This question is interesting in many ways. I was at a technology conference a few weeks ago, and the head of technology at Procter & Gamble mentioned that she poses this question to her innovation team to help them reach their potential. Let’s face it, we are all risk averse on some level every day; otherwise, we’d all be taking savings, running to Vegas, and putting it all on one spin of the wheel.
There is a lot that can come out of asking this simple question, both on the business and the personal sides of life. For this post, I’ll focus on the business aspect.
First, asking yourself this question can help you understand what your full list of priorities is if you remove the element of risk. That may not seem particularly helpful. But if you look closely at those priorities, you can determine which ones have a lower risk/reward quotient. Among those, you can determine which ones you can do the most quickly with the least amount of energy. Then, you can just do them. Certainly there are some items on your list that might represent huge wins if you executed them flawlessly. But, as I mentioned above, we all have some degree of risk aversion.
As with most things in life, tasks that seem scary are often much less scary after you do them. And life is too short to go through it being afraid. So, go ahead, ask yourself, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”