Risky is Better

“I’d rather feel uncomfortable pushing for better than feel uncomfortable settling for less” - Simon Sinek

Playing safe always feels like the best option.
It’s comfortable, familiar and easy.
Research shows, however, that in most cases taking action, even the wrong action, returns more than doing nothing.

Of course doing nothing, playing it safe, feels better in the short term, but it’s a dangerous long term strategy. Make no mistake, doing nothing is also as much a decision as doing something.

Architectural practice is inherently conservative. Most architects are still practicing the way they always have. Herein lies danger. The industry is changing. Technology is slowly, surely changing the way things are done. Technology is fragmenting the industry. When work starts slowing, what will you do?

Consider projecting your practice five and ten years ahead. Do you want to be doing the same thing you are now? If you don’t try anything different, chances are you may not go anywhere and may even go backwards.

If you’re not taking time to reflect critically on what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, it’s probable that you don’t know what you’re doing.

Get critical. What might need to change?

Humans instinctively over estimate the size of the risks while underestimating their ability to manage them. Consequently we base our decisions on our fear of what we don’t want rather than committing to what we do want.

Get uncomfortable, it’s time to face that fear.

Successful people are not necessarily those that are more skilled, capable or knowledgeable than those that fall short of the same success. It’s also likely that they have just as much fear. The successful don’t overcome their fear, but they do learn to dance with it. Despite their fear, they choose to run to the bang. They don’t play safe avoiding the fear, the discomfort.

It’s time to get out of your comfort zone. Do something that may feel risky.

It’s time to challenge your assumptions and to question everything about your practice.

Be critical.

What’s not working?

What are you ignoring because it’s too scary, too hard to face?

What can you change? What can you make better? Does it feel risky or scary? If that’s a yes, then start there. You’ve found what you need to change. You need to start and you need to dance with the fear.

If dancing with the fear feels like too big a leap without a safety net, consider a pre-mortem. What is the worst that can happen when you take this “risk”? Write down everything you can think of. Then write next to each a plan addressing and correcting these outcomes. It’s likely when you do this exercise, you’ll see that the potential failures are not as scary as you first imagined. You’ll also have a plan of action, if you need it.

Start now.

What risks aren’t you taking?


Image by Dominika Roseclay on Pexels [cropped]

Hi! I’m Michael

I’m an architect and coach. I help architects rethink their practice and support them as they uncover better ways to work. I’ve worked in architecture for over 25 years, and I ran my own practice for 14 years. I understand architectural practice from the inside out. Fun Fact: my NSW architect’s registration is #10 007 and I have a license to skill.

I believe improving practice takes asking hard questions and deep listening.

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