Playing Safe Can Actually Hurt You: 5 Ways To Take Risks That Will Pay Off

Millennials may be the most risk averse generation to date, and that isn’t necessarily a good thing.

According to a recent study, 34% of millennials describe their risk tolerance as “conservative” or “somewhat conservative.”

But can we blame them? They’re the first generation in modern history that isn’t wealthier than their parents. They’re chained to tens of thousands in student debt, they’re reluctant to spend what they have, and they struggle to make a living doing what they enjoy.

While playing it safe may seem like the best thing to do, it may actually be hindering millennials from getting ahead. After all, risk-taking is an essential part of building a business, progressing in a career, and making a mark on the world.

32-year-old Alexi Panos has a solution to combat risk aversion, and to start, it’s absolutely free: invest in yourself. Panos is a leader in the personal development industry, author of the book 50 Ways to Yay, and star of a successful YouTube channel.

I caught up with Panos about how empowering yourself can help you take game-changing risks on the latest episode of Unconventional Life, “The Shortcut To Awaken You To Greatness w/ Millennial Thought Leader Alexi Panos.”

Panos’ journey to self-empowerment began at the age of 15 when signed a recording contract that enabled her to tour the world. She traveled to Europe, Asia, Africa, and throughout the United States, quickly gaining fame and recognition.

Soon, she was scouted by a modeling agency and was invited to be the host of major TV networks and web platforms, including HGTV, MTV, AOL, E News, and the History Channel.

Although she was ascending the summit of material success, she says she wasn’t happy. “Is [material success] what we really want?” she says, “Or is that just a symptom of feeling empty? I think we have to chase that — like we have to almost go after that and get a slice of it to recognize that we don’t want it.”

Upon this realization, Panos decided to take a big risk: uproot her life and make a major life change. She moved to LA and spent all of her savings on a podcast geared to help people to “awaken, revive, and transform” their lives.

Though she wasn’t making money for over a year, she says the personal rewards were worth it. She was inspiring others to empower themselves, pursue what they really wanted, and take risks that paid off.

“It’s not about me anymore, it’s the message and I’m willing to put me on the line for that message to be a ripple effect,” Panos says.

Now, Panos has attained financial freedom and abundance doing fulfilling work she loves. Below, she shares 5 ways to begin taking risks so you can step into the next level of impact and live according to your higher desires.

1. Stop trying to be a people pleaser. The desire to be liked by everyone can have you playing a small game trying to avoid stepping on toes. Accept that your message is inevitably going to offend people, and that’s actually a good sign. All of the world’s greatest leaders were considered radical in their time, yet they remedied injustices and are still remembered today.

2. Be willing to rock the boat. If you really want to shake up the status quo, you have to be willing to rock the boat. That might mean boldly sharing your voice or unfiltering your message. Panos says, “If we’re not willing to rock the boat we’re not really doing anything that great or anything that different, so do we wanna just blend in and do what everyone else is doing so that we stay safe?

3. Get vulnerable and share your story. Opening up about your personal experience can seem terrifying and intimidating. However, it tends to be what people resonate most with and are inspired by. The more transparent and honest you are, the more impactful you will be. “When I share that I’m human and that I mess up all the time, but I learn through that mess up, people love that,” Panos shares.

4. Shatter what you think is possible. Don’t let society’s notion of what’s possible limit you. For decades, it was believed that breaking a four-minute mile was impossible — until Roger Bannister broke the record and set a new standard for racing. Whatever it is you think you can’t do is only a mental construct that can be uncreated. Approach your limits with the mindset that you can transcend them, and you will.

5. Say yes to your intuition. The best guide for discerning when to take risks is our own inner voice. Check in with yourself and ask if you feel fully satisfied where you are or if something greater is calling to you. You may feel fear around making the decision to take a risk, but remember that on the other side of fear lies something spectacular. Panos says, “I just had this unwavering trust that it was gonna work out and I had no idea how it was gonna evolve, but I just knew I had to keep saying yes.”

This article was originally published on Forbes

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