Richard Branson: get out of your comfort zone

Richard Branson: get out of your comfort zone
By Jack Preston



When was the last time you took a risky business decision? According to Richard Branson too many of us are playing it safe when it comes to work, with entrepreneurs wary of stepping out of their comfort zone.

It's easy to get stuck in a routine, especially at work (more so if you've been doing the same job for a while), and taking on a new challenge is a great way of getting out of that rut. At Virgin, I use two techniques to free our team from the same old routine: breaking records and making bets. Taking chances is a great way to test myself and our group, and also to push boundaries while having fun together, writes the Virgin Founder in his entrepreneur.com blog.

Given the current financial climate many organisations have understandably reigned in their desire to take risks. While the laissez faire attitude to taking chances with other peoples money adopted by many in the banking sector may have tainted the idea of risky business decisions, Branson still believes there can be great benefits to more calculated risks.

One of the great benefits of taking on challenges in your working life is that you and your team learn to confront risk together and also to lose sometimes, because when you make a good wager, the odds are not going to be in your favour. The calculated risks you and your team take should be strategic judgments, not just blind gambles: Protect the downside by figuring out the odds of success, working out what the worst possible consequences would be, then deciding whether to accept, explains Branson.

You need to hone these skills, because you and your team are going to face adversity at some point. No matter what industry you work in, the nature of business is change, and so while you can prepare for every possibility, some new, unexpected circumstance is likely to thwart you. The only thing that's meaningful about such setbacks is whether you bounce back. In 1998, Steve Fossett, Per Lindstrand and I had to abandon our attempt to fly around the world nonstop in a balloon. Rather than feeling sorry for ourselves, we at Virgin continued working on some of the problems we had encountered through our other businesses.

When was the last time you left your comfort zone, either in your personal or working life? Let us know below

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