Do You Advance Toward Risk or Avoid Them?

Let’s look at your typical patterns of behaviors to get an indication of where your default switch is set on the continuum of advancing toward or avoiding risks. Take the following quiz to find out.

1. You are asked to serve as head of a project team at work. Although you’re familiar with the subject area, this is a more visible leadership role than you’ve had in the past. You:
a. Beg off, citing your busy work schedule
b. Panic and quickly find a behind-the-scenes mentor to coach you
c. Step into the role with pride, confident you’ll find any help you need along the way

2. You’re attracted to someone you see at your local coffee shop. You:
a. Start a conversation, hoping it will lead somewhere
b. Ask the person to join you over coffee
c. Hope the person will approach you

3. You’re twenty pounds overweight and fear that you might be turning into a couch/computer potato. You’re finally ready to start that fitness plan you’ve been thinking about for ages. You:
a. Go take a nap and hope the urge passes
b. Take a brisk walk around the block to get your body moving
c. Enlist your family in a fitness and nutrition program

4. Your finances are a mess. Even though you’re making decent money, you’re late paying your bills, you haven’t bothered looking into retirement funds and your credit rating is not what it should be. You:
a. Ask your CPA uncle for some basic financial advice
b. Hire a financial planner or business manager to help you clean up your financial act
c. Decide to look into it after the next tax season

5. After twenty years of doing the same kind of work at three different companies, you’re longing for a new career. You:
a. Start thinking about going back to school
b. Tell your boss you’d like to take on some new challenges
c. Make a mental list of all the great things about your job

6. Even though you love your spouse, you have to admit that your sex life has gotten pretty dull. You know you need to shake things up, but you don’t know how your partner will perceive your newfound friskiness. You:
a. Purchase some lingerie (for yourself or your spouse – or hey, shake it up and buy lingerie for both of you!) and spring the surprise one night
b. Know your spouse will freak, so you keep your thoughts to yourself
c. Tell your spouse you’ve had it with your lousy sex life and he/she better figure out to how jazz it up

7. You’ve had a serious argument with a family member that you fear could become a lifetime rift. You and everyone you’ve obsessively told the story to over the past year agree that it’s the other person’s fault. You:
a. Decide you’ll break the silence when hell freezes over
b. Ask a sibling to broker a family meeting
c. Swallow your pride and make a conciliatory phone call

8. You’ve just gotten your youngest daughter off to college and are beginning to enjoy your empty nest when your 28 year-old son returns home after losing his job. From the looks of his luggage (and dirty laundry), it appears that he may be planning to stay forever. You:
a. Lay down the house rules, including how long the welcome mat will be out
b. Let your spouse deal with it
c. Welcome him with open arms, after all, he is your son

9. Since childhood you’ve harbored a dream about your adventure of a lifetime – making a movie, writing a book, moving to a foreign country, or sailing around the world. Even though you know it sounds crazy to most people, to you it sounds like heaven. You:
a. Confide in the one person who’s sure to bring you back to your senses
b. Jump in and give it a shot
c. Talk to anyone you can find who’s had a similar adventure

10. You’ve wanted to have Lasik surgery to improve your vision for years, but ever since your general practitioner said he wouldn’t give it to his cat, you’ve been scared off. Finally, you decide to:
a. Do some serious medical research and come to your own conclusion
b. Make peace with wearing glasses and contact lenses
c. Quit listening to other people’s opinions and schedule the surgery

11. You’ve been with your significant other for more than two years. You’re ready to discuss marriage, but afraid if you bring it up, you might jeopardize the relationship. So you:
a. Complain to everyone who will listen about your non-committal partner
b. Break off the relationship because it’s not going anywhere
c. Summon up the courage for a frank conversation

12. You’re an engineer and eager to attend a conference for restaurateurs, your dream career. You’re nervous about being a “fish out of water,” as possibly the only person at the conference not a chef or restaurant owner. You:
a. Pass on the conference, you’re just going to feel like an idiot if you go
b. Go for it, deciding to make the experience a bold adventure
c. Determine that you’ll go to the conference but not speak to anyone if you don’t have to

Here’s how you score your Avoid & Advance Assessment. Add up the scores for your responses as indicated below and see where you fit in the following categories.

1) A. is 2 points; B. is 6 points; C. is 10 points
2) A. is 6 points; B. is 10 points; C. is 2 points
3) A. is 2 points; B. is 6 points; C. is 10 points
4) A. is 6 points; B. is 10 points; C. is 2 points
5) A. is 6 points; B. is 10 points; C. is 2 points
6) A. is 10 points; B. is 6 points; C. is 2 points
7) A. is 2 points; B. is 6 points; C. is 10 points
8) A. is 10 points; B. is 6 points; C. is 2 points
9) A. is 2 points; B. is 10 points; C. is 6 points
10) A. is 10 points; B. is 2 points; C is 6 points
11) A. is 6 points; B. is 2 points; C is 10 points
12) A. is 2 points; B. is 10 points; C is 6 points

24-58 RISKOPHOBE – If you fall into this category, you are a die-hard Riskophobe and you’re going to need some soul-searching and an action plan to get you past your sticking points. You’re prone to take the easy way out, backing off when things start getting tough. But if you ever want to move toward a bigger vision of what is possible, you’ve got to break your risk-avoidance pattern before it becomes your lifelong modus operandi.

59-86 CAUTIOUSLY COURAGEOUS – While you may not always feel confident, you usually don’t let it stop you. Risk-averse by nature, you’re well aware that if you want to accomplish big dreams you’ve got to take bold action. More like the steady tortoise than the sprinting hare, you will get exactly where you want to go, albeit more slowly than some, if you continue to stay the course.

87-120 ADVENTUROUS ADVANCER – Just like everyone else, you experience fear and doubt, but you barely give it a passing glance as you zoom around life’s game board toward Go. You know the risks and you understand the potential pitfalls of acting on a bold vision, but you’ve made the conscious decision to create a rich and purposeful life. Bravo! Now go share your zest for adventure with others – the world is waiting for more people like you.

Author's Bio: 

An entertainment industry veteran, Libby Gill spent fifteen years heading public relations and corporate communications at Universal Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Turner Broadcasting. She was also the branding brain behind the launch of the Dr. Phil Show.

Libby is now an internationally respected executive coach, speaker and bestselling author. She has shared her success strategies on the Today Show, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, CNN, NPR, Oprah & Friends Radio Network, Fox News, CBS Early Show, and in Time Magazine, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, O Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Self and many more.