Fortune favors the bold, but boldness is sometimes difficult to come by—especially when decisions about your career and about your life are involved. Risks are bold, but risks are also daunting. Often, the fear is what holds us back, but it is important keep in mind the benefits and successes that can be acquired from taking calculated risks.

What are we so afraid of? What holds us back from achieving our full potential? Author of Brave, Margie Warrell, cites several reasons why we let our aversion to risks get the best of us and how we misjudge the nature of risks.

1.     We exaggerate the negative consequences. When we are presented with an adverse situation, we naturally react to mitigate it. However, when we picture a risk, we don’t take into account our abilities to conduct damage control. Instead, we often come up with the worst-case scenario, exaggerating how negatively our plans could turn out.

2.     We also underestimate our abilities to manage the consequences. In addition to exaggerating the intensity of negative consequences, we also indulge in self-doubt. We do not give ourselves enough credit when it comes to cleaning up a potentially messy situation. Managing partner of Ernst & Young, Lynn Kraus, shared at a leadership conference that before accepting a senior leadership role, she declined the offer several times—each time attributing her reluctance to doubt that she could successfully fill the position. Luckily, she overlooked her doubts and seized the opportunity.

3.     We overestimate the probability that something will go wrong. Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, wrote that in assessing risks, we weigh the potential losses heavier than the potential gains—we focus on what we might sacrifice more than on how we could benefit. But in reality, the odds of something failing are often not as high as we think and instead, that the chances of it working out are far higher.

4.     We talk ourselves into complacency and deny the cost of stagnancy. Instead of taking a leap, we tell ourselves that “it’s not that bad”. We conjure up excuses as to why sticking with the status quo is the best course to take.

Being aware of these tendencies will allow us to acknowledge them when they come into play. Understanding these defense mechanisms will push us to look past them and to forge on to achieve our goals. However, it would be unwise to blindly jump in and take any risk that comes our way. Instead, we must carefully analyze and take calculated risks. Here’s how:

1.     Follow your intuition. Although pragmatism should be one of the biggest deciding factors, it’s important that we follow our hearts as well. Our inner voices may know things that reason may not.

2.     Stop overthinking. Yes, it is important to do your research and homework, but over-studying does exist. And at some point, you will need to put down the paper and pencil and take action.

3.     Leave your comfort zone. Sometimes the best opportunities lie just outside our comfort zone, but we will never find them if we don’t take a chance and be a little uncomfortable. Muster the courage to reach outside yourself and do something new.

4.     Don’t wait. We often try to shy away from risks by telling ourselves that “it’s not the right time”. But truthfully, there will never really be a “perfect” time. So stop stalling, because the perfect time is now.

5.     The biggest risk may be not to risk at all. Take initiative and don’t wait until an opportunity floats on by. There are few opportunities that will serendipitously fall into your lap, so go make your own!

6.     Face your fears. We all inevitably feel fear when taking risks. But channel that fear and use it as fuel when you work toward your successes.

One of the most relevant risks most often taken by people comes in the form of career decisions. Whether prompted by financial reasons or by the desire to follow a passion, many people are leaving their old industries behind in search of new ones. But not only is taking the risk to switch careers a challenging step, but finding the career to switch into is also another step.

As a result of the recent recession, real estate has once again become a booming industry, with realtors all across the country reaping rewards. As the housing market recovers, the average American income has been rising. Consequently, real-estate agents are now enjoying rising sales and prices that boost the average realtor’s commission. Though Commandment #4 dictates that the “perfect time” does not actually exist, this opportunity within the real estate sector sure comes close to it.

And although #4 suggests to not overthink your choices, it is important that you are well-educated and understand the full extent of what you are getting yourself into. No matter what kind of risk you are taking, it would be unwise to ever go in blind and without any concrete information. An important prerequisite to taking risks is to learn about the risk you are taking.

So, if you find yourself drawn towards the real estate industry, it is imperative that you become knowledgeable about the industry—and the staff at The College of Real Estate will ensure that you are. Dedicated to training and producing successful licensed real estate practitioners, CORE will empower you with the necessary education to confidently traverse the real estate world. Through a multitude of coaching sessions with highly qualified individuals, you will graduate with not only a Real Estate Salesperson License, but also a newfound confidence to conquer the industry.