you carry your risk, you don’t carry their risk. So everyone needs to carry responsibility for their own risk, okay, so don’t try to carry someone else’s for them. Now, when we think about a work situation, right, so I own a company, I have an incredible team of folks, I carry a lot of risk. As a business owner, I carry a lot of risk for the business as a whole, but I carry risk for individual team members as well as a function of being a business owner. And so right, that is an appropriate carrying of risk. It’s you know, we have clear boundaries, clear expectations, we have employee agreements, all of that sort of thing. But when we think about when we think about risk, everyone has a responsibility there. Even if it is a formal arrangement where there is a little more risk burden on one person, you’ve got to be clear about that you need to be transparent, about understanding that and what that means. Exactly. So you know, when it comes to your own risk tolerance, so this is still par solution three, I want you to be willing to push your risk tolerance in healthy ways. So challenge fear, you cannot control life or the future. So Eckhart totally has a great quote.
Dr. Melissa Smith 37:28
along the lines of once you can tolerate uncertainty in your life, remarkable things open up, and I did not get that quote, spot on. But that is the gist of it. He, he teaches us that uncertainty, right is part of life. And once you can tolerate uncertainty, you can move forward. So you make the best decision you can trusting that even if it’s not a perfect decision, again, in quotes, that you can help yourself navigate it. Remind yourself that life is not meant to be rigidly controlled. Remember that life can only be lived in the present, you make the best choice you can in this moment. You don’t want to invite the armchair quarterback into your decision making process that’s never helpful. But you want to look at the possible results of decisions. So I mentioned this earlier, does your world gets smaller? Does this decision lead you to avoiding reality? or avoiding challenges? Does this decision lead you to deny difficult situations? Or does your world get bigger? Is it expansive? Does it does this decision help you to make more connections? Does it help you to grow? Another thing to look at is to ask yourself, how does this decision square against your values and your hopes for your life? So does this decision orient you toward growth? Or does the decision orient you towards security. And remember, it’s not that growth decisions are always best, or that security decisions are always worst. You’ve you’ve got to respect where you’re at in your life. So sometimes your best decision is the security decision. And you can still be oriented to grow as you make a security decision because you’re respecting your vulnerability and protective factors. But the key is we want to be aware and intentional in the decision making so you avoid reactive fear based living. Okay, so another thing we want you to do to help yourself is stop future tripping. So an anxious brain will see fear and despair everywhere it looks that the brain is highly attuned to negative negative stimuli. So remind yourself that you can’t tell the future and there’s no way to mitigate the uncertainty out of life now As you make certain decisions, you certainly can mitigate risk in in some ways, the way you approach it can certainly mitigate risk. But ultimately, you cannot mitigate uncertainty out of life. So we want you to stop future tripping. But we do want you to future cast. So I want you to look at a decision and you know, in 510 20 years, ask yourself, will I regret going for it? Or will I have regret not going for? so will I regret this decision in 10 years? Or will I will I regret not making this decision. And so you always want to consider a decision in the context of your entire life, not this moment alone, right, now you’ve got to do both. Because you can look at a decision, it’s like this, yes, this is what I want to do. This is this is the path that I want to take. But in this moment, it’s not the right decision, because of timing, because of other demands because of other vulnerabilities. And so we’ve always got to consider the context not only of your entire life, but also of this moment, an anxious brain cares about lowering risk in this moment, the brain does not do a good job of making a painful decision now, in order to receive more benefit down the road. So if you understand that about an anxious brain, right, you understand that you will need to bring the perspective of your future self. Okay, you need to future cast, you will need to make decisions that benefit your future self, not decisions that just appease your anxious present self. And so sometimes I hear a lot of times I hear it, kind of joking, but the advice of, you know, that’s a future self problem. That is false.
Dr. Melissa Smith 41:58
problems for the future self are problems for the present self. Because when you make decisions in the present moment to avoid facing your fears, you strengthen the power those fears have over you. So let’s not, let’s not do that. But we do want to make decisions that will benefit our future self. Sometimes it does require making the harder decision now or the more painful decision. But that’s the work of growth, we’re tolerating our fear, we’re tolerating our anxiety, and we’re moving forward, because we can see the benefit, we can see that we’re aligned with purpose. And so another way to bring in perspective is to look to the lives of those you respect and the decisions that they’ve made. Were they oriented towards growth or security. And usually, you can see pretty clearly when you look in the life of someone else, if you can ask this person, right, if they’re living, you have a relationship with them, you can ask them about a big decision they made where they had to tolerate risk in order to move forward. And what do you learn from that? So right, if you’re a budding entrepreneur, you’re really scared, you have a great idea, but you’re very scared, talk to another entrepreneur, learn lessons from them. When it comes to others, of course, respect their risk tolerance. We’ve already talked about that. So today, I’ve talked about balancing those needs for security and for growth, and I provided three solutions. With lots of lots of meat in each of them. The first solution is to understand what’s motivating you. So identifying your feelings and beliefs that drive your decisions. The second solution is to assess your vulnerability and protective factors. This is really important because it gives you insight, so that you can make a good decision for yourself because you’re taking everything into consideration. And then the third solution is to push your risk tolerance in healthy ways, while respecting the risk tolerance of others. We want to be on the path of growth. So there you go. I hope that that’s helpful for you. I hope that this series has been helpful for you and you can head over to my website to see the show notes with links to not only this episode, but the others I will include the part one and part two and also the book transcend by Scott Barry Kaufman, where he talks a lot about self actualization and the 13 factors of well being so you can find all of that at www.drmelissasmith.com/129-balancingrisk. So one more time that’swww.drmelissasmith.com/129-balancingrisk , I would love to connect with you on social media. I’m on Instagram @dr.melissasmith I always share a lot more content relative to the podcast there so you can find some good resources there. And I’d love to hear from you. How are you? How are you dancing with fear? How are you tolerating risk in the in the service of growth. So I’m Dr. Melissa Smith. Remember love and work, work and love. That’s all there is. Until next time, take good care.
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