I don't consider myself to be much of a risk-taker. In fact, I'm typically pretty content to stick within the confines of my comfort zone.

However, I recognize that refusing to stray from the safe and predictable is a surefire way to limit my own growth. As the old saying goes, "With great risk, comes great reward."

Even though being brave isn't necessarily second nature to me, I've channeled some effort and energy into finding ways to inspire myself to take more chances.

I know I can't be paddling this risk-averse boat alone. So, I'm sharing four strategies that have helped me gather my courage and be a little more adventurous. Give them a try, and prepare to jump.

1. Consider Worst-Case Scenarios

There's one big reason I tend to repeatedly shy away from risk: I fear the outcome. What if I fail? What if it all goes horribly wrong?

Unfortunately, our brains have the ability to play some nasty tricks on us -- they convince us that the worst-case scenario is absolutely life-altering. We tell ourselves that the downfall related to that risk would be so insurmountable, we'd never manage to recover.

However, if you would actually take just one moment to press pause and consider the real worst-case scenario, I'm willing to bet you'd end up finding a great source of comfort.

Sure, you might have to endure a little bit of embarrassment or a bruised ego. But, most of the time, the worst-case scenario isn't really all that bad. In fact, you typically don't end up any worse off than you were before.

2. Depend on Your Network

Here's another thing that your brutal inner critic manages to accomplish time and time again: Completely destroying your self confidence.

In those moments when you feel utterly defeated and like you don't have the inner wherewithal to take on a new challenge, it's important that you lean on your network of supporters.

Why? It's simple: They can help to boost your confidence back up again in those times when you're being unnecessarily hard on yourself -- and ultimately talking yourself out of taking chances.

So, don't hesitate to rely on your connections when you're in need of a little ego boost. They're sure to come through for you and give you the confidence you need to grab life by the horns.

3. Reframe Failure

None of us want to fail, but that certainly doesn't mean it's is completely unavoidable. We all experience those roadblocks and bumps in the road from time to time -- it's a natural part of life.

Too many of us have this deeply ingrained fear of failure, as if that one slip-up will send us spiraling downward, unable to ever bounce back. However, if you're focused on encouraging yourself to take more risks, you need to change the way you look at failure altogether.

Rather than viewing it as this life-changing, catastrophic event, switch your perspective and choose to look at it as a learning experience.

No, maybe things didn't pan out exactly the way you had hoped. But you still walked away with some valuable lessons under your belt -- and that alone makes the entire process worth it.

By shifting the way you perceive failure, facing it will be much less scary. Not being paralyzed with fear every time you imagine not succeeding? That's sure to inspire you to take a few more risks.

4. Lean Into the Fear

Why do people hand over their hard-earned cash in order to stroll through a haunted house or take in the latest horror movie? Well, there's a big part of fear that's positively terrifying -- but, there's also this large part of it that's incredibly thrilling.

That's right, scary can be simultaneously exciting. That anxious, butterflies-in-your-stomach sort of feeling is the indicator that there's something great on the line. Remember that cliché "great risk, great reward" line used above?

So, go ahead and lean into the fear that goes hand-in-hand with taking risks. It might be scary, but it's also exhilarating -- and that's the part worth focusing on.

I'll never consider myself a natural-born risk taker, and you might not either. However, there are a few strategies you can put into play to give yourself a nudge into being a little braver. Give these a try, and prepare for results.

Published on: Aug 25, 2016