Is it worth the risk? How taking calculated risks helps you grow

A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to take my nephew on a ski trip. He’s 17 and the farthest west he’s been is Dallas. I wanted to show him big mountains and the vastness of the west.

He’s not super outdoorsy, and let’s face it, not many 17-year-olds want to be without wifi for very long. So I knew he wouldn’t be too interested in a backpacking trip. But I need to take him on an adventure trip for sure. Skiing is the perfect answer. However, those who know me, know I love to travel super cheap. And skiing isn’t cheap.

So I began researching and coming up with a budget. I asked several family members and friends to join us in the hopes of renting a condo to bring down the lodging costs. I have been skiing once before. And on that trip, we got a Black Friday deal where our lodging and lift tickets, two big-ticket items, were half the cost.

So in my research and budget figuring, I found a condo that sleeps eight for a very, very good deal. I knew I needed to jump on it. But I still had some questions: like, what if the eight people I had asked to come with me weren’t committed. And what if I end up renting a place for eight people and only my nephew and I go?

As I researched, I messaged a person who owns another condo at the resort where we are planning to go. His condo is nice and roomy and would accommodate a big crowd, but not available for booking that far in advance. I felt a little silly asking about a week that was one year away, but he was extremely nice and helpful.

He told me I was wise in looking that far out. And because I contacted him, he could let me book for a discounted price, but even his discounted price was way over my budget.

So I made a snap judgment. And I put $600 down on the first eight-person condo that I saw. Will I lose my shirt on it? Maybe, it certainly is a possibility. But the payoff – potentially saving $1,000 – outweighs the risk to me. A friend asked me what we would do if some of the people I had asked to go back out, therefore making the lodging cost higher. I just kind of shrugged and said that I was hopeful that we would find someone else to go.

As I get older I have found that I am a risk-taker. I believe it’s good to take risks. Whether you win or you lose, you usually gain a different perspective.

However, I usually look at risk optimistically. If I’m planning a backpacking or camping trip and there is a chance of rain in the forecast, I believe it will move out. But if the forecast calls for sunny skies, I don’t believe it will change at all. See, optimism.

I honestly believe if I hadn’t taken a risk and purchased a week-long stay in a Colorado condo, our ski trip would not happen. And if I had waited, I would not have been able to afford to take my nephew skiing next year.

Last summer I went on a hike with my friend Lagena. We had packed sandwiches for our lunch. However, we ended up eating lunch late, and it was closing in on evening. Lagena asked me if I had put mayo on my sandwich. I answered “yes.” And she replied with, “Is it still good?”

“Eh, I’m a risk-taker,” I told her. And guess who ended up with a stomachache…Lagena. (Sorry Lou 😉 )

As my friend Crystal and I were climbing a mountain in the panhandle of Texas, the wind was so strong it was almost blowing us off the mountain. Crystal had a bit of a panic attack, and we talked about turning around. But I thought it was fun. The wind was so strong, it almost blew my phone out of my gripping hand while I was trying to take a picture.

Once we made it off the mountain and back into the valley where it sheltered us, I was proud of what I had accomplished. I now know I can successfully hike in 50 mile-per-hour winds. However, my lips were chapped for weeks. But every time I licked my dry, cracked lips, it reminded me of what I had done.

When you take risks, you show yourself what you are capable of. Taking risks allows you to learn more about yourself. It also allows you to have more faith in God.

I am not talking about unnecessary risks. When you put yourself in blatant danger, you generally put others in danger as well. You can also hurt loved ones if something bad were to happen to you.

Calculated risks don’t sound as cool but can help you grow without a certain danger. A calculated risk is putting $600 down on a condo in Colorado one year in advance in hopes of saving $1,000. A calculated risk is eating mayo that’s been sitting out for eight hours because you know you have an iron stomach. And a calculated risk is climbing a mountain in 50 mile-per-hour winds but really knowing you are strong enough to handle it.

I believe by taking calculated risks, you’re really doing something to prove to yourself what you already knew you could do. But it’s nice to have the proof.

5 thoughts on “Is it worth the risk? How taking calculated risks helps you grow”

  1. Mara,

    I’m not a risk taker BUT in the last few years (since a divorce and selling my home) I’ve been forced to take more calculated risks. And you’re right, I’ve gotten to know myself better and have more faith in God. I never thought of it that way.

    Now, with every calculated risk I take, I feel I can do it again or go just a little further. It’s a great feeling!

    ~Allison

  2. I’m good with everything but the mayo thing. I would of ditched the side of bread with the mayo and folded the bread over without mayo. But, I’m a mustard person anyway. lol

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