Calculated Risk

A recent book on my reading list is 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin. (BTW, if you are not using the digital library offered by your local library, you are missing out. Delivered straight to your digital reading device, the convenience is hard to beat as well as the price. Free.) 

You have to love a book title that tells you exactly what you will get. And then I like the subtle motivation found in the title as well. “Am I mentally strong? Why of course I am! Well then, I don’t want to do any of these things do I? What are they?”

Today we consider Morin’s sixth chapter. Mentally strong people don’t fear taking calculated risks.

A calculated risk is a good description for a capital campaign. Could things go wrong? Yes. Will there be hard work and will resources be stretched? Absolutely. And in the case of churches, will some member complain about how “all you ever do is talk about money down there.” Of course they will. (I still remember the church member who called the office to find out if I was still preaching on giving. When informed that I was, she opted out of attending services.)

Campaigns are not only hard work. They are risky endeavors. Don’t let anybody convince you otherwise.

And it is more than okay to not take a risk. Often this is the most prudent course of action. The admonition to doctors to “do no harm” is wisdom proven over the years. As the great philosopher Kenny Rogers once said, “You got to know when to hold them, know to fold them. Know when to walk away, know when to run.”

Sometimes the wise thing is to walk away.

But it is at this point that we can make a mistake. We consider the risk, but then walk way because we are afraid. We don’t want to be second guessed. We don’t want to fail.

In our efforts to play it safe we don’t consider the risk of inaction.

Take churches for example—institutions that are conservative by nature. New programs are shot down because, well they just are. No one stops to ask what will happen if we keep doing what we are doing.

We just took a calculated risk where I go to church. We agonized over it for months. I was afraid it would fail. But ultimately we took the risk because we were more afraid of where we were headed, or at least where we thought we were headed. We looked at the danger of inaction and pulled the trigger.

“A ship in a harbor is safe, but that is not where ships belong.”

Where are you shrinking back in fear? Is it time for a calculated risk?