“Taking a risk on yourself is often the best kind of risk to take.” – Alan Ying & Doug Schneider in “The Risk Paradox”
Starting a business. Going after that promotion. Moving to a new company. Changing careers to a new industry, role or both. There are many different career moves you can make, and they all require the boldness to do something different from the job you already have.
Making a change entails risk that what you attempt to do won’t work out. You may not get what you want. Or you may achieve the goal only to find it’s harder or less satisfying than you expected. You might find yourself worse off than if you hadn’t tried at all (e.g., your new career is less desirable, your business makes less money than your previous salary).
These downsides of risk keep many professionals from making that career move. However, three new books can help reframe your relationship with risk and improve your resilience:
1 – The Risk Paradox by Alan Ying & Doug Schneider
Ying and Schneider posit that “taking a risk is the least risky thing that you can do to live a fulfilling life” and therein lies the risk paradox. “Taking risks, even conventionally inadvisable risks, is necessary to fulfill our potential.” The idea that one can avoid risks is a fallacy. “Believing you can avoid risk by staying in your current situation because it will not change. Everything changes.”
For The Risk Paradox, Ying and Schneider interviewed 100 people who took unconventional risks. Their participant set was split evenly between men and women. Most were in their forties, fifties or sixties, but seven were in their thirties and six where 70 and older. The diversity of subjects and of stories (some were career-related, some were life-related like relocating or responding to a health crisis) is helpful to find something relatable to almost any situation.
Ying and Schneider also summarize lessons from the risk-takers that can provide a roadmap for upcoming decisions. As a longtime Forbes contributor who routinely features books (e.g., for holiday gift-giving), I get lots of books to review. The Risk Paradox is one of my favorites in recent memory for its inspiring stories, coupled with smart, actionable advice. Three key takeaways, directly quoted from the book:
· Taking risks, even when you don’t get the results you want, has a way of leading to more choices and opportunities. But when you don’t take risks at all, you often end up living out someone else’s story – or a life dictated by circumstance – rather than living your own story. Which is the riskiest thing of all.
· Having a mission seemed to benefit the risk-taker, increasing the probability of success. People on missions tended to view obstacles as interesting rather than insurmountable.
· When you don’t know where to start, start somewhere.
2 – The Great Money Reset by Jill Schlesinger
Once The Risk Paradox convinces you to make that dream career move, you might encounter some tactical financial questions – e.g., how to afford time off to make that career pivot, how to support yourself while you get the new business up and running. Popular finance journalist and former financial advisor, Jil Schlesinger, has come out with a timely book specifically answering the financial questions relating to big career moves.
Schlesinger tackles a wide range of topics from spending less to earning more. Chapters include asking for a raise, tapping your home’s value, optimizing tax-advantaged accounts and pursuing additional education and training. If your next career move is stymied because you are not sure how you can afford it or adjust your lifestyle to your new career, then The Great Money Reset probably has a solution for you. Even though the advice is predominately finance-focused, Schlesinger includes complementary communication, relationship and other life coaching tips (e.g., managing intrusive relatives).
“…a Great Money Reset isn’t fundamentally about money. It’s about rethinking our lives. Money is just the vehicle.” – Jill Schlesinger in “The Great Money Reset”
3 – Breath For The Soul by Dr. Jan Patterson and Phyllis Clark Nichols
Sometimes money isn’t the sticking point, but it’s a generalized feeling of stress or anxiety. Maybe your transition is due to job loss, and you’re grieving. Breath For The Soul is not a career book, but it is a wellness book for stress, anxiety, depression and grief (feelings that do arise from career issues).
The book covers each of these four topics with recommendations in four categories — breathing, eating, moving and spiritual care. The book provides worksheets at the end, where you can design your own self-care plan. It even includes recipe suggestions (I was particularly excited at the inclusion of the Filipino chicken soup dish, tinola!). The structure of focusing on breathing, eating, moving and spirit is a nice complement to Schlesinger’s very practical, tactical money book.
“Sometimes our best work is being still, focusing on priorities, getting in touch with what is causing ur stress, and just relaxing….” – Dr. Jan Patterson and Phyllis Clark Nichols in “Breath For The Soul”