Potential Risks

image looking over cliff

We were on our way back from a 40-mile bike ride when we heard people talking up ahead on the trail. As I peered off into the distance, I saw 5 people sitting in the grass, their bikes strewn about at the top of the hill. They had just accomplished a ride up the fairly steep elevation. It obviously had taken a lot of energy for the crew, since they had decided to take some time out to catch their breath. From our vantage point, we couldn’t see anything but the 5 people and the top of the hill.


My husband yelled to me, “I wonder if there’s anyone else coming up the hill?” I didn’t say anything, and then I heard him yell to the group and ask if there were anymore still making their way up the hill. They replied with a no and began to get back on their bikes.


As we rode down the hill, I thought about what had just transpired. It would have never occurred to me to think about whether there was anyone else coming up the hill. It just wouldn’t have been of concern to me. Nor would I have even followed my thought up with a question directed at the crew. It just wasn’t important.


However, this was very important to him. I assume he was thinking about sharing the trail as he flies down the hill, going 30 miles an hour. I also assume that he was being cautious and safe.


The whole potential danger would have never crossed my mind. I just assumed that no matter what was coming at me as I flew down the hill, I could control my bike and maneuver around the obstacle safely.


If we’re riding and we get off course, I don’t think it’s a big deal. Eventually, we will figure out where we are and find our way back to our path. It always works out. In fact, sometimes the alternative journey that we end up taking when we’ve lost our way turns out far better than our original planned itinerary.


Our perspectives in life can be explained in the experience that I just shared with you. He is always looking ahead, gauging the dangers and obstacles in his way and looking for the best, safest path to get to his end goal. In contrast, I’m just riding toward my goals in life, assuming that when something happens, I will have confidence to deal with it in the best possible way. If I get off course and lose my way, I trust that eventually, I will figure it out. I’m always certain that it will work out just fine.


I’m not saying that one way of thinking in your personal and professional life is far better than another. What I am saying is that it’s good to think about WHERE you fall on this continuum. There are a lot of uncertainties and disappointments as you make your way down the mountain of life— eventually you will hit a huge pothole and it will get you off track.



This will occur no matter how diligent you are at assessing potential risks. Eventually, something will happen.



Having a combination of the two approaches to life is really your best bet. Be as proactive as you can, assess the possible dangers and risks, but beyond that, try to just live life and chase your goals.


And make sure you have the skills of RESILIENCE to weather the storm.





I had a great conversation with a woman the other day. She worked in a male-dominated field and had encountered numerous hardships and obstacles on her way to success. Her professional AND personal life was filled with experiences that might have detoured many others from a path to the top. However, she was able to somehow navigate her life and despite the odds, find happiness and success.  How is that possible?


It’s a little thing called resilience.  Some women have it and some women don’t.  Resilience is the ability to turn disruptive changes and obstacles into opportunities for growth. It’s the ability to deal with change in your life, be flexible and spring back better than ever. Let’s get something clear up front: being resilient doesn’t mean that you don’t feel pain, grief, or sadness when bad things happen. It just means that you confront your feelings, weather the storm and find your way to the other side.


Research has shown that some individuals are genetically predisposed to be optimistic and see the positive side of life.  They’re just naturally born with a temperament that enables them to approach their days with a sunny disposition. Research also has revealed that many others receive these desired skills from a combination of environmental factors, including parental interaction. By struggling with obstacles at a young age, they learn to independently handle pressures and stresses in an effective manner.


Women that have resilience take responsibility for their actions in life. When things go wrong, they are inquisitive and try to understand and make sense of the situation. They have strong problem-solving skills and can calmly review the options and find a rational solution.  They believe that they have control of their universe. In other words, they make things happen— things don’t happen to them.


When I was growing up, I was lucky enough to have a mom that encouraged me to be a problem-solver. She led me to believe that every problem had a solution and guided me through the problem-solving process. She prodded me to confront issues directly and get outside support if needed. All of this led me to believe that I had the confidence to call the shots in my life and I could make things happen.


That doesn’t mean that I wasn’t sad with the usual disappointments in my life.  I remember a number of times that I felt anxious and stressed over various jobs, family struggles and friendship break-ups. The difference is that I allowed myself to fully feel, which then led to understanding, and finally making sense and finding meaning in the experience.  I didn’t stay stuck forever; eventually I shrugged it off and moved on.


But what if you didn’t have a positive childhood experience and you’re not genetically predisposed for resilience? Is there a way that you can develop your skills and become strong? The answer is yes. It takes work and commitment but you can take control of your life. It’s a matter of getting more in touch with your emotions and pushing yourself to become comfortable with change.  It involves finding meaning and purpose in the “bad” times in your life and redefining some of your thoughts and beliefs about the world. Yes, it’s possible to learn to soar through your career and personal struggles and come out on the other side better than ever.


It’s just a matter of wanting to make a change.