Just what is your risk muscle? It’s your comfort with taking on tasks that are outside your normal comfort zone. During one our weekly episodes on the Relevant Conversations podcast, the question was asked: Should I take on projects at work that are outside my normal experience?
The answer is YES. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
As you review your current list of projects you should seek to have a combination of challenges:
- Projects that are completely within your wheelhouse and play to your strengths
- Projects that may require a little extra effort and/or collaboration to achieve
- Projects that scare you to death. These are the projects that will help build your risk muscle.
We should all take on tasks that we have no idea how we will accomplish. Why?
- We’re able to learn different skills
- We will connect with those who can help provide the information necessary thereby expanding our network
- We will be recognized for our initiative and bravery
- Once we have successfully completed the project, we can add this new skill to our resume
- We will experience a boost in our self-confidence
If you are interested in being noticed and positioning yourself for additional responsibility, new opportunities and even promotion – learning to flex your risk muscle is a MUST DO.
6 Steps To Learn New Skills For Your Career Development, the very first of which is to look outside your zone:
Developing yourself for a better future would require you to move out of the daily routine box and help yourself find new opportunities. In your organization, figure out the key business areas and network with the people associated. Look at every angle objectively and decide to pick one up and work on the same religiously. Find a way where you can help a business unit achieve its goal faster, cheaper or with greater efficiency.
How to Gain Support from Your Network
This idea leads directly to another question asked on the call: How do I gain my manager’s support to build my risk muscle when it is outside their direct scope but could offer benefit to another department?
One book that I’ve found helpful is called Work With Me by The 8 Blind Spots Between Men and Women in Business.” The book offers suggestions for ways to talk with others in your department, your manager and even those within other parts of the company.
If you’ve identified a problem that perhaps you might offer a solution for that is outside your department, I would suggest contacting the person the problem effects. They may not have realized the problem exists. As long as you aren’t going over your manager’s head – there shouldn’t be an issue with asking to have a cup of coffee or a phone call with someone outside your department. However, you will know the hierarchy of your company best.
Identify the person who would benefit the most from your idea and then suggest a meeting; call or in person, to discuss the problem. Start by asking if they have a plan for resolving the issue. If so, ask if there is a way you can be of assistance. If they haven’t, offer your ideas for a solution.
If being involved in the project is beyond your current scope, talk to your manager about the ability to participate in this new project. Taking the initiative to resolve an issue within the company positions you as a go-getter – someone with initiative and drive and a desire to help the company be successful even if that means taking on additional work.
Back to You
Flexing and strengthening your risk muscle takes time, effort, purpose and courage. Let’s face it; it is easier to keep your head down, do you work, collect your paycheck and go home. But if you want more out of your career, at some point you are going to have to get comfortable with your risk muscle.
I invite you to join us on Monday’s for 30 minutes where like-minded professional women gather online or over the phone to ask questions about business and how they can be most successful.
- Flex Your Risk Muscle When Setting Career Goals
- Be Scared and Go for It!
- Why Some Women Advance While Others Stay Put
- Tips for Successful Networking
JJ DiGeronimo — the president of Tech Savvy Women — is a speaker, author, and thought leader for women in tech and girls and STEM. Through her work, JJ empowers professional women and consults with senior executives on strategies to retain and attract women in technology to increase thought and leadership diversity within organizations.
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